South Bend 9A lathe - value?

I know, the answer is "it depends on condition, tooling, location
[Albuquerque], etc.", but that notwithstanding, what's a reasonable
price range for a South Bend 9A "with quick change tool post and
tooling, 110V", assuming it's in decent condition? This one is being
offered for $1000, but I haven't had a chance to look at it yet.
What can I look for to determine if it's in decent condition,
considering that the extent of my knowledge of lathes is barely
adequate to say, "Yep, that looks like a lathe"? Are there any
deal-breakers to be wary of, or any components or features that would
be considered must-haves for general home-shop usage?
Also available locally is a "Smithy combo machine (lathe), lots of
tooling, 3 chucks, ex. cond, $1000 OBO." Would this be a worthwhile
machine to consider, or would I be better off with the South Bend for
the same price, considering that I have only vague notions of how I'll
be using whichever machine I acquire?
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Let's call base price for a model A $800, with 3-jaw, 4-jaw chucks, lantern toolpost and basic tailstock chuck for tooling.
First thing is the bed length. There are a lot of SBs out there with real short beds, and if you can't put a workpiece 12" or longer between centers the lathe's value drops a lot. I think the standard SB9 you can put about a 24" workpiece between centers. For beds shorter than that, subtract $200-400, for beds longer (they come able to hold a 36" piece) add $200.
Look at the gearing, all of it. Any broken teeth, subtract $150.
For a quickchange toolpost with 4 or more holders, add $200.
For steady, follow rests add $200.
For lathe centers, lathe dogs & dog driver plate add $150.
For milling attachment add $100.
For big faceplate add $50.
For 3C collet setup with 10+ collets, closer, nosepiece add $200.
If the machine's missing the original SB wrenches subtract $50.
If the machine is missing the threading dial subtract $50.
Turn the machine on. Is the leadscrew turning? If not, ask the seller to engage it. With the leadscrew turning, are the gears solidly quiet? If not, look at the gears behind the headstock very closely with a strong light and a lens. Look at the teeth for pitting and cracking. Worn teeth: subtract $100.
Crank the cross-slide all the way across and back. Is it looser in the middle? In the loosest spot, test the backlash on the crank. Detectable wear (looseness somewhere not elsewhere or backlash exceeding .020") subtract $100.
Look at the ways everywhere. Any nicks? dents? gouges? ridges? subtract $200
General cosmetic condition assumed average. Truly above average add $200. Ghetto wreck from hell, subtract $200.
If it comes with a toolbox full of micrometers, calipers, parallels, clamps and other machinist tools, add $200 (or more)
That'll get you started. My numbers are only approximate, any of them can (and likely will be) debated or argued, perhaps strenuously. I have owned two South Bend 9" lathes and bought and sold a whole bunch of SB tooling. Check ebay for current pricing.
Reply to
Grant Erwin
I bought a SB 9 long bed in decent condition with motor, QC gearbox, 2 chucks in running condition on a home brew bench for $200. Sold it for $600
Reply to
daniel peterman
Location, location, location!
A decent Model A in my area starts around $2k CDN if you can find one. SB's sell at a premium, due to name recognition. I've seen them advertised in the $3k plus range, and there was a 12" Atlas in the trader rag listed at $3500 recently.
$1500 for a bare lathe, no tooling, no bench, and not in particularly good condition, as a starting point around here, generally no deductions, just additions.
$1000 with tooling and a bench would be a no questions asked, pay the man kind of deal, in general. I'm in Northeast Alberta, and was in Edmonton for a few years.
Can you tell that the demand is rather larger than the supply, around here? :-)
All that said, I hooked a friend of mine up with a Hercus (Australian built, licenced copy of a SB9) at an auction sale a while back. Very well tooled, dirty but not badly worn, on a wood bench, for just over $900 IIRC. I think that the lack of recognition made a huge difference in the turnout at that sale.
A few years earlier, I sold a half stripped SB9, no gearbox, gear quadrant, tailstock, or leadscrew, for $400, and had lots of interested guys calling, well past the time it was sold.
I would take a worn SB over a new smithy. If I were looking at both of them and the tooling with the smithy justified the cosst I would perhaps buy both, cull out tooling that I wanted, then resell the smithy.
Some guys live where there are lots of good pickings. If I was living in those areas, I'd need a much bigger shop!
If at all possible, try to hook up with someone that has a bit of experience to take with you. Negotiations go smoother with cash, to, sometimes.
Cheers Trevor Jones
Reply to
Trevor Jones
Thanks Grant. I will definitely hang on to your guidelines for the next time a lathe shows up around here. This one unfortunately went quickly, as in before I even had a chance to look at it. But apparently the guy who was selling it refurbishes and retools machinery for a living (or maybe for a sideline). He said he would have two SB10's ready to go in a couple of weeks. Not sure if I need that much lathe...
Reply to
An SB "light" 10 makes a pretty nice-sized bench lathe. Far different from a heavy 10 in terms of weight and "presence"
Reply to
Rex B
While the guideline is , well, a guidline, the lathe was sold while you were still hemming and hawing about it. That says to me it was underpriced in the market you are in.
Bert. Think about it. None of us hobby guys NEED a lathe. If I were in your shoes, I'd be chatting up the guy that may have these SB10's available, and maybe start talking price and tooling with him. They (if they are not 10k models) can take a 5C collet through the spindle, a big plus for doing small stuff, as well as accurate repeatable runs of parts. This is good stuff. If they are the 10K models, they are essentially the same as the 9" machine, but will be far newer, also good!
Cheers Trevor Jones
Reply to
Trevor Jones
Bert, as you look, be sure to also consider a Logan. They are equivalent in many ways to SB, but they have a couple of advantages:
1 - Ball or roller bearing headstock vs babbitt 2 - V-belts rather than flat belts on all but the oldest ones. 3 - Generally lower price because they don't have the same name recognition. 4 - Great support from Scott Logan, grandson of the original manufacturer.
I have a 9x17 Logan that was my first lathe, acquired about 10 years ago. I've since bought a bigger lathe, and it gets the tough jobs, but the Logan's a keeper.
Reply to
Rex B
When I bought mine, I showed up with the advertised Cdn$800 in my pocket. The two guys ahead of me had to make a phone call, so while the were doing that, I took a quick look and ripped the ass out of my pants getting my wallet out to give the seller his asking price plus the $25 he proposed for delivery across town. Still no regrets after ~23 years. Gerry :-)} London, Canada
Reply to
Gerald Miller
According to Bert :
[ ... ]
Whatever size lathe you get, you *will* need to handle something larger from time to time.
My 12x24" Clausing is not large enough at times. But for when it is, it is able to take deeper cuts than a smaller machine would be able to do. And -- it has a big enough spindle bore so it will use 5C collets -- cheaper to acquire and a wider range than the smaller collets which fit smaller machines. (I believe that a SB "heavy" 10 would handle the 5C collets, the "light" 10 won't.)
Enjoy, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
Thanks to all for the advice. I guess my next step while waiting for another lathe to show up is to educate myself about the various brands and models. Anyone happen to know of a comprehensive website providing weights / dimensions / capacities / features of various models, especially those available in the used market? I tried googling "lathe comparison", but most of the results seem geared toward mini lathes and/or new lathes and/or woodworking lathes.
Reply to
formatting link
has a PILE of syuff all oriented towards model engineering or home shop sized stuff.
He has much info on American made machines, but is by no means a comprehensive guide. Still one of the best sources of information I know of.
Cheers Trevor Jones
Reply to
Trevor Jones

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