2685 Cardinal Ridge Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22901, US

(434) 977-6377

Mike's Hobbies and Interests

The Hardinge Lathe Project


Welcome to my webpage

The story begins with relocating this precision lathe from the warehouse to my basement shop...

Finding My Hardinge

I had been dreamed of owing a Hardinge HLV-H lathe for several years.  The price point seemed to be around $8,500 for an older  used one in reasonable condition.  At that price I learned not to expect much tooling to come along. I had established a "Hardinge Fund" where monies from the sale of various tools and machinery in my basement workshop would be directed.  When I had accumulated a reasonably large sum, though short of $8,500, I decided to go searching in earnest.  I resorted to calling large used-machinery dealers in surrounding states.  I would call, explain I was a hobbyist looking for this model Hardinge in good condition and what I had to spend.  Most were courteous, some laughed and some came just short of sending me a dial-tone.  I was reaching a point of discouragement until one day I called and spoke to Dave Hildebrand at Hildebrand Machinery Company,  I found myself talking to someone who listened and wanted to help out.  After explaining in detail what I was looking for, he said he had several and would look over his inventory to see what would best suit my requirements and call me back.  True to his word, he called back with a machine that was JUST what I wanted, was loaded with tooling and that he could price to fit within my budget.  After receiving photos I made arrangements to take a day and drive up to see him and the machine.  The photos below give you a small idea of his warehouse as well as photos of the machine he'd picked for me.  He selected this one because it was a 240 volt machine that was in good condition and loaded with tooling.  Dave Hildebrand is a sincere and honest dealer.  I would recommend him anyone based on my pre and post sale experience with him. 

Hardinge Assessment

After the move and the lathe was safely settled in place, the next step was the...

Hardinge Assessment

Once the lathe was positioned in a suitable area of my basement shop, the next step would entail a detailed physical inspection.  Since the lathe was demonstrated under power at the warehouse, single-phase power input would be via VFD and this task would be one of the final steps.  In the meanwhile, there was scraping, repainting, and other investigative work to be done.  I was anxious to check the headstock run-out after the move.  I purchased a very accurate dial indicator calibrated in 50 millionths (0.000,050") per division.  Practically no movement was perceptible.  I estimated the run-out to be under ten millionths (0.000,010") of an inch.  This was the same reading I estimated at the warehouse with Dave Hildebrand.  Please note: the indicator in the photos is not that very accurate one.

Hardinge Disaster

Grab interest


 Hardinge HLV-H lathes are both top and front heavy.  Loaded with tooling and accessories like this one here, the weight was over 1,900 lbs. My Hardinge  I had it mounted on 4 commercial rollers, one on each corner.  I had carefully moved it almost 20 feet, from one side of my shop to here and, while I was positioning it against the wall (see, it was at an angle), I gave it a little shove and suddenly I felt it falling forwards towards me.  I was at the right front side of the lather, between it and the Bridgeport when I realized one of the rollers had become displaced and it was coming toward me.  I gave it all my strength (to pin it against the wall) but it took only milliseconds to realize this was in vane.  I tried to step backwards as it crashed and bled all over the floor (red stuff is oil, blood) 

Injury was limited to my leg..


 I was semi-pinned against the milling machine and the lathe.  I pulled myself out and immediately snapped this photo of the bruise sustained to my left leg.  It quickly began to swell profusely due to a sub-muscular hematoma.  There were additional scrapes and bruises on my stomach and buttocks but I counted myself blessed when I realized what could have happened!  Note the oil spillage on  my shoe. 

 Letting it just lay there..

I cleaned up the oil mess and gathered up what scattered tools and collets I could reach and let it just lay there for several weeks while I thought about what to do.  The feeling of remorse was awful.  I had spent hours rebuilding and repainting this machine and now look at it!

Good friends are God's blessing


 I sent an email to many friends explaining what happened and how frustrated I was.  A few weeks later a great friend, Bill Eubanks and my neighbor, Richard Rike showed up and "went to work" erecting the machine.  Bill had checked with the Hardinge factory as to the proper strapping position to erect the lathe.  I'm pretty sure they would have preferred that I leave and come back after they were finished because I was such a wreck over it.  They manipulated the lathe around to where they could attach straps and come-alongs. 

 The lathe gets uprighted..

The work continued for 1 hour and 10 minutes and the lathe was erect and placed where I originally wanted it.  What a miracle!

Assessing the Damages



 The carriage handwheel had been broken into 4 separate pieces.  The compound crank wheel had been 


Carriage Feed Box

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 My Hardinge lathe has been fully restored and is shown on my home page as it is today.  You can make a quick comparison by clicking here 

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