comments on Clausing 5914 vs 5903 (related to $2500 question)

Hi gang,

I again want to thank all that provided feedback re: $2500 question over last few days. I am looking at 2 Clausings at basically same price (tooling about the same, one has 34 5c collets and the other a 4 Jaw, both have collet closers). This is the issue.

The 5914 has a 36" c.c which I prefer, a bit more tooling, but, I can't see the machine in person. He states that the machine has "New Cross Slide Screw & Nut, Variable Speed Block Rebuilt & New Pulley Bushings" and that his man with 50+ years of experience works on them and gives them a thumbs up prior to sale

I might be able to get the guy to lower price to cover shipping, not sure, but, he states it is in fantastic shape. His track record looks great (feedback is 100% and has sold Harding, etc... lathes to others with feedback = very honest, etc...)

The 5903 is 30 miles from me, looks to be in great shape, 3 jaw, 34 5c collets with closer, same basic tooling, shows no wear on bed at all, only 24" c.c (only issue with me).

So, what I am looking for are any "under the surface" known differences between them that I should be made aware of? There is not a lot of data out there, but, there does seem to be more tooling and user input from the 5914 crowd.

Any thoughts or pointers would be well appreciated. Also, it might just be that I am insane to thing 2500 is ok to pay and I should sit back and wait for a better deal....

thanks again for this and past input all.


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Are both collet closers lever style? You'll find that to be very nice for working with bar stock with repetitive production.

As for the 34 5C collets -- that is a nice starting point, but do you know how worn they may be? You may want to plan on replacing the most frequently used sizes with new ones, if the accuracy is of great significance.

That sounds nice to me.

What is the spindle nose on these machines? Are either equipped with a threaded spindle nose, or are both L-00? If both are L-00, then that is not a deciding point.

My only knowledge of the 5900 series is from the postings of others, and from the headstock which my 5418 wound up with.

Interesting that the "18" of my 5418 is 24" center distance, and your 5903 choice has the same center distance.

I can't say don't worry about the center distance, because I have had to work around the limitations of that distance, and to avoid a project which I otherwise would have done because of the limits of the center distance. But for most rifle barrel work, I think that you can handle things with part of the barrel swallowed by the spindle. (I just couldn't do that with some 4" OD aluminum pipe being used to make circular waveguide antennas for wireless ethernet ("wi-fi"). :-)

Well ... I don't know enough about the 5900 series to be sure, but these seem to both be nice machines, and the eBay one appears to be from a good vendor. I know nothing about either vendor, nor even which auction number this is.

I do know that I am quite glad to have gotten my 5418 (12x24") for $1700+ a few years back, and think of all the things which I could not have done without it.

Good Luck, DoN.

Reply to
DoN. Nichols

CAMCOMPCO wrote: snip

A lot of machinery pricing has to do with where you are located. I looked at a Clausing 5900 series lathe at a dealer in Tucson, AZ about a year ago. I am not sure which model, but it didn't have the usual continuous speed control. It had at least a spraycan overhaul (maybe more) and a 3 jaw chuck. He wanted $2800 for it. I thought he was nuts. After looking around for six months and watching similar machines bring more, I am thinking he was not nuts. Good machinery is expensive here in AZ. $2500 for a 5914 in good shape seems like a decent deal. You might check to confirm that you can live with the speed control on the 5903 you looked at. From net traffic, the speed control is a weak part on these machines anyway.


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Is it this one:

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If so, it seems at least a little encouuraging that the seller knew to rebuild the puuley (assuming that's what he meant). It looks to have been repainted to me, which can be a good or bad thing. Good if the seller just does that as a matter of course when re-conditioning a tool to sell; bad if their only intent is to make it look better than it is. It looks like it has most of the basic tooling you would need to get started. There's no clutch kick out but that's only around $100 from Clausing if you think you need it, less if you wait for one on Ebay. The 5C closer is manual and you might prefer a lever-type. There are no closeup pics of the ways or leadscrew. I'd ask for those if you can't inspect in person - leadscrew pics right below the HS and about a foot toward the TS end might give you some idea on screw wear.

This one has a 3-phase motor, which some knowledgeable folks think will give a better finish. I used a VFD (around $225) to power mine and have been very happy with teh performance. Didn't want to mess with building a rotary phase converter, but others like those.

Shipping could be a killer, though - have you had an estimate on that yet?

You might try emailing some recent buyers from the seller and see what they have to say about their transactions with him. They can sometimes be a lot more honest in private email than in feedback and they will now have had more time to evaluate the items bought.

For DoN. - I'm pretty sure that all of the 5900-series lathes had L-00 spindles. At least, that's what a 1960's catalog indicates.

Reply to
Mike Henry

Tough call. Very tough call. Personally I would discount the value of the collets. Import collets are cheap and a new import collet is much better than a worn out USA collet. Many times you will get a 4 jaw with a machine that has hardly been used. A good 4 jaw chuck for a machine this size is worth a couple hundred.

This could mean the machine was well used too... However I found it necessary to replace the jachshaft bearings in my prestine condition rockwell becasue the grease had dried out and the bearing were noisy. I also have a very nice rockwell vertical mill that had the nuts replaced and is very tight now.

I have bought machines sight unseen and I have been very happy with them. BUT I knew the seller (Dick Trimstra) well and was a repeat customer. Even before I bought the first machine, I knew and talked to others that could provide feedback.

There is a lot of value in being able to look at the machine so that you really know what you are getting. I have bought stuff off ebay that was suppose to be "new" but could have been cleaned up and sold as new too.

I have a short bed (25 inch I think) rockwell 11 inch. The 36 would have been nice, but I really don't need it and I think the extra weight would have made moving it into my basement much more difficult.

Like I said, this one is a very tough call. Any way you can go look at the other machine?

Another option. Call Dick Tremistra and tell him what you want. HE is good at finding nice machines and he even delivers within reason. phone number. 313-366-1060 Dave is his partner. Dick is the MAN! Dick is in Detroit. Last I heard, he had some nice rockwell 14 inch machines for about 2k.


Reply to
Chuck Sherwood

Yep Mike, that was/is the one. Has I-00 spindles. In discussions with the gentleman now..

I took Chucks advise and called Dick and Dave, talked to Dave for a good 15 min, seem to be a real good guy...recommendations from others makes me feel more comfortable.

Guess, I should almost sit back and collect my thoughts here. I get caught up in the "I don't want to miss this deal" mentality and I think in reality, deals are like trains...wait around long enough and another will come coming days I will continue to research the lathe choice issue. One nice thing is I have met new fellow metal-folk and you all seem like good guys...again, thanks for the input to me and other readers.



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Good simile. Just stay close to the tracks, though :)

Similarly, I recall someone discussing ebay. "Ebay is like a big river. Sooner or later, anything you can imagine will float by. If you miss it, there will be another."

Reply to
Rex B

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