You’ve heard the saying, “You get what you pay for”. This is especially true when it comes to finding replacement parts for your lathe. There is no question that OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts are superior to aftermarket or self-machined parts. If you are searching for lathe parts, here’s why you should purchase LeBlond OEM lathe parts.

Case Study: 1960 LeBlond 17

In 2006, a machinist who owned a 1960 LeBlond 17 manual lathe suspected a transmission gear went bad. After talking with a service tech, it was determined that it could not be the issue. There has never been a LeBlond lathe manufactured with a transmission gear. However, the service tech suggested that it was probably one of three gears: the quick-change box, the headstock, or the apron gears. These are the only three areas of a LeBlond lathe that contain gears. Headstock gears are the most expensive, while gears in the quick change box are the middle and apron gears are the least costly of the three.

Is the Bad Gear Worth Replacing?

Now, the question the machinist had was, “The lathe is a 1960s model. Is it worth replacing the gear?” Due to its age, the owner wasn’t sure how much more life he could get out of the lathe. The answer surprised him. The lathe lasted nearly 60 years, and if the gear is the only issue with it, then it has the potential to last for decades to come. However, to maximize the lifespan of the lathe, he needs to buy OEM lathe parts instead of having the gears machined, machining them himself, or having a third-party fabrication shop make them.

The Importance of OEM Parts

OEM stands for Original Equipment manufacturer. This means that the parts are made to the exact specifications of the original part, without even the slightest deviation. Manufacturers who do not produce OEM parts do not have the original blueprints and drawings to machine the parts. This means that the parts will not be built to specs, and the differences can cause serious issues. Let’s take a look at the problems associated with buying aftermarket parts.

  • Aftermarket parts have a shorter lifespan, meaning you will have to replace them much sooner than OEM parts.
  • Other parts of the lathe may become damaged due to the aftermarket part not being made to the exact specifications.
  • The lathe shaft can become damaged due to inferior parts, which can cost upwards of thousands of dollars to repair versus under a thousand purchase an authentic OEM part.
  • The cost of continuously replacing aftermarket parts can far exceed purchasing an OEM lathe part.

Differences Between OEM and Aftermarket Parts

There are three main differences between OEM and aftermarket parts. Understanding these differences makes it clear as to why you should always purchase LeBlond OEM lathe parts.


As mentioned above, aftermarket parts will not and cannot meet the exact specifications of the original part. Aftermarket parts are designed to fit all similar equipment, meaning one part doesn’t fit any equipment perfectly.  Furthermore, the components used to make the part are typically not as high-quality, meaning the part, in general, will be of lesser quality than an OEM product.


At first glance, aftermarket parts seem like a great deal and typically cost significantly less than OEM parts. However, do not be fooled. Chances are you will have to replace the aftermarket part more often, and it can destroy other components of the lathe, making the actual cost of an aftermarket part much more expensive than the OEM part. OEM parts also typically have cheaper shipping costs since they are shipped straight from the manufacturer.


Your lathe will probably still function. However, it will not function as well because the aftermarket part is not made to your lathe’s exact specifications. For optimal performance, it is crucial to purchase OEM parts.

Authentic LeBlond OEM Lathe Parts

Purchasing LeBlond OEM lathe parts is necessary to ensure your lathe operates optimally. LeBlond is the leading manufacturer of OEM parts, including LeBlond lathes. Contact us today for all of your lathe parts needs!