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Forum topic by therookie posted 11-11-2010 11:51 PM 1783 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3066 days

11-11-2010 11:51 PM

I am thinking about trying to turn a couple of bowls, and was wondering a couple this.

1. What brand lathe gives you the biggest bang for your buck
2. What size lathe should i buy for turning pens, bowls and spindles?
3. What selection of tools should i buy?
4. Is the central machinery lathe from harbor freight any good?


4 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3314 days

#1 posted 11-12-2010 01:24 AM

Virtually any lathe will turn pens. With respect to bowls or spindles, the questions are (1) how big a bowl and (2) how long a spindle.

If you have the room, I would recommend a full sized, floor mount lathe. You’ll probably want one eventually so don’t bother with the small starter lathe. Grizzly provides great value for the dollar. In my opinion, the Grizzly G0462 at $475 (plus $94 shipping) is a great option. Real my review on this lathe elsewhere on this site.

There are several good starter sets of cutting tools.

Don’t bother getting a lathe and the cutting tools if you don’t also get a good method for sharpening the tools. That is just part of the cost of getting into turning. IMO, the best approach is to buy a slow speed 8” grinder and the Wolverine system (or another brand that is functionally the same). You’ll also want/need some faceplates and probably a chuck.

It is hard to get started for less than $1000. Basic lathe $550, starting cutting tools $100, sharpening system $300 and misc $50. Of course, you can spend a lot more. Most of us have.

Final advice – - There is a learning curve to turning. Don’t get discouraged. You’re best option is to find an instructor that can guide you through the early stages. However, there are some good books and CDs available.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View lew's profile


12510 posts in 3995 days

#2 posted 11-12-2010 03:38 AM

Rich has it covered!


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

View KLorts's profile


10 posts in 3048 days

#3 posted 11-12-2010 04:04 AM

To answer your last question HF makes has one very highly rated full size lathe I believe it is the 34706. There are other reviews on this site. From what I have read the other full size lathe there is hit or miss, and most have missed.

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3200 days

#4 posted 11-12-2010 03:27 PM

I have the HF 34706 and like it. I’m building a shop in my basement/garage and hope to use it a lot more. Try Craigslist, that’s where I got mine for half retail. Try for good turning advice and help.

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