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Boxford Lathe Dismantling

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steve white 506/08/2020 11:45:54
3 forum posts
3 photos

Hi All,

I'm new here and looking for a little advice.

I have found a Boxford Lathe and going up to view/buy on Saturday and I am thinking about the logistics of transporting the lathe.

My questions:

Is it straight forward and how can you remove the lathe from the base

Does anyone have any advice on transporting a lathe like this.

I have a trailer I am taking up with me that can take the weight and size, but it is about 2 foot off the ground to get it on.

Any help would be really appreciated.



Niels Abildgaard06/08/2020 13:23:54
323 forum posts
120 photos


If it is an underdrive model ,then do not buy or bring 2 or three big gorillas and lay complete lathe on back.

A normal drive model can be disassembled singlehanded in less than half an hour.

A photo will give much better relevant advice.

Edited By Niels Abildgaard on 06/08/2020 13:24:45

Speedy Builder506/08/2020 13:31:04
2077 forum posts
145 photos

If you are talking about a Boxford Model A,B,or C or AUD BUD etc, undo the wiring from the base to the motor if the motor is above the cabinet and the switches are in the cabinet. Check for other wires that may have to be undone (Lathe lights, Interlock switches if it was a "Schools Lathe" Again if the motor is in the cabinet, you will have to remove the drive belt between the counter shaft and lathe spindle. Remove the counter shaft or if time is pressing, cut the belt and replace with a linked belt later.

If you have the quick change gearbox, you can remove the gearbox, saddle and lead screw in one assembly. 3 screws on the gearbox, 2 more from the lead screw bracket RHS. Remove the restraining plate underneath the saddle at the rear of the saddle (2 hex head cap screws), slacken the saddle clamp just above the lead screw half nut handle. Slide the whole lot off (Gearbox, lead screw, saddle) - filthy job but reduces weight by 10Kg ?? If you decide to remove saddle , then gearbox/leadscrew, make sure you don't loose the flat key between lead screw and feed scroll gear tucked up inside the saddle.

Remove the tailstock, gear cover on LHS to reduce weight. Undo the 4 bolts, cabinet to lathe bed. One strong boy or two of you for H&S remove the lathe from the cabinet - probably 35Kg ?? DO NOT remove the headstock from the bed. Accuracy of alignment Headstock to bed is best left alone.

I moved my Boxford (still on its cabinet) onto a trailer, off again, up a step, onto rollers, through the house to the attached workshop (whilst the wife was out) on scaffold pipe rollers. Then again from Peterborough to France, including an Economy mill on the same 500kg trailer.

Have a good look around where you are buying from for any useful bits - even if odd ends of bar etc. Make sure you get both inside and outside jaws for chucks. If self centring chuck doesn't have both inside and outside, its value goes from £90 to £30 in my books. It is near impossible to buy replacement jaws cheaper than a brand new chuck. Change gears - even if you have a quick change box, you need some spare gears to change between metric / imperial - you can pick them up through ebay etc for reasonable price. Lathe tools, centres drill chucks - keep your eyes open.

Check what voltage etc single phase, 3 phase VMC etc etc.

I wouldn't change my Boxford - hope Saturday works out well for you.

Clive Brown 106/08/2020 13:46:31
481 forum posts
18 photos

2 reasonably fit persons can lift a bench model. My wife has helped me by taking the "light" end. Ditto an underdrive model once it's separated from the stand. That's not too difficult. It will then go in a typical hatchback probably best with the back seats down

I doubt if 2 people could lift an underdrive stand into your trailer even minus lathe. The 2 ft. lift combined with the awkward shape will make life difficult unless you can perhaps arrange lifting poles or a ramp

steve white 506/08/2020 14:54:09
3 forum posts
3 photos


Here is the picture of the lathe, I think its a BUD but I am not 100% sure

Grindstone Cowboy06/08/2020 15:17:21
325 forum posts
27 photos

What may be handy to know about - and someone had to point them out to me - are the two pairs of holes at each end of the cabinet through which you can pass some stout metal bars or pipe for lifting. You can just see the front ones in your picture, more or less directly below the lathe feet and virtually up against the underside of the cabinet top. Then if you have a hoist or some sort of lifting gear it becomes a doddle.

If you do decide to remove the headstock (and I was advised this was OK, and would not destroy the alignment) then you'll need to shorten a spanner to get at the bolt at the chuck end - it's a fiddly job as you only get about 10 or so degrees of turn before having to flip the spanner over.

Two of us got the cabinet (minus motor) into the back of a Landrover, similarly two of us could lift the lathe in after it. When I came to get the lathe back onto the cabinet, I only had my wife to assist, so removed the headstock to make it manageable.

Hope this helps.


Craig Brown 206/08/2020 15:24:46
26 forum posts
8 photos

As mentioned above the whole lot can be lifted as one with an engine hoist or similar using the lifting holes in the cabinet. When I collected mine I didn't have a hoist so seperated the lathe from the cabinet (you have to disconnect some limit switches, uncouple the linked drive belt and undo the bolts) then 2 of us lifted the lathe into my van and slid the cabinet up some ramps and into the back

Hope that helps

steve white 506/08/2020 15:32:50
3 forum posts
3 photos

Thanks for all the info. This is a really good forum. I think I will look to hire an engine hoist for the day as I am not too confident in disassembling so would like to avoid if possible. But it is good to know how to do it if I can't get it out as a one piece.

Does anyone recognise the specific model of Boxford?

Is it a BUD mk I or II?

Kind Regards,


Grindstone Cowboy06/08/2020 15:47:54
325 forum posts
27 photos is your friend for identifying. But it looks like a Mk 2, maybe 3 - it's not a Mk 1

not done it yet06/08/2020 15:59:48
4872 forum posts
18 photos

I have doubts that the average engine hoist is going to lift the whole caboodle high enough to load it on your trailer. Lifting from below the centre of mass can be tricky!

For heavy objects, I generally used an inclined plane to load/unload if lifting equipment was not available. Usually had the use of a winch but have heaved them up with ratchet straps on occasions.

Raglan lathes (175-185kg) without a stand have often been shifted single handed in a small hatchback (Pogo 205 or Citroen Saxo). Motor, carriage, tailstock, gear cover and chuck removal makes life so much easier.🙂

Good luck - a good choice of lathe - if not worn out.

SillyOldDuffer06/08/2020 16:00:45
6181 forum posts
1345 photos

Further to Speedy's advice, during any dismantling of hardware or wiring take lots of photographs. Dozens of 'em from several angles - they're free, and may save mucho bother later! Not unusual to see questions like: I disconnected umpteen wires. Anyone know how to put them back? And 'does anyone know where this part came from?'

As a breed lathes are top-heavy and unstable when lifted, they like to roll backwards. Also awkward to lift because most of the weight is at the headstock end. Have a plan, put one person in charge, and don't drop it. Make sure no-one is ever underneath. If it does go, make sure no-one tries to catch it - run away.

When lifting make sure the lathe is balanced and that ropes & slings don't crush anything important as they take the weight. The balance point will probably be just under the chuck. Never lift it by the chuck or headstock.

Dunno know how heavy the Boxford is, but my slightly larger Chinese toy is much easier to move with an Engine Crane. The Boxford doesn't look like a monster, but it is heavy by ordinary domestic standards. Getting off the stand and on to the trailer & vice versa may be the worst bit. (Cranes can be hired, but I bought one because kit needs to be moved occasionally. I've never regretted the purchase! )

Equipment: have a think. Spanners (imperial AF), general toolkit with full screwdriver set, torch, mirror, steel toe-caps, work gloves, tarp in case it rains, boxes or bags for loose bits, strong ropes or slings (new 1000kg rated), rollers (bits of steel pipe) if you don't have a crane, lengths of 2x4, cold beer etc.

Terrain makes a big difference. Easy to move a lathe straight through a garage door and onto a trailer parked on a concrete drive. Much more difficult to get one out of a tight space, across soft rough muddy ground and up a flight of stairs!. But amazing things are done with a few strong blokes, ropes, rollers and bits of wood. Be easier the second time, which will be when you get it home!

Allow plenty of time; in my workshop it would take longer to make a decluttered flight-path than to move the machine. And then to put all the rubbish back...


Martin Cargill06/08/2020 16:24:20
140 forum posts

I lifted one recently using an 2T engine hoist in the 500 kg position (to give it more lift). It lifted high enough to get the lathe onto the bed of my trailer that is 24" high. The lifting straps did have to be very short to help it achieve the lift height required.


Bazyle06/08/2020 17:26:41
5391 forum posts
206 photos

Boxfords are only about 400lb. The bed has a gap between the shears so you can put a strap through that below the chuck, round a bit of 2x4 and back up to a hook where the chuck was before you took it off, Then put a rope through the spidle to pull the strap close in to stop it sliding down the bed. Then put a rachet strap from the hook to the tailstock end to pull up that end. Make sure the taistock is firmly locked. wind the saddle along to balance the load.
If the trailer is wide enough I'd lay it on its back as not many trailers have decent tie downs to hold it vertical. If you do have it vertical i suggest some 2x4 to make lots of side brace triangles. Dont strap it to a pallet - they flex like crazy under this sort of load.

Grindstone Cowboy06/08/2020 17:48:44
325 forum posts
27 photos

Or you could hire a professional - I've seen good things said about Landylift, but not sure if they are currently working or if it would be economically feasible for you.


Dave Halford06/08/2020 19:30:36
869 forum posts
8 photos
Posted by steve white 5 on 06/08/2020 15:32:50:

Thanks for all the info. This is a really good forum. I think I will look to hire an engine hoist for the day as I am not too confident in disassembling so would like to avoid if possible. But it is good to know how to do it if I can't get it out as a one piece.

Does anyone recognise the specific model of Boxford?

Is it a BUD mk I or II?

Kind Regards,


Better make sure it's a folding hoist sometimes they aren't.

Oldiron06/08/2020 20:16:04
481 forum posts
22 photos

I put mine on a trailer with a standard 1 ton engine hoist that the seller had. Tied it down to the trailer standing up with 2 lorry ratchet straps over the cabinet. When I got it home 2 of us slid it down the trailer ramp quite easily.



Edited By Oldiron on 06/08/2020 20:18:27

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