Bargain Reprints of Metal Lathe Classics

I have not yet owned a South Bend lathe; I’ve been an Atlas guy so far. The bible for Atlas guys is the Manual of Lathe Operation and Machinists Tables. It used to be available from the Clausing Corporation for “$3.25 per copy post paid in U.S.A” (1915 prices), but it is now out of print. You can find originals on eBay for around $30. For around the same price you can find eBay vendors who have made photocopies and bound them fairly nicely. There’s a guy who sells PDF files of a scan he has done. There is no free version that I have found on the net. If I ever find a free version, I will put it in my new Resources collection. One day perhaps I will take the time to scan all 251 pages of my own antique copy. Meantime, your options are limited to those mentioned above.

The bible for the South Bend guys has always been How to Run a Lathe, first published (as far as I can tell) around 1914. This is a tremendously valuable resource for anyone starting out in machining, regardless of what brand of equipment she might be using. Even old hands at the trade find things of interest in these pages. And the great news in this instance is that you have available to you both free PDF versions (score!) and a set of very attractive reprint options, both of which sell for under $6:

2013 Reprint of the 1942, 42nd Edition:

Reprint of the 1914, 15th Edition:

With a nicely-bound reprint available for $6, who wants to bother printing the free PDF? I certainly didn’t, which is why I ordered the 42nd edition months ago, and it has become a well-thumbed reference to me. I just now ordered the 15th edition because, looking through some of the sample pages, it appears they changed the content and layout quite a bit over the years, so I’m happy to have both. Heck, one copy can sit out in the shop, and one can sit by the couch. Why not?

Bottom line: Even though I’m an Atlas guy (for now), I’m ecumenical when it comes to the lathe bibles, and the best deal to be found at the moment is for the South Bend version.