|Review by dustynewt||posted 02-07-2008 12:04 AM||5037 views||0 times favorited||10 comments|
Let me start by getting the disclaimer out of the way. I am a novice when it comes to turning. I have turned a few chess sets and utility shop items in the past on borrowed lathes. I really love the meditative aspects of curling wood. So, when my wife was curious if we could possibly turn out some candle sticks (she was a professional candlemaker for 12 years) I rose to the occasion and did nothing to quell the creative brain storming. I lauded the benefits of the lathe and bombarded her with projects posted on Lumberjocks and other sites. Everywhere we went, I pointed out the turned aspects of pieces we saw. In her enthusiastic revelry, she related her creative desires to a cousin of hers and he in turn sent us, for Christmas, a check for “lathe endeavors”.
I had read reviews on mini/midi lathes in Fine Woodworking and other magazines and had already decided that the Rikon would be the best deal for the money for what we wanted to do.
It arrived in fine shape from Woodcraft (which I paid for online through the link below to help the LJ cause) about two weeks ago. Shipping was only $14. It killed me because I was on twelve hour shifts at the mill and couldn’t get right to it. The turning tools I ordered from Lee Valley didn’t get here until last week so that made me feel better.
Out of the box, 89lbs. Straightforward assembly and set up. The bed straight and as flat as I am able to test it. Tail stock and rest banjo glide smoothly along the bed and lock down very securely. The belt drive/speed change is fairly simple although the pulley cover is kinda cheesy, plastic and doesn’t lock closed very well. The centers lined up perfectly. The headstock has a feature that I really like. It has a positive 12 position lock, which will be handy for doing any carving or routing of flutes. It is also great for changing faceplates or other drive accessories. Other features are a 12” swing, 16” between centers, and an extension table that was back ordered last time I checked.
Overall, except for the pulley guard, a very sturdy tool.
I temporarily bolted it to an old sturdy sawhorse of the right height. Plugged it in, made sure that the spindle lock was off, and turned it on. A barely audible purr. Eureka! I work around very noisy machinery at the paper mill, so I really appreciate a quiet workshop.
I need to do some rebuilding of my shop and the lathe will have a more permanent location then.
-- Peace in Wood ~ http://dustynewt.com/