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Seneca Falls Star Treadle Lathe

The Star was a popular metal lathe at the turn of the last century. The last patent date cast on the bed is 1896. Many Star lathes have 1903 and later patent dates, and most are belt driven models. All were solid, heavy duty lathes for their size. The all metal pedal mechanism is of equally heavy duty construction. The pedals work alternately, turning a heavy 25" flywheel with three stepped pulley. The bed is 48" long, providing 24" between centers and 10" turning diameter. The compound rest, uncommon on treadle lathes, has 3 3/8" travel, sufficient for turning most tapers. Even more unusual for a treadle lathe is the power crossfeed. The one piece slotted leadscrew serves for both threading and power feed. However, the change gear brackets and the internal tumbler gears and lever are not present. Thus, the leadscrew cannot be used for threading or power feed. The carriage works fine manually. A user made gear train to replace these parts is included, but doesn't allow reversing the lead screw. I didn't think much of it and didn't test it. The ideal way to restore lead screw function would be to find a belt driven 10" Star for parts. These are rather plentiful and valued at a fraction of the treadle version. (I'm looking for one this winter!)

The spindle threads are 1 1/8", 12 tpi. A universal 4 jaw chuck is included. A slide button on the back of the chuck locks the scroll for use as a concentric chuck or for independent movement of the 4 jaws. Two 60 degree centers are included for metal turning. Also, for wood turning, a 4 blade spur drive and a ball bearing cup center are included. The cup center has worn bearings, but still works ok. For wood turning, I remove the carriage and lead screw. This takes less than 3 minutes and prevents wood shavings from entering the oily carriage mechanism and lead screw threads. The user made wood turning tool rest has a flat steel base that doesn't waste turning diameter, as would a typical cast iron base.

The brass threading chart is marked "Seneca Falls Mfg Co., Seneca Falls, NY". A brass seller's plate reads "The Garvin Machine Co., NY & Phila". In addition to their own line of quality machine tools, Garvin apparently sold Seneca Falls lathes.

full view of bed

the compound rest


the carriage

crank arm

alternating pedal mechanism

headstock with home made change gear train.

the 4 jaw universal chuck

the 4 jaw universal chuck - rear view showing slide button

the chuck mounted on the spindle

spur drive

cup center in tailstock

set up for wood turning

wood turning tool rest parts

patent dates on the bed

Price: sold Buyer must arrange transportation
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Contact: Richard Van Vleck - Email:

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