Thanks for the info guys! The VFD sounds like it'd be great but I can't afford $1k for what I'd need. The lathe motor is 3hp so it'd take a 5hp rated VFD.
I have a friend who's an *old* electrician - 85 & still working...he enjoys it. I hope he can determine which lead is which.
I have several 1/2hp & 1hp motors I can use to kick start this one...or use a pull rope. Basically I can build what I need with parts I have on hand or spend $1k to go the easy route.
Thanks for all the info! I never heard of a VFD - I was mechanical - not a sparky....