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Forum topic by crank49 posted 10-29-2010 08:33 PM 965 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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crank49

3506 posts in 1716 days


10-29-2010 08:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe beginner

I’m considering adding a lathe to my shop early next year, depends on my day job; and how well I make out at Christmas.

What I think I would like to start out turning is pens, small work like wine stoppers, shave brush, etc. to be sold in my jewelry store. Also I’d like to try bowl turning and finally, at some point I’d like to be able to turn spindles table legs, and maybe bed posts.

I saw in a review in Fine Woodworking that the Delta midi is highly rated, but I was hoping to keep my investment under $500. The same article rated the Penn State Industries 12” x 16” VS Commander as a best buy at around $480, including the extension. It has a 1hp motor and variable speed.

I personally like my other Rikon equipment so I might consider their lathe also, but they only offer a 1/2hp.

Anybody have comments or suggestions.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H


8 replies so far

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Moron

4723 posts in 2638 days


#1 posted 10-29-2010 08:43 PM

Buy used

not much can really go wrong on a lathe and you can use the money saved to buy turning tools.

I spent 250 on an old Delta, another 400 on a collection of at least 40 chisels. had I bought the lathe new it would have cost about 1,200 and the chisels would have been over 4,000

2 cents

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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Chris

1867 posts in 2736 days


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

My first lathe was a used Jet midi. It has served me well without any issues at all. If you have never used a lathe before this is a great stepping stone for figuring out what you really want later. If you click on the first picture below you will see it. Even though I have moved up to a larger lathe it still serves as the dedicated pen lathe / Bowl Buff, etc.

Click for details

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

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crank49

3506 posts in 1716 days


#3 posted 10-29-2010 09:56 PM

I wouldn’t object to a used machine at all. I have been watching CL for a couple of months, but all I ever see are those little toy lathes, HF stuff, the old Craftmans with the tubular bed, or every now and then a big serious machine like a $2000 PowerMatic.

Anyone have an opinion on the Penn State machines?
Do I really need to limit my choices to only machines with 3/4 or more horse power?

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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Chris

1867 posts in 2736 days


#4 posted 10-29-2010 10:15 PM

I guess you should start by asking the question “What do I want to make?” and go from there; If you only want to make small bowls or pen’s then the 3/4 to 1hp lathes are great. I have even done a couple of hollow forms (vases) on that Jet Midi.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View interpim's profile

interpim

1133 posts in 2203 days


#5 posted 10-29-2010 10:50 PM

if you are wanting to eventually turn bowls and spindles for table legs, your going to want a bigger lathe to start. I made the mistake starting out with a midi-lathe, and am now wishing I had gone bigger.

I have the Penn State midi lathe, and love it… But, I am outgrowing it, considering I am maxing out the capacity on the bowls I can turn. Also, I can’t turn any spindles longer than about 18 inches or so… I don’t remember exactly the bed length.

I’ve been eyeing the Grizzly 46” lathe for a bit. It is right over your budget at $525, but if you get addicted to turning as much as I did then your going to want something bigger.

-- San Diego, CA

View Raftermonkey's profile

Raftermonkey

560 posts in 1657 days


#6 posted 10-29-2010 10:57 PM

I’ve got a HF lathe that has a 3/4 hp motor. I use it for bowl turning and will admit that it is way underpowered. This is my first lathe and I’m not complaning cause at least I’m turning but more power would be nice. I just don’t have the money to drop on a heavier more powerful machine. I guess my only advice would be to get a machine with as much HP as you can afford. By the way, HF lathes are great for the price. (At least mine is for me) Good luck with your search.

-- -Zeke- "I hate to rush off, but I gotta go see a man about a log"

View Knothead62's profile

Knothead62

2364 posts in 1706 days


#7 posted 10-30-2010 02:14 AM

I have a HF lathe, bought off CL. It’s the #37406, 33-1/2 bed. It works for me.

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crank49

3506 posts in 1716 days


#8 posted 10-30-2010 02:25 AM

Thanks, everybody for you comments.

Chris,
My second paragraph stated what I hoped to be able to turn. ” what I would like to start out turning is pens, small work like wine stoppers, shave brush, etc. to be sold in my jewelry store. Also I’d like to try bowl turning and finally, at some point I’d like to be able to turn spindles table legs, and maybe bed posts.”

interpim,
Can’t you get the bed extension for that lathe? I thought you could add one and get like 36” or two and get 56”. 20” more each time?

Or is your limitation the diameter of the bowls? That’s a whole other matter. Do you have the 10” or the 12”?
Or, is it a horsepower issue?

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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