LumberJocks

Who's got a mini-lathe

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Tedstor posted 1144 days ago 1472 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1234 days


1144 days ago

I’m considering the purchase of a benchtop lathe. As much as I’d like a full sized model, I simply don’t have the room. I figure a benchtop model might be a good way to learn a bit about turning, and there has been a few times recently that I could have used the ability to turn a few small objects. Tool handles and kids toys are what mainly comes to mind.
Harbor Freight sells a couple of small lathes that fit my workshop and budget. I’ve also seen a few craigslist ads for inexpensive mini lathes.

Are these even worth owning? Any particular brand/model to consider?


16 replies so far

View philip marcou's profile

philip marcou

262 posts in 1198 days


#1 posted 1144 days ago

Those red 8” ones are available here in NZ too-can’t recall under what name. You certainly could learn the basics with one. I just think that you would get better value for money with a slightly bigger bench top type like you see on Grizzly Machines-they come with more attachments etc as standard, plus a gear box and power feed(s).
If you think woodworking stuff is expensive be warned about metal working stuff….

View crank49's profile

crank49

3338 posts in 1572 days


#2 posted 1144 days ago

I have the 1/2 hp, 5 speed, 10” x 18” model #65345 from HFT. It’s virtually the same as the 10” x 18” machine from Penn State Industries. The Penn State extension bed, which I also have, fits the HFT just fine. I got the lathe when on sale for $194 and used a 20% off coupon from Wood magazine to get the lathe for $155.

I personally think the 10” machine is much better built than the 8” variable speed model. The 10” also has #2 Morse tapers on the head and tail stock; important for fitting accessories, like chucks, which can later be used on a bigger machine, if you upgrade.

The full size 2hp, 12” x 33” machine, model #34706, is very much worth looking at as well. I generally gets good reviews.

I have been happy with my choice of the benchtop. I wish I hadn’t bought the bed extension, because I plan to get a 2hp machine in the future. But, I got it used for $40 so no great loss if I never use it.

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

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15421 posts in 1467 days


#3 posted 1144 days ago

If you can go one size up to a midi it would be a lot more versatile for the long run. I know that money and room are always a problem. They are always a problem for me. You can get pretty creative when it comes to room. If you will look at picture #2 on my workshop page you will see how my midi ended up against the wall behind my table saw. It’s almost wasting no space there. To use it all I have to do is lower the casters on my table saw and pull the TS away from the wall. Anyways, I wish the the best of luck to you on whatever you do.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1294 days


#4 posted 1144 days ago

I have a JET one. No complaints. I expected to like turning a lot more than I actually do. It’s great to be able to start and finish a little project in one session. Don’t forget to budget in sharpening. I totally underestimated how much I’d spend on sharpening lathe tools.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1675 days


#5 posted 1144 days ago

Let me second what Bertha said. Turning is no fun if you do not have sharp cutting tools and it is hard to properly sharpen tools without the right equipment.

In my opinion, that means a grinder and a jig like the Wolverine jig. Ideally, you would have an 8” slow speed grinder, but you can get by with a 6” and a full speed grinder if your cutting tools are made of high speed steel.

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

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1294 days


#6 posted 1144 days ago

^agree with Rich. If I didn’t have a Tormek, I’d be buying the Wolverine jig.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12255 posts in 2698 days


#7 posted 1144 days ago

I have a Jet VS mini and it is a great lathe. I also have an 8” slow speed grinder and the wolverine jig. Works great.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2127 days


#8 posted 1144 days ago

I have a Jet mini and love it! Sharpening as the others have said is a must for your tools. I have a vari speed grinder with the Wolerine jig and it is fast and repeatable. The jet was an addition to a larger lathe that I have but find myself using the mini more than the large one. Its just so dand much fun to use, its VERY quite and non threatening.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Delta356's profile

Delta356

458 posts in 1455 days


#9 posted 1144 days ago

You should take a look at Delta’s New Midi lathe, and for the price you can’t beat it. It blew all the other brand name midis down the drain..

Here’s a link.. (The first link is for the 5 speed, and the second is for the VS)
http://www.deltamachinery.com/products/lathes/item/46-455?category_id=5

http://www.deltamachinery.com/products/lathes/item/46-460?category_id=5

Hope I could help..

Thanks, Michael Frey
Portland, OR

FREY WOODWORKING INC.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1294 days


#10 posted 1144 days ago

Another push for the JET is that you can use it benchtop for now while you save up for goodies. You can then buy the stand, stand extension, bed extension, chuck, etc. at a later date. Its like getting a new tool over and over again! :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1294 days


#11 posted 1144 days ago

Here’s mine without the extensions on. Takes up very little room. I built the tool holder out of canary. I built the light stands out of poplar and an Incra cam.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Gibbs's profile

Gibbs

22 posts in 930 days


#12 posted 835 days ago

Another option for sharp cutting tool is what I bought. Harrison Specialties sells wood lathe cutting tools with carbide inserts on the end. When one end gets dull just loosen the screw, rotate 1/4 turn and tighten back up. You’ll do a lot of lathe turning to wear down carbide though!. Price was real decent at $49.99. http://www.harrisonspecialties.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=HS&Category_Code=LatheAccessories is their website.

-- Vern in SW Michigan look me up at my website at taurus45acp.com sometime

View rance's profile

rance

4125 posts in 1761 days


#13 posted 835 days ago

Al, what’s that yaller thing on the headstock?

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

View Gibbs's profile

Gibbs

22 posts in 930 days


#14 posted 834 days ago

I think what you are seing something sitting on that bench “behind” the lathe. I think it is just an optical illusion like a lampost that sometimes appears to grow out of one’s head when you take a picture just right…. or wrong.

-- Vern in SW Michigan look me up at my website at taurus45acp.com sometime

View interpim's profile

interpim

1123 posts in 2059 days


#15 posted 834 days ago

Rance and Gibbs, I think that is the lamp holder with lamp that he mentions in his post. It looks like it is attached to the ways and goes back and up to provide light while turning.

As far as the original question goes, I have the Turncrafter Midi lathe from Penn State and it has been excellent in the years I have owned it… I have done a considerable amount of turning on it, and it is still chugging along. You can’t beat the price for the quality machine you get. If you intend on turning bowls or hollow vessels I would recommend you buy one of their chucks as well.

-- San Diego, CA

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase