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Tuning Up and Tweaking a 1956 Sheldon EXL-56 Lathe

Sheldon Lathe

Back in 2008, I was in fairly desperate need of a lathe somewhat more capable than the 11" Logan I already had,
and heard through the local grapevine of a Sheldon up for sale. What little the rumor could tell me had two problems;
one, that the info was weeks, if not a couple of months old. At the time, up here, any machine tool in the roughly
home-shop size tended to sell virtually instantly, so I assumed the thing was probably already gone.

And two, the seller was asking a steep-even-for-up-here $3,500.

However, it was the first decent lathe that had come up for sale in quite a while, so I chased it down.
The above photo is how I first saw it. The previous owner had passed away, and the widow was getting
ready to move South. The big benefit, for me anyway, was that it was very well and completely tooled.

3-jaw, 4-jaw, a handwheel collet closer and spindle insert, drill chuck, live and dead centers, a ton of
drill bits, square lathe bits, a set of indexible bits, a Phase II quick-change toolpost and eight or ten
toolblocks, even indicators, bore gauges, centerdrills, boring bars, you name it.

Plus it'd been fitted with a 3HP 3-phase motor and had a good quality ACTech VFD.
On the slightly negative side, it'd originally been a benchtop model, and the previous owner
had fabricated a steel stand with an aluminum drip tray. Then, at some later point, had
unceremonioulsy sawed off the legs and bolted a set of casters on, so he could roll
the machine around in the shop.

All told, I decided it was worth the cost, made payment arrangements, and hauled it home.

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