|Review by Berg||posted 09-20-2009 02:59 PM||6114 views||0 times favorited||13 comments|
If you have looked at the bowl project I posted you know I am a complete turning neophyte AND you know I don’t actually own a lathe. Until now!
I was at The Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers’ annual meeting with a friend who suggested we make a trip to the neighborhood woodworking supply store. I thought it was a great idea because from where I live it’s an hour to either of the two stores (in the state, believe) that have cool stuff like lathes. He knows I have been looking to buy my first lathe; probably a mini. And he knows I have been looking on Craig’s List for the best deal. Turns out, talking to the salesman at “the neighborhood woodworking supply store”, that the Rikon 70-100 is on sale and close to the price I was considering for a used one. OK, the used one had some tools and “extras” but also has an unknown history and no warranty. You know where I’m going with this… I am now the proud owner of a new Rikon mini.
I got it home last night and started pulling out and unwrapping and cleaning and screwing-on and … remembered if I wanted to post something on LJ I had better start taking pictures. So I unscrewed (no comments!) laid out and grumbled that this is really going to increase the box-to-turning time. Darn, the things we do for LJ.
The packaging was well done; two big pieces of Styrofoam, some plastic bags for the small parts not already on the main piece and the box and strapping. The headstock, tailstock and motor were already on the bed. The 4” face place was screwed on the headstock. The other little parts were bagged and include live center, spur center, two knockout tools, spindle lock, tool tray, tool rest and wrench. All accounted for and cleaned. All the parts were oiled for shipping.
I have everything out sitting on the table and I check the belt speed and set it low, plug it in and turn it on. Spins (as advertised) but I notice a lot of hum from the motor. Turns out the table is a greate sound board. The hum was minimal after mounted it on a stand. Next I installed the spur center and the live center and checked out the alignent of head to tail. It looked dead on to me.
Got everthing together and cleaned and looked around to decide where I was going to put this thing. Then I spied the victim: my belt/disk sander. “I only use that occationally.” I redeployed the Delta stand. Had to add the plywood “plate” because the stand is a little small. The height would have been perfect if I didn’t have to use the plywood. As is, the turning centerline is about 1” too high (for me). If this setup works out I may have to nip the legs a little. :) The picture makes it look awkward sitting on the stand but its nice and stable.
My only complaint so far is the plastic cover over the pullies buzzes sometimes. I think some electrical tape (black) around the perimeter of the cover might help. As I mentioned, I was worried about motor hum too but on the stand it is not an issue. Pretty quiet actually.
Finally I can turn something! I decided to christen the new member of the household by making a mini bat on my mini lathe. The only problem is I have never turned a spindle and I have borrowed two bowl gouges and a scraper. AND I’ve only turned two bowls in two classes in my life. As you can see from the picture I ALMOST made it. :)
To summarize my experience, the Rikon came with all pieces in working order, is quiet, is heavy with minimal vibration and takes about 20 minutes to clean set up if you are not taking pictures and scabbing stands. At first blush it appears to be an incredible value. (compare cost/features to the Jet 1014, for example)
Respectfully submitted (or not)
-- Pete - "To every thing there is a season Turn! Turn! turn!" [Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger]