South Bend Lathe

The South Bend lathe is one of the most popular lathes ever made in the US. There are many models ranging from the 9" workshop lathe (which I am working on) to 16" swing lathes, and even larger.

I had always wanted to own a south bend lathe, so when I finally had a shop with enough room for one, I made it my business to get one!

Adding a toggle lever clutch to a South Bend 10L or Heavy Ten

How to replace a star wheel clutch with the loggle lever style.
The document is for Heavy 10" lathes, but it might be a good starting place if you want to do this to a 9" machine or a light 10K.

adapting a tumble reverse from a 10k to a 9" south bend lathe

tumble reverse with pull knob from a 10k adapted to fit a 9" south bend model A lathe

I saw a post on the practical machinist forum (this one) about switching out the 9" style tumble reverse for the more sophisticated version that was used on the 10k and much later 9" machines. Of course that meant I had to do it. After the usual ebay hunt I managed to find a reverse mechanism for less then a million dollars. Apparently I am not the only one who read that post.

Handlever Collet Attachment

Standard 3C (or 6A on 10k) collet draw bar assemblies.

Fitting a taper attachment on a larger south bend lathe

Instructions for fitting a SOUTH BEND TAPER ATTACHMENT.

Intended for lathes larger then the 9" Model A - C.

Got a good apron for the model A southbend lathe

complete apron from a south bend nine inch lathe either model a or model b

The first apron I bought off of ebay was a piece of crap. It was totally worn out, and the selector handle was broken in shipping. After completely cleaning and stripping it down I ended up returning it to the the jackass I bought it from, and getting my money back.

Another one showed up soon enough, and this time I asked some important questions and landed a good deal.

So... back to the stripping tank!


Many practical attachments and accessories designed especially for South Bend
machine tools are shown in this catalog. Most of them may be ordered, either
with the machine or later. You will save time and expense by selecting a wide
range of appropriate equipment for the most efficient lathe operation.
When ordering attachments, chucks, or tools for South Bend Lathes, always
state the swig of the lathe and also give the serial number of the lathe which
is stamped on top of the lathe bed at the tailstock end between the front V-way

Nine inch South Bend Lathe backgear

backgear, eccentric, and headstock for southbend nine inch lathe

I realized at some point that once things were apart even photos would not necessarily be enough. I really like this way of working, I lay out the parts as I remove them and make notes as to how they go together. Then I shoot  a picture of the whole thing for future reference.

Here is the back gear and eccentric showing how it attaches to the headstock.

backgear and headstock for southbend nine inch lathe

taking apart a south bend 9" lathe

Lots of people buy old lathes and other machine tools and spend too much time fixing them up with no clear idea of what the intend to use them for. Right? Hello, anyone?

Anyway I started breaking the individual components down to clean them, prep them for painting, and to see how they worked. As far as I am concerned there is no better way to learn about a tool then taking it apart and then putting it back together. The putting it back together part in particular.

buying parts for a South Bend Lathe

I started looking for the parts I need to convert the Model C to a Model A. As with most things, there is a lot to learn about buying on ebay. I spent some time watching without bidding, and looking at the prices of completed auctions. Then after I thought I had a handle on what I needed to spend I ran across what looked like a great deal. The seller had an quick change gear box with the keyed leadscrew and associated gearing. The only thing was that it was for a longer bed.