Looking for guidance with older VPI HW-19 tables

I'm looking for a table without a tonearm. I'll be mounting a Hadcock GH 228.

I'm not married to the idea of a VPI HW-19, but they're common in the classifieds and seem to offer a good bang for the buck. However, I'm not familiar with all the variations: Mk i, ii, iv, etc. Are there particular models or upgrades I should look for? Any guidance would be appreciated.

I don't think the HW-19 series is being supported by VPI anymore, which brings up the question whether parts (like the bearing) will eventually become unavailable.

And speaking of bearings... how do you determine if it's good? Buying a used table is like buying a used car. There might be problems lurking under the hood. Do you have any suggestions on how to flesh this out before hand?

Many thanks!
Mingles,please keep us informed as to your progress in this matter.Regards,Tom
If you're seeking a VPI HW-19 without being previously drilled for an Arm, it will be an easier matter seeking a version that has the Steel Sub-Chassis, and seperate Armboard. A new Black Acrylic Armboard can be dupicated-copied, and re-drilled for whatever Arm you like, by either you, or a competent machinist-carpenter.

Basically, there's only three things that might wear on the non-inverted older VPI Bearings, the Bottom Thrust Plate, the Upper Bushing, and the little 1/2" Ball Bearing that resides on the bottom of Bearing Shaft.

As for what services VPI now presently provides, these may be good questions to pose them. I would suspect that the little screw in Thrust Plates are available, and VPI may still offer Platter Bearing repair if it is needed.

Bushing materials for the Bearing Well could've consisted of a number of materials over the years, Bronze, Nylon, Rulon. Again, if VPI no longer does such work, this is not beyond a competent machinist.

Lack of lubrication, meaning a neglected Bearing would of course show more wear to Thrust Plate, and Bushing Surface. These should of course wear first. if there's wear on the Bearing Shaft, this would probably tell me that the Bearing was indeed severely neglected.

Te MK-IV version would be ideally the one to get, and can come with either the original MK-IV all Acrylic Lead filled Platter, or a combination of Acrylic-Aluminum, most likely meaning its the older TNT Platter. With these heavier Platters, I'm sort of doubting how well "Pool Noodles" will support a heavy Plinth with Subchassis, and a heavy Platter.

The stock Motor is still available, is nothing more than a 600 rpm Hurst AC Synchronous, and the SAMA I undserstand is available as well.

If you browse the list, you'll see what still can be gotten, but there may be a number of little parts, whatnot, that might still be gotten? Mark
If possible, try to buy the HW-19 Mk 4, which was the last incarnation of the TT. It has an improved bearing and platter, and also allows for further upgrade to several of the earlier TNT platters. I have owned the HW-19 TT for nearly 20 years, and have continually upgraded it by: 1. getting better tonearms (I finally settled on the Rega RB-900, which I modified as well); 2. upgrading to a TNT platter; 3. removing the original plinthe suspension springs and replacing them with the Sorbothane pucks; 4. adding the SAMA. Each of these upgrades made audible improvements to the overall sound quality of my LP's. I also made a home-built TT platform filled with 40 pounds of lead/sand mix, which provided a subtle but helpful improvement to reducing vibration feedback. Several years ago I was considering selling my HW-19 on consignment thru a local high-end dealer, and then replacing it with the VPI Scoutmaster with JMW-19 arm. Interestingly, the dealer actually talked me out of this, saying that the HW-19 Mk4 -- as I had modified it -- was at least the equal of the newer Scoutmaster (in sound quality, although not necessarily in appearance). I subsequently took my HW-19 to his store and did some A/B comparisons against the Scoutmaster and a Nottingham Space Deck, and his judgment proved correct -- my HW-19 stacked up very well. So, until such time as I have a LOT of spare income, I'm quite content to live with my HW-19 Mk4. The one precaution I have is to provide regular maintenance to the HW-19's thrust bearing and well. If you use your TT a lot, then I suggest you replace the bearing grease/oil every 6 months or so. With moderate use of the TT, then annual maintenance should be sufficient.
I really appreciate everyone's response. I'm still in exploratory mode right now, but the HW-19 Mk 4 is on my radar. The big unknown is how I'll mount the Hadcock. It has an unusual pivot to stylus distance of 228 mm. Most 9" arms are 222. If I go with VPI, will I have to drill a new mounting hole? Or should I use a third-party armboard?

Mounting Hole Diameter 3/8" (15.87 mm)
Overall Length 289.6 mm (11.4")
Height - 43 mm (1.70") - 90 mm (3.5")
Pivot Stem Length to Top of Arm 86.4 mm (3.4")
Pivot to Stylus Point 228.6 mm (9.0")
Pivot To Centre of Turntable 212.85 mm (8.38")
Offset Angle 23°
Rear Overhang 60.9 mm (2.40") maximum
Mingles, Finding a Table used such as the HW-19 MK-IV used would then more than likely need an entirely new Armboard fabricated ala third party as you suggest, and would need to be drilled for the Hadcock Arm-Armbase.

The Spindle to Pivot Distance is very very close to the AQ PT Arm's specs, and since the Hadcock's Mounting Shaft Diameter is very thin, only requiring a hole diameter of 3/8", it may be possible to superimpose the new Hadcock Arm Base over the existing hole, re-drill-tap holes for the Hadcock Arm Base, and possibly "hide" the existing hole from the previous AQ Arm Mounting Base? This is a big "maybe" though?

The Arm Board is a seperate piece on the better HW-19 Tables which possess the Steel Sub-Chassis, which attaches via screws to the Sub-Chassis. There were two version Armboards, one was the standard .500" thick, which was at the same height-level as the Acrylic Plinth, and then there was the Super Armboard, being 1.00" thick, and did sit higher than the Acrylic Plinth itself.

VPI's literature back in the day usually touted the thicker Super Armboard as a sonic upgrade to the table, but there was another reason for the "requirement" of the thicker Armboard.

That reason was, the MK-III Platter, and particularly, the MK-IV-TNT Platters were much thicker and were higher in height versus lesser HW-19 Platters, and thus needed the Super Armboard to better correctly attain correct VTA height with an Arm. Without going to a thicker Armboard, the other option would be a custom made spacer between Tonearm Mounting Base, and Armboard. Mark