First lathe help

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Forum topic by e094228 posted 11-24-2016 03:33 PM 815 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 692 days

11-24-2016 03:33 PM

So after a long time of wet shaving, Im wanting to turn my own handles. Nothing more. Mostly wood with some resins and acrylics. I was all set to buy a used Delta 1642 for $550, but for whatever reason the seller backed out. I have a budget of about $800 for the lathe, but have never turned. Heres what im looking for.

-I DO NOT want to change any belts. Time doing tgatbis time away from turning or family.

-need the adapters/parts to work on upgraded lathe down the line.

Ive looked at everything from HF 1/2hp lathe to Jet 1221 $219-$799. Its kinda overwhelming

8 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


12369 posts in 2524 days

#1 posted 11-24-2016 05:16 PM

You didn’t ask a question but you’ll be happier in the long run with a name brand like Jet, Delta, Powermatic.

-- Rick M,

View Wildwood's profile


2423 posts in 2278 days

#2 posted 11-24-2016 07:50 PM

You have told us your budget for a lathe and three that fill the bill are Delta 46-460, Jet 1221 VS and Rikon 70-200 VSR. All three are midi lathes and will exceed your current & future needs. Yes have to switch belt(s) so can turn in low or high range. If that’s a challenge for you buy the Harbor Freight reeves drive lathe!

Does that budget include turning tools, four jaw scroll chuck, and way to sharpen tools and those items? No don’t need a full set of tools to turn items you mentioned but rouging & spindle gouge would be essential, so will parting tool & skew. To buy a chuck or not? I turned for couple years before getting a chuck, but today’s turners think it is a must have. You definitely have to figure out how to sharpen & resharpen your tools.

You may find one or two of those lathes mentioned on sale tomorrow or this weekend!

Good luck with it!

-- Bill

View lew's profile


12320 posts in 3899 days

#3 posted 11-24-2016 10:10 PM

I have an older Delta Iron Bed lathe with the Reeve’s drive. It is very noisy.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View lightcs1776's profile


4228 posts in 1798 days

#4 posted 11-25-2016 12:47 AM

I wet shave with a DE razor and have a lathe, so I have also thought about making things on the lathe for shaving. I have a Harbor Freight lathe that doesn’t require belt changes and works quite well for medium and small projects. It could easily be used for making razor or brush handles. If you don’t think you will go beyond small projects, the lathe might be a bit large. However, I have found making bowls to be very enjoyable. Another forum, Badger and Blade, has folks that also make razor and brush handles and might have some pointers as well.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View MrUnix's profile


6928 posts in 2343 days

#5 posted 11-25-2016 01:52 AM

Three of my lathes use stepped pulleys to change speeds… and except for my South Bend, it takes about 10 seconds max. and can be done with one hand. I wouldn’t pass up one just because of that. Just my 2 pesos.


PS: They also don’t have any electronics to go bad :)

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View OSU55's profile


1860 posts in 2133 days

#6 posted 11-25-2016 02:12 AM

If that’s all you want to do a belt drive is all you need. you won’t be changing speeds much. Find an HF lathe on craigslist. PSI Tools has some good value turning tools, chucks, and other accessories. You need a sharpening method including a jig for the tools.

View GAwoodworker's profile


37 posts in 912 days

#7 posted 11-28-2016 04:58 PM

I bought a Harbor Freight lathe about 4 years ago. I’ve turned well over a hundred pens, a few dozen razor handles, shave brushes, bowls, and the odd-ball piece here and there. It has never let me down and accepts just about any standard lathe part or chuck you wanna throw at it. It is MT #2. There is also a Woodriver adapter I got for a few bucks at Woodcraft that allows me to use other sized chucks on it. If (more like when hehe) I decide to move up to a more expensive lathe, I can still use my chucks I have purchased for it. I may have to buy a new adapter, but 10-15 bucks is well worth it. If ya go for the HF lathe, don’t forget to print yourself a 20% off coupon! And you pay it off after selling a 10-15 pens or razors.

View RouteSixtySix's profile


13 posts in 990 days

#8 posted 12-12-2016 03:07 AM

I have lots of experience with the Jet 1221VS and I can tell you it’s not only a great starter lathe, but it’s one that you could happily turn on for years to come. Yes, there is a belt that you can change from one pulley to the next, but I don’t think it would be absolutely necessary. You could just leave it on the high setting and that would cover almost all of your needs.

If you were ever inclined for whatever reason to move the belt to a different pulley though, it could be done very easily in less than a minute.

-- Steve

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