As soon as I got the lathe home I wrote down the model number and serial number. On Monday I called Delta gave them the numbers, and they told me they would send what information they had on this lathe. I also asked when it was built and I was told 1944, making the lathe two years older than I am. A few days later I received a copy of a 5 page manual and a parts breakdown.
I completely disassembled the lathe and began cleaning it up and removing the rust from the machined surfaces. I thought the wooden stand was a home-built unit until I noticed the Delta name tags on the two front legs.
To make a long story a little shorter, I completely disassembled and rebuilt the lathe. I de-rusted all machined surfaces, then masked them and the identification tags. I then removed as much surface rust as possible and applied Rustoleum Rust Converter to all unmasked surfaces. I then primed and painted everything that needed painting. I then reassembled the lathe. I replaced the bearings, setting the preload by feel.
I replaced the motor, an old Challenge 1725 rpm, 1/4 hp unit sold by Sears, with a Dayton 1725 rpm 1/2 hp TEFC motor that I picked up at another garage sale for $20. The original switch was a standard household light switch mounted between two small blocks of wood under the top of the bench. I replaced this with a new switch mounted in a metal outlet box. I added a modified switch guard that was designed to make it hard to turn a switch on or off. My modified version makes it nearly impossible to accidently turn the switch on, but very easy to turn it off.
The lathe came with two face plates but no spur drive, so I added one. I also replaced the original dead center with a live center.
I also disassembed and cleaned the countershaft assembly. There is some wear on the shaft and bushings, so someday I may rebuild this unit as well. The shaft is a standard 18" x 3/4" unit that can be purchased for about $20. I will need to find press-fit 15/16" OD x 3/4" ID bronze bushings (and a suitable reamer), however.
So far, my $20 lathe has cost approximately the following:
Lathe $20 bearings 26 paint, rust converter, etc. 20 used motor (in new condition) 20 one new belt 7 4-position pulley (sheath) for motor 13 new 15', 14 guage power cord 8 switch, box, cover and guard 5 misc. hardware 5 live center 15 4-spur drive center 20 ---- Total $159
There is a certain sense of satisfaction in having taken a piece of machinery that was likely destined for the scrap heap and returning it to nearly-new condition. In the process of rebuilding this unit I have learned how every part functions and have thus gained a level of knowledge I would not have with a new machine. I also have an excellent lathe at a very reasonable price.
I have posted a couple of pictures on alt.binaries.pictures.furniture.