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Forum topic by PhillipRCW posted 11-11-2015 03:30 PM 1226 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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PhillipRCW

387 posts in 730 days


11-11-2015 03:30 PM

I am looking into my first lathe and I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with the harbor freight large lathe? Should I just look into a higher end lathe or would this be alright to start out with? I’m looking at doing my own table legs, vases, bowls, and even some small pens.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.


39 replies so far

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SawSucker

110 posts in 394 days


#1 posted 11-11-2015 03:58 PM

You’d be a lot better off buying a used machine from a different manufacturer that is of much better quality. I’m not a fan of HF at all. In my opinion most of what they sell is junk, and a waste of my money.

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HokieKen

1787 posts in 604 days


#2 posted 11-11-2015 04:07 PM

HF is a hit-miss proposition. I bought their benchtop lathe with the 10” swing and have been very happy with it. I have since found out that the same lathe is sold by other manufacturers (Jet and Grizzly) with different paint for much higher prices. I’m not sure which one you’re looking at from them but as with anything from HF, research the crap out of it before buying. If you can get to a brick and mortar store, you can try it out for 30 days without the shipping costs so it’s pretty much risk free.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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bandit571

14606 posts in 2149 days


#3 posted 11-11-2015 04:18 PM

I guess with any Harbor Freight Question, you will always get that Harbor Freight Hater..

Have heard some good things about their full sized lathe, just missed out on a 40” one at an auction….went for three times what it cost at the store..

Central Machinery is H-F “house Brand…..Comes off the same assembly line as those Jet and other name brands. Add a few piecesof plywood to the legs of the lathe’s base, add some ballast to the bottom, lathe will be just fine. Might even save enough cash in the store to pick up a set of starter lathe chisels, too.

They will also have a section of lathe accessories just for their lathes, might browse through there, too.

Unlike the Haters, I do indeed shop there….

ps: They have a big Veterans Days sale going on, ends today….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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OSU55

1062 posts in 1455 days


#4 posted 11-11-2015 05:04 PM

HF is hit or miss depending on the tool and at times the ability/willingness to “finish the tool”. I have the large lathe #34706, and it’s reviewed here. It is definitely one of the HF winners. Between coupons and sales it can be had pretty cheap. I have turned up to 14-1/2” bowls, pivoting the head to the side.

I also have a set of their HSS turning tools (red wine color handles) that are good cheap starter tools. I also recommend Benjamin’s Best and Hurricane HSS tools.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4823 posts in 2514 days


#5 posted 11-11-2015 05:13 PM

I have an harbor freight lathe for many years, for what I do it is good lathe,
http://lumberjocks.com/topics/57398

I have many HF tools.
I have been buying tools from HF for about 30 years and except for one router I always have been satisfied

-- Bert

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rwe2156

2198 posts in 946 days


#6 posted 11-11-2015 05:20 PM

I have a couple 4” grinders and a few air tools from them.
Do far, so good.

Personally, though, I would never buy a ww’ing machine from them.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View PhillipRCW's profile

PhillipRCW

387 posts in 730 days


#7 posted 11-11-2015 05:20 PM

Yeah, I research a lot on items I buy from anywhere. There are a few items I have spent a ton of money on and are complete junk from name brands. There are also some really cheap tools that have been the best in my shop.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4234 posts in 1665 days


#8 posted 11-11-2015 05:47 PM

I guess with any Harbor Freight Question, you will always get that Harbor Freight Hater..

HF Haters? Hardly. I don’t see anything above that would validate that sentiment… more like people who realize (and can easily see) that there are reasons why the tools are as cheap as they are, and have expectations consistent with those reasons.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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MrRon

3926 posts in 2709 days


#9 posted 11-11-2015 06:10 PM

I have their large wood lathe and am satisfied with it. Like most HF tools, you win some/lose some. Their lathe falls into the former category. I don’t use a wood lathe much, so it suits me fine.

View SawSucker's profile

SawSucker

110 posts in 394 days


#10 posted 11-11-2015 06:49 PM

It’s unbelievable, and really disappointing to read most of the responses so far. Especially to insinuate such a broad and ridiculous claim that H-F is the same as Jet and other name brands.

View BobAnderton's profile

BobAnderton

219 posts in 2256 days


#11 posted 11-11-2015 07:28 PM

That Harbor Freight #34706 lathe is the exact same lathe as the Jet 1236 which sells for twice as much.

It’s not the best lathe in the world, but it’s a great value if you catch it on sale and use the 20% coupon.

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4823 posts in 2514 days


#12 posted 11-11-2015 07:40 PM

Bob +1

The HF is $299 -20%

SawSucker tells me, except for the paint job, what is the difference?
The same it true of many HF tools.

-- Bert

View Gixxerjoe04's profile

Gixxerjoe04

835 posts in 1042 days


#13 posted 11-11-2015 07:47 PM

I have the large harbor freight lathe, best bang for your buck if you’re on a budget. From what I’ve seen sell on craigslist around me, you can find nice used lathes for sale, but they originally cost a lot so even used they’re going to cost a lot still. Doing big bowls and heavy items, def not the best at that, motor bogs down, but to get a lathe with a bigger motor, usually with cost well over $1,000 probably closer to $2k. I’d like to upgrade to a bigger lathe but probably won’t happen for awhile, if so would love a powermatic.

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Gixxerjoe04

835 posts in 1042 days


#14 posted 11-11-2015 07:49 PM



Bob +1

SawSucker tells me, except for the paint job, what is the difference?
The same it true of many HF tools.

- b2rtch

Who wouldn’t want that extra $400 paint job, or whatever the price difference is besides a big one.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1787 posts in 604 days


#15 posted 11-11-2015 07:50 PM



It s unbelievable, and really disappointing to read most of the responses so far. Especially to insinuate such a broad and ridiculous claim that H-F is the same as Jet and other name brands.

- SawSucker

I think that others, like myself, are making very specific claims, not broad ones. It is a well known fact that many tools sold by many companies, not just HF, come off the same lines overseas and get different name plates put on them. No one is saying that HF has anything that will stack up against Jet’s high-end models, just that Jet sells low end models that are the same machine at a lower price point. No argument that you can get a top-of-the-line lathe at HF just that HF models are a better value than some other companies’ “value” lines.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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