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Forum topic by Manitario posted 12-26-2017 07:34 PM 1474 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Manitario

2630 posts in 2910 days


12-26-2017 07:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: starter lathe

I apologize for this topic; I never wanted to be the guy that posts a “what __ should I buy”. I know very little about lathes and don’t really have any interest in turning, but my wife really wants me to get a lathe so that she can learn to turn bowls etc. Any suggestions on what would be a good starter lathe, how much swing is needed etc?

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil


21 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2322 posts in 2162 days


#1 posted 12-26-2017 08:36 PM

Do recommend a lathe with 12” swing for bowls with at least ¾ or 1 HP motor. Both General International, Delta, and Rikon lathes have good reputations. Amazon.com looks like has best prices but not sure about shipping to Canada.

http://general.ca/products/1_general/25_lathe/25-200.html

http://general.ca/products/1_general/25_lathe/25-114.html

http://www.atlas-machinery.com/12-1-2-1hp-variable-speed-midi-lathe-w-3sp-belt-drive/

That Rikon 70-220VSR might be a good lathe too.

http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=73599&cat=1,330,73598

Just some others may consider.

https://www.busybeetools.com/products/mini-wood-lathe-w-digital-read-out-12in-x.html

Reeves drive
https://www.busybeetools.com/products/mini-wood-lathe-w-digital-read-out-12in-x.html

You may also want to check for used wood lathes in your area.

-- Bill

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

6768 posts in 2226 days


#2 posted 12-26-2017 08:58 PM

You may also want to check for used wood lathes in your area.

No question, buy used. You will save a ton of money, and if you/she decides that it’s not something that you particularly care for, you can recover most (if not all) of your money. In addition, used machines typically will come with all sorts of extra stuff that you would need to go out and buy separately if you went the new route. Sometimes, those extras can represent a good chunk of change of you had to purchase them yourself.

Keep an eye out for local school sales, local estate sales, local classified ads, find a woodturning club in your area, etc… they are out there if you look around.

Cheers,
Brad

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

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

11817 posts in 2408 days


#3 posted 12-26-2017 09:45 PM

I can’t say which one is best but I’ve owned 4 lathes and the Delta 46-460 is a hell of a lathe for the price. The only other sub-$1K lathe I would consider would be a Jet. Rikon lathes appear to be similar to Grizzly and Jet but a magazine review found their motor ratings were exaggerated significantly and they aren’t cheaper, so pay more, get less. The Nova 1624 is $999.99 right now, no tax, free shipping, @ Acme. But I owned a Comet II and wouldn’t be eager to buy another Nova. Don’t forget the accessories, you’ll be out a few hundred more right off the bat in a chuck and turning tools.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Bill7255's profile

Bill7255

427 posts in 2312 days


#4 posted 12-26-2017 11:28 PM

Wildwood gave some very good lathe options. Let’s think about what lathe not to buy. If buying used don’t buy a tube lathe or one with a Reeves drive. Since this is for your wife, I would buy an electronic speed control. Belt change is not real bad on the midi lathes, but electronic control is much better. That rules out most old iron lathes making the used market much smaller. Depending on what your wife wants to make will determine what chisels she will need. Then you will need a way to sharpen them. Most lathes come with a spur center, tailstock live center, faceplate and tool rest. If she wants to do small lidded boxes and/or vases a chuck would be almost required. Do find a Woodturning club as many upgrade and have good lathes to sell. You will push your $1000 budget to get started.

-- Bill R

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

6768 posts in 2226 days


#5 posted 12-27-2017 12:01 AM

If she wants to do small lidded boxes and/or vases a chuck would be almost required.

I have to take exception to that… I’ve turned zillions of lidded boxes and have never used or needed a chuck (see here: No-chuck lidded box ). I also prefer stepped pulleys as there is nothing to go bad on them other than the belt – changing speeds is not something you need to do frequently, and it can be done easily and quickly with one hand once you get the hang of it. Woodturning doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby if you don’t want it to be. My old Delta 10×36 lathe cost me $50, and I have used the snot out of it turning tons of bowls, spindles, boxes and other stuff without incurring any other expense other than having to buy some AW32 hydraulic oil to lubricate the headstock. For examples, here is another thread that is applicable: Woodturning On The Cheap - Tips and Tricks

I do agree about shying away from the tube type lathes. They are certainly usable, but have a rough time trying to deal with larger out of balance blanks like that for bowls.

Cheers,
Brad

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

View jeff's profile

jeff

1081 posts in 3492 days


#6 posted 12-27-2017 12:22 AM

You will need turning tools and a way to sharpen them also.A variable speed lathe is nice to have with a low rpm to turn larger projects…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1071 posts in 2138 days


#7 posted 12-27-2017 12:54 AM

I’ll echo the advice to go used. I got my King for $60. It’s no Oneway but it spins wood just fine. Left me a chunk of change to sink into tools. I don’t have a chuck yet but manage to get by without.

If you do go used just make sure it has a morse taper in the headstock. A lot of the old beavers floating around do not and that limits their capabilities to do little things like pens (ie moneymakers).

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View Bill7255's profile

Bill7255

427 posts in 2312 days


#8 posted 12-27-2017 12:56 AM


If she wants to do small lidded boxes and/or vases a chuck would be almost required.

I have to take exception to that… I ve turned zillions of lidded boxes and have never used or needed a chuck (see here: No-chuck lidded box ). I also prefer stepped pulleys as there is nothing to go bad on them other than the belt – changing speeds is not something you need to do frequently, and it can be done easily and quickly with one hand once you get the hang of it.

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

I have also turned lidded boxes without a chuck, however i prefer to use a chuck. I’ve had old iron. It is not for everyone. I had a Powermatic 90. First I had to deal with 3 phase, then 1000 rpm lowest speed. It also had other odd features. I have a new lathe now with digital readout, sliding headstock, reverse and more. I’m much happier turning. I have two mini lathes, Jet VS and Delta belt change. Both are good lathes, but again I prefer vs over the belt change. Never had a problem from either lathe that wasn’t maintenance.

-- Bill R

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

6768 posts in 2226 days


#9 posted 12-27-2017 01:26 AM

I had a Powermatic 90. First I had to deal with 3 phase, then 1000 rpm lowest speed.

If you want electronic variable speed, then three phase is absolutely the best way to go! Not only are the motors more efficient, simple and bullet proof (no start circuitry, capacitors, etc…), but you also get constant speed/torque regardless of load, over-torquing and a bunch of other features you won’t get otherwise. Plus, three phase machines are considerably cheaper on the used market because a lot of people are afraid of them for no real reason. I won’t buy a machine that uses proprietary electronics, but would absolutely take a three phase/VFD machine any day.

Cheers,
Brad

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

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

11817 posts in 2408 days


#10 posted 12-27-2017 01:56 AM



then three phase is absolutely the best way to go! Not only are the motors more efficient, simple and bullet proof (no start circuitry, capacitors, etc…), but you also get constant speed/torque regardless of load,

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

My understanding is there is significant loss of torque and power with a VFD. Upwards of 1/3. With a good controller, you do get constant torque and power from DC motors with no power loss.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

6768 posts in 2226 days


#11 posted 12-27-2017 02:00 AM

My understanding is there is significant loss of torque and power with a VFD. Upwards of 1/3. With a good controller, you do get constant torque and power from DC motors with no power loss.
- Rick_M

Negative. You are thinking of a static phase converter which does not really produce true three phase power, and reduces power by roughly 30%. With a VFD, you get full power and can actually overdrive the motor if you want. With a vectorless sensor type VFD, you get motor feedback so it provides constant torque and speed under load as well. Static phase converters should be avoided as they also are hard on the motor, running them unbalanced and causing them to run hotter than they should.

Also, you do not get constant torque/power from a DC motor… here is a typical power curve for a Perm. magnet DC motor (most common found on treadmills):

Cheers,
Brad

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

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2630 posts in 2910 days


#12 posted 12-27-2017 02:50 AM

Lots of good information here. Thanks guys! It’s hard to find used lathes where I live, but I agree, the price for a new lathe, plus turning tools etc. adds up pretty quick. It sounds like I’m needing to find something with at least 12” swing and preferably 1hp.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Andre's profile

Andre

1888 posts in 1833 days


#13 posted 12-27-2017 03:32 AM

King Industrial 12” x 18” Variable Speed Wood Lathe, on sale at KMS Tools right now, had mine for a year and great lathe for the price! Going to need lots of extra $ for accessories!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View jeff's profile

jeff

1081 posts in 3492 days


#14 posted 12-27-2017 09:25 AM

Definitely 1 hp or more.I have been looking for used in the Tucson area and there is not much.Turning tools and accessories do add up fast.

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2636 posts in 675 days


#15 posted 12-27-2017 12:02 PM

This might be a good starter lathe ...
 

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  https://ronaylor.wordpress.com

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