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South Bend Lathes 8-inch & 9-inch Junior
and Model R Lathes

Pre-1920    1920-30     8" & 9"    Light Ten    Heavy 10"    Clones   The Factory   
South Bend Home Page    9-inch "Workshop"    Accessories    Silent Chain Drive
The 9-Inch "Workshop Precision" Lathe is covered in detail HERE   
South Bend G-26-T
8-inch and 9-inch South Bend Junior Photographic Essays

Offered for sale during 1931, 1932 and 1933 only - although it is possible that some unsold stock might have lingered on into 1934--the 8-inch Junior was the baby of the Company's range and developed as an even cheaper alternative to the earlier 9-inch Junior.
Everything was done to produce the lathe as economically as possible whilst also distancing it in desirability from its very much more expensive brothers. Although both the spindle bore (at 3/4") and collet capacity  were the same as the 9" version, the spindle ran in the cast-iron of the headstock, the nose was reduced in size from 1
1/2" to 13/8" and given a 10 rather than an 8 t.p.i thread. The headstock spindle was fitted with a reducing sleeve to step down the No. 3 Morse taper hole to a No. 2 and tailstock centre changed from the  usual No. 2 to a rather miserable and limiting No. 1. The spindle drive pulleys were reduced in diameter (limiting the amount of power that could be transmitted) and the compound slide assembly more lightly constructed with a smaller capacity toolpost.
Although Junior models made until 1931 had the beautiful but time-consuming-to-apply (and hence expensive) black "Japanning" finish, this option was henceforth dropped and the lathes finished in ordinary oil-resistant paint of a dark grey slightly tinted with blue. The lathe was listed with various between-centres capacities, from as little as 6
1/2" to 301/2" (South Bend's method was to quote bed lengths, in this case 48, 42, 36, 30 and 24 inches) together with a wide variety of stands and countershaft-drive systems. The latter, also available for the 9-inch Junior, included simple wall and ceiling mounted 3-speed units, neat bolt-on overhead assemblies and a number of under-drive systems built into solidly-constructed stands. A built-on overhead drive was also offered, though, being very expensive, few can have been sold. The same assembly was also offered for the 1934 20-Series 9-inch Toolmakers lathe - yet, oddly was never listed for the much more popular 9-inch Workshop - and was dropped altogether at the end of 1934.
One option exclusive to the 8-inch (and only offered in the dedicated advertising sheets) was to have a single, plain slide instead of the compound unit - and if this was chosen then, in 1932, the cheapest 8" lathe could be whittled down to just $98, and the cheapest 9" $160 - a considerable saving in a time of economic depression and widespread unemployment.
It is almost certain that the 8-inch "Junior" was the first  South Bend lathe to use a remarkably effective system of economical manufacture where the headstock spindle was hardened and subjected to a "super-finishing" technique that allowed it to run directly in the cast iron of the headstock.  Given just a modicum of lubrication this arrangement (also used on many of the later and even more popular 9-inch Workshop models) appear to give the bearings an almost unlimited life. The author has stripped down lathes where years of neglect and abuse had reduced the bed and slideways to scrap, but he has yet to find one where the spindle and bearings were worn to anything like the same extent. Interestingly, not all models were so equipped - for examples of the 8-inch lathe have been found with "babbit" (white-metal ) bearings and in some years the 9-inch Junior was offered in a basic 6-speed form with an unhardened spindle and a top speed of around 630 rpm (the hardened-spindle version had 12 speeds reaching as high as 1250 rpm). Headstocks with bronze bushes have also been found, - though the latter have only been discovered when lathes have been stripped down and were never mentioned in contemporary catalogs.
Other cost-cutting features on some versions of this model were the use of two rather than three V-ways on the bed (a design not returned to until, it is believed, the 1980s when South Bend produced a high-end toolroom lathe with electronic variable-speed drive) and very basic engineering of the cross and top-slide screw mounts together with a simple top-slide feed-screw nut. In place of the usual neat South Bend screw-in bushings, the cross-feed and top-slide screws were made to run directly in the material of the saddle and top-slide castings (just like a 1910 model) with the screws secured by a pinned sleeve on the inside of each casting. Being particularly difficult to put together - the pinned sleeve had to be secured in place on assembly - this design was only used on the 1931 model with the normal screw-in bushing making a return during the following two years of production. One feature from this lathe was, however, retained, and used  on all versions of the 9-inch Workshop: the top-slide nut. This was as simple and inexpensive a design as possible, a length of 5/8" round 3/4" long bronze bar held in a cross-drilled hole secured in the bottom casting with a set screw.  The arrangement gave the assembler the chance to raise or lower the nut as needed for alignment - and thus made assembly and fitting of the two castings so much easier.
8-inch and 9-inch South Bend Junior Photographic Essays..

The first small South Bend lathe entered the catalogues in the early 1920s as the 9" Junior New Model (above). This was, in effect, a 10" lathe with reduced centre height and had almost nothing in common with the much more famous and popular 9" model introduced in 1934 and called by South Bend the "Workshop" model (illustrated below). Whilst parts from the original 10" lathe (the screwcutting gearbox and power-feed apron for example) can, with a little fiddling, be made to fit the Junior models, bits from the later 9" "Workshop" lathes cannot be used. As an example of the design changes between the two an examination of the tumble-reverse mechanism would show that the 9" Junior, like its larger cousins, featured a spring-loaded, solid-bronze lever and brass-covered handle with positive indent location - while the later 9" lathe had a much simpler plain, cast lever, clamped in place with a bolt. Even though it was an inexpensive model the 9" Junior followed South Bend's original practice of using phosphor-bronze bushes, lined bored, lapped and adjustable for wear.

8" Junior New Model South Bend 1932 model (above) This was the baby of the range and only offered for sale during 1931, 1932 and 1933 - although it is possible that some unsold stock might have lingered on into 1934. 

South Bend "Model 5" - the first 9-inch lathe to carry the "Workshop" label was introduced during late 1933 or very early 1934 and was radically different to Junior Model illustrated at the top of the page. The bed, being some 50% narrower, was entirely different as were all the main castings and accessories - the two lathes may have looked similar but were, in reality, separate models with nothing in common. A separate section is devoted to the 9-inch Workshop lathe and its development during the 1930s.

9" South Bend Bench Model 15 "Workshop" 1935. This next development of the type, with many of the initial inadequacies addressed, now took on the look of what, for many, remains the definitive small South Bend lathe. 

1937 South Bend 9" Model R
The introduction of the 9" "Workshop" did not mean the demise of the original, heavier 9" lathe which continued in production for some time as the Model R. This was also the basis for the later 10" lathe, which looked identical but, judging by the numbers still in use, must have been much more popular - one significant improvement being the increase in spindle bore from 3/4" to a much more useful (and remarkable for so compact a machine) 1
3/8 ".
A simplified version of the R was also listed as the "Junior" model. This was mechanically identical but lacked the option of either a screwcutting gearbox or power sliding and surfacing. All Model R lathes were available for either bench or stand mounting.
A version of the early 9-inch, and possibly the Model R, was sold in Great Britain as the "UNITOL". These had all South Bend identification marks removed, even to chiselling off any letters cast into the bed.

Typical South Bend countershaft assembly. The electric-motor shaft carried a V pulley with the V belt driving a large-diameter, narrow, flat pulley. This rather unusual arrangement (of a V belt on a flat pulley)  worked very well even if, to modern eyes at least, it appears illogical. The final drive to the headstock was either by a 3-step flat belt or, less commonly, a V-belt. The countershaft was arranged to hinge about its base and an over-centre tensioning device was fitted - the long slotted adjuster for which can be seen above the motor between the upper and lower belt run.

E-Mail   Tony@lathes.co.uk 
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South Bend 8" & 9" Junior Models
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The South Bend 9-Inch Workshop "Precision" Lathe is covered in detail HERE