Along with a friend, I purchased last August a battered old 70's-era Craftsman wood lathe, to be a starter lathe to get us going in woodturning. It hadn't been treated kindly over its lifetime and we got it cheap. It took me a while to do anything about it, but within the last couple months I built a bench for it and completely restored the lathe with new ball bearings for the headstock and the motor and a whole lot of other work to clean and refurbish it and paint it up. Because it was going to be just a starter lathe I tried not to spend too much on it, since I wouldn't get back any investment when I later sold it and replaced it with a better one. I claim, not quite truthfully, that I spent more on rattle-cans of paint than anything else.
Here's a link to a short Photobucket slide show: http://bit.ly/1kMypuu