Lathe Upgrade???

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Forum topic by interpim posted 09-28-2010 06:03 AM 1563 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1158 posts in 2880 days

09-28-2010 06:03 AM

I’ve done quite a bit of turning in the past few years, and have come to the realization that I love it more than I initially planned LOL… I thought I might turn a few pens, maybe a bowl or two, but that would be it.

Now that I have turned probably a good 50-60 bowls and about as many pens on it, I see that now I want more room to make bigger bowls, and am considering upgrading my Penn State midi-lathe.

What is a good upgrade that isn’t going to break the bank, with the primary purpose being bowl turning. The length isn’t really that important, but I would like as large a swing I can get to get the bigger bowl blanks onto it.

-- San Diego, CA

17 replies so far

View Roper's profile


1370 posts in 3135 days

#1 posted 09-28-2010 06:22 AM

The powermatic is a great machine for the money, it has a 20 inch swing ,should be able to turn anything you want.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View interpim's profile


1158 posts in 2880 days

#2 posted 09-28-2010 04:15 PM

as much as I would like a powermatic, my budget won’t allow that. I’m thinking my max is going to be in the $750 range, and that’s with me saving up for several months.

-- San Diego, CA

View TheWoodNerd's profile


288 posts in 2613 days

#3 posted 09-28-2010 04:24 PM

I love my 3520b, but as you said it’s a beast with a beastly price tag.

What kind of swing are you looking for in your new lathe? Offhand, I don’t know what the swing of the PS midi is.

-- The Wood Nerd --

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 2630 days

#4 posted 09-28-2010 04:24 PM

Check out this 12x36 variable speed Jet. This is a great machine and only slightly over your price range. It only has a 12” swing, but if you find you eventually want to go larger, it has a pivoting head. I have the 16×42 variable speed and love it!

View interpim's profile


1158 posts in 2880 days

#5 posted 09-28-2010 05:57 PM

The Turncrafter Pro from PennState has a 10 inch swing… But I would go so far and say that the max I could get on it would be a 8” bowl blank, and that much wood spinning really sets that thing to wobbling.

I would like to get about a 12-14” bowl/form eventually…

What do you guys think about the Grizzly G0462?

it has a 16” swing and the head can rotate out if I need more room.

-- San Diego, CA

View popmandude's profile


109 posts in 2442 days

#6 posted 09-29-2010 12:04 AM

Have you considered a lathe that is outboard capable?

View terrilynne's profile


834 posts in 2315 days

#7 posted 09-29-2010 08:55 PM,try.local.auctions.,$

-- Terri, Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 2630 days

#8 posted 09-29-2010 09:11 PM

The Grizzly looks like a good lathe. See if you can find any reviews. The only thing I would be concerned about is that the slowest of its 10 speeds is 600 rpm; I think that is a little too fast for rounding a large chunk of wood.

View hairy's profile


2377 posts in 2954 days

#9 posted 09-29-2010 09:29 PM

Woodcraft has Nova lathes on sale.

I haven’t used one, but they get good reviews.

-- stay thirsty my friends...

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2582 days

#10 posted 09-29-2010 09:39 PM

The new Delta Midi will give you 12.5”, and it has VS and REVERSE.

Rance (across the fence from you in Dahlgren during the day)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View interpim's profile


1158 posts in 2880 days

#11 posted 09-29-2010 10:04 PM

my lathe gives me 10” of swing, so I’m more looking for something in the 16”+ range, and the ability to turn outboard, that’s why I have been looking pretty hard at the Grizzly, but there are a few things on the reviews that are making it a tough decision. I probably won’t be pulling the trigger until next spring, so I have a bit of time to shop.

-- San Diego, CA

View Tim Dorcas's profile

Tim Dorcas

188 posts in 3280 days

#12 posted 10-02-2010 01:13 AM

If you can go up in price (or look around for a used one), the Nova 1624 is a great well made lathe. About the only thing that it lacks is variable speed. Change the belt is fairly painless. Before I bought my Powermatic 3520b this is the lathe I had. Of course the more you turn, the more power, swing, and control you want. Fine Woodworking gave it a great rating as well.

-- - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & - I make. You buy.

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 2526 days

#13 posted 10-04-2010 07:21 AM

Check out this turner’s research He does nice work also. It is a year or so old, but great info. I was looking for a lathe very similar to what you are looking for. BUT, I started making BOXES and I haven’t used my old lathe in months. I have one of the Harbor Freight that lets me turn 13” comfortably, that that “low” speed on it makes liife interesting with a 12” x 4” bowl. I just bought some Redwood Burl from Larry Dubai in Santa Cruz and some Cherry Burl from John the Turner (on
Let us know what you eventually get. I will probably be looking in the late winter on spring.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View interpim's profile


1158 posts in 2880 days

#14 posted 02-05-2011 03:37 PM

That reply has nothing to do with my question or problem PerfectCorporation. Don’t spam legitimate posts with you advertisements when it doesn’t apply to the topic at hand.

-- San Diego, CA

View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 2604 days

#15 posted 02-05-2011 05:38 PM

Why is PerfectCorporation spaming this thread?
Interpim I have seen a lot of lathes on craigslist for just under $1000.00. If your careful you could get a good lathe. Anything brand new of good quality is going to be over a grand. Also look for any of the service centers that have remanufactured lathes for JET, POWERMATIC, DELTA, possibly even GRIZZLY. You may find a bargain. Good luck in your search!

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

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