View Full Version : Grizzly lathe

04-17-2004, 06:58 PM
I've been searching for a decent lathe recently. Found a few old ones so far but were worn out. They could probably be fixed but would probably cost more than a Grizzly model. I'm looking at a Grizzly G4016 model http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.cfm?itemnumber=G4016.

Anyone have this one or know anything about it? Only criticisms I could find is that they need more frequent adjustments than the SBs and the like.


Richard K
04-17-2004, 07:05 PM
I own a few Grizzley woodworking tools. They are "adequate" for the task. Not finely made, but work well. On the plus side the Grizzley people are very good at service and parts. I had one defective part on a new machine and a phone got a quick ship for replacements.

For average use, I would think a new machine would be nice to own. Parts availability is important. Most of the newer machines can also cut metric as well as inch threads, definately a plus.

Best of Luck!

Richard Kleinschmidt
Shop Dog Power Hammers
St. Paul, MN

04-17-2004, 09:21 PM
Brett, This is one of those "touchy" subjects. Without trying to hurt anyone's feelings - I am of the position that you can keep those "sum flung dung" brand of tools. I am not jaded in particular but in general - You can buy a NEW Yugo or a USED Cadillac - they'll both get you from point "A" to point "B".

That particular model while better than say a 9" south bend can't compare to a equally sized "industrial" model - even one with some miles already on it.

We have a very comparable JET lathe at work (looks identical) that we got to replace a Clausing 5914 Variable Speed lathe that was in need of some work. I've used the JET several times but AVOID it like the plague. Aside from the goofy calibrated dials (.002" per division - metric lead screws) and Cranking the carriage only to hit my hand on the crossfeed crank every revolution - I'd say it's NOT worth the dough. Now granted some areas of the country are more difficult to locate good used equipment than others, but I say try to hold out and find a good used AMERICAN IRON machine.
FWIW I dragged the Clausing home and spent a week refurbing the VARIABLE SPEED drive - parts available but expensive so I made them instead. After making some routine adjustments that baby is working FANTASTIC - they guy who runs the shop to this day still regrets getting rid of it - I don't ever gloat in front of him - but it's hard :lol:
Meanwhile he and I struggle in silence using the JET. One funny thing is that the Clausing leaked oil from the carriage - it annoyed the crap out of the guy at work (piece of cake to fix btw) the Jet LEAKS worse!!!!

I spent a couple weeks all totaled fixing up the Clausing - making parts - adjusting and such - and now everything that was annoying is gone - the things that are annoying on the JET will always be annoying! :(

If circumstances send you down that road anyways - then I'd say look for a slightly USED unit - they don't hold their value near as well as "better" iron and therefore a much better price is likely to be had.

FWIW for 3k I'd definitely be doing some serious homework before signing THAT check!!!

Good Luck,

Jacin in Ohio

Kerry Pinkerton
04-18-2004, 04:51 AM
I agree with Jacin. Alabama is certainly not a hotbed of industrial activity and it seems that all the equiptment is either up in the 'rust belt" or the west coast. That being said, in the past six years, I've bought 6 lathes, 5 of them locally.

I haven't ANY experience with the Grizzley but did have a Jet 9x20. I sold it when I bought a Carrol-Jamison 16x54 Variable Speed for ($1500. The 9x20's that are sold by MANY dealers (Jet, Harbor Freight, Grizzley and several others) are all made in the same factory and, for the most part, are interchangeable. There is a great 9x20 yahoo group. Concensus of the group was that Grizzley was the best of the bunch by a little in terms of finish. Functionally, they are the same.

I BELIEVE but am not certain that the 13x50's are the same. It LOOKS just like the larger lathe that is on the floor at the HF store in town.

My experience with the Jet was that it was a bit of a pain. The handwheels were awkward and tight, drive belt was an overgrown rubber band, gears were lightweight, would only power feed INTO the chuck (not toward the tailstock)

I'd try and find a used commercial machine.

04-23-2004, 01:44 PM
Hey Brett, I picked up the Mill / Lathe Combo from Grizzly about 2 months ago, this model -


I can tell you one thing, make sure to find out up front if it is standard or metric so you do not have to run around looking for things after you buy. The guy helping me didn't know squat, told me what item I needed and I bit since he worked there. Drive home 250 miles call up 4 friends to help unload the 700lb machine and set it up....then find out that the accessories that I spent $600 on were wrong for the machine (all standard where the machine needs metric).

Just make sure that you get the correct info up front before leaving the store!

Pat D.

04-25-2004, 10:36 AM
if you are going to use it a lot don't waste youre money on this and still have to buy a good machine a used even a little wore good machine will far out last a new cheaply made one Rick

04-25-2004, 12:48 PM
Having gone thru several old machines and considering myself as only an Amatuer Scraper. Not even close to bein a Master Scraper. I have come to several conclusions.
Old American machines may be nice, sturdy and rugged. They can be had for cheap and sometimes nuthin. Many guys love to hunt down them old South Bend lathes, small size, great for home use.
Accuracy, depends upon the life the machine had and the operator.
Ah the operator even the best have their times with some machines that are worn out.
There are a lot of pro's and con's on the Grizzley brand, but in general if you want a quality machine your gonna have to buy foreign ie, Japan, Taiwan or China. Some of the cheaper ones are gonna have their nuiances. Yet a Lodge and Shipley has its quirks as does a Reed Prentice also.
What does it cost and how much time does it take to bring an old lady up to new or better condition. Bring the dough and some serious time and parts aren't exactly cheap. Scraping in a machine is no picknic, it is more involved than picking up a scraper and puttin some frosting on the machine.
Yet many guys will be tickled pink and happy as a lark just to have a runnin machine even if it is inaccurate and are willing to fight with its quirks.
In the long run if a person is using the machine on a daily basis and making money with it, they are far better of buying a new foreign machine and plannin on replacing it in two years or so. Is that sayin that an old American is better, hell no, not if you gotta make money in those two years, a worn machine is worn whether it is 2 years old or 40. Time is money.
There are those that would say buy new American, right, first find one and then see the price tag about 4 times that of the foreign. Life span about the same.
Qualitywise the foreign stuff is just as good if not better than the American stuff. Comparing a new South Bend made in the 40's to a Grizzly made in China today, hands down the Grizzly is the winner in many ways. That is comparing new to new, comparing worn to worn, they are both shot. I would also think because the Grizzleys come with hardened and crhomed ways they is gonna last a whole lot longer.
I can remember when and its not too long ago, if you worked in a shop you had to have either Starret or Brown and Sharpe instruments. Then Mitotoyo came in cheap yet met the same standards and do the same things and last just as long.
I have personally seen new Bridgeports with hard chromed ways and such because to the job they were running were worn in 2 years and looked like brand new to the naked eye and simple tests, they were only good for parts and the junk pile.
Now more important, is the things no one mentions is Tooling, a good chuck and tool post with tools for a lathe. For awhile the foreign stuff was junk. Toss the chuck and toolin in the junk pile. Some of the stuff now is quite good.
Its the old story let the buyer beware, Caveat Emptor.
Define your purpose, is the machine gonna be a toy or a money maker. Know your limitations is more important than the machines. If you can run a sloppy machine, there are some guys that can do quality work on junk, but I am sure they would rather swallow their pride and run an accurate foreign piece.
I won't get into mentioning gearheads, bearings and even the electrical end of machines.
As for size the newer machines a lot of the newer machines are more compact.
I believe it is sometimes fun to go thru an old machine, just for the experience, will the machine be as good as new, Big Question. Life is too short better to buy a new one and be makin good parts.
In any event there are a lot of Caveats, everyone will have to deal with their own.
Good Luck and Have fun


04-25-2004, 03:27 PM
Wally, I never mentioned anything about the machine being cheaply made or anything....it works very nice in fact. The reason for my post was to just point out the fact that some machines take standard tooling and accessories while others take the metric.

What type of machine are you using?? If someone has the need for a tool and a budget to work with, then you get the best tool for your dollar - thats it.

Pat D. (tdmg)

04-25-2004, 09:52 PM
I have a Wholesale tool (probably the same as Grizzly) 13X40 gear head lathe. I use it every day for something. I have had it for a couple of years. I do not do production work, more like proto type work and repair.

I needed a lathe, every lathe I looked at was either worn completly out, or phyically too big. This was oil field country, hundreds of lathes, but most 50 to 72 in beds, some way bigger.

My lathe has paid for itself in convenience. I have a friend that works as a machinist that will happily build parts for me, but time is money and sometimes I need it right now. My machine has been great because it fits my needs. .....john

04-26-2004, 03:36 PM
Thanks for the info and advice everybody!

I don't think there is such a thing as an american built lathe anymore. Now that I think about it, I've been in the industrial workforce for 8 years and can't recall ever using an american made lathe (note: I'm not a machinist, but play one on occasion).

Just found a used '80s(?) model 12x37 Grizzly locally. Will let ya'll know how it turns out. Pun intended


04-26-2004, 04:01 PM
Thanks for the info and advice everybody!

I don't think there is such a thing as an american built lathe anymore.
Back in the 70s and 80s a friend was a machinery salesman.
He pushed American products hard but the firm he worked for rep'ed a broad spectrum of stuff.

He had a big order on the line. A factory was setting up a new line and wanted assurance that the lathes they bought would do the work they specified needed to be done. To that end they wanted the mfr to work with them on the intial setup.

He took it to Monarch, and they wouldn't help.
Hitachi jumped on it.

Like you said, seen many new Monarch lathes recently?


04-28-2004, 02:24 PM

I agree with everyone about finding an older american version of anything and you can usually fix it up and it will be better than the new foreign stuff. Although, I went against that motto and bought a Smithy granite 1324 mill/lathe. i have been very happy with it and have had no problems with for as long as i have had it (about 8 years).

I searched around and found that Jet/Grizzly/Smithy - and it looks like Birmingham - are all made from the same castings that are made overseas. So they are all similar and I would go with the one with the best price and warrenty. Also check with Enco, they also have similar products and are usually cheaper and have free shipping. go to www.use-enco.com. i've bought a few things from them and the service and quality have been excellent.

Buy american if you can and if your fortunate to find an older one in good shape it would be worth it to find an experienced tool maker or machine mechanic to look at it before purchase.

Good Luck.