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Forum topic by Greg In Maryland posted 08-28-2011 06:32 PM 4376 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Greg In Maryland

553 posts in 3233 days

08-28-2011 06:32 PM


I am thinking about dipping my toes into turning and thought that this would be a good starter lathe. It is a Shop Fox W1704 and a link on amazon is here: link

Does anyone have this lathe or similar clone? Any thoughts? Will this this be a mess or something that for the price, under $200, something that get me started.



8 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3883 days

#1 posted 08-28-2011 06:46 PM

Should be fine within its capacity. Many lathes can do good work
spindle turning. Turning is a very user-skill oriented thing.

For turning large and unbalanced work you need a lathe with
a lot of mass – and the art turners who specialize in large art
pieces to sell in high-end venues have basically driven the market
for large lathes.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4453 days

#2 posted 08-28-2011 06:58 PM

This looks like a perfectly good lathe for small projects. I have a similar one from Rockler and have been satisfied. Keep in mind that the lathe is the least of your expenses. You’ll very soon find out you want a good check, some decent turning tools, and various other accessories. Prepare to spend another $500 in no time at all.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2910 days

#3 posted 08-29-2011 08:11 PM

Yes you still have to have cutting tools and sharpening tools and, and, and. Never ends as in many other areas LOL. I have found that everyone that has determined to become a turner has committed to become a good sharpener also.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3206 days

#4 posted 08-29-2011 08:54 PM

Very similar to the HF 10” x 18” 5 speed 1/2 hp which sells for about the same money except when it’s on special sale. I have the HF version and like it. My next machine will be a big floor model, but this is good for starting, learning what will break my arm if it was on a big machine, without actually breaking anything.

View TheDane's profile


5574 posts in 3898 days

#5 posted 08-29-2011 09:33 PM

I toyed with the idea of a lathe like this one … after a lot of deliberation, I settled on the Delta 46-460. It was a lot more than I wanted to spend, but may in fact turn out to be the only lathe I will ever own. I’m contemplating buying the extension bed for it, which would give me 42” between centers.

I got started turning in a general woodworking class at a local technical college. That gave me a chance to try my hand at it before I invested a dime (over and above tuition). I didn’t buy my lathe until I was part way thru a woodturning class and had attended a bunch of seminars/demos sponsored by our local turning club, and had pretty much figured out what I wanted.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4258 posts in 2796 days

#6 posted 08-29-2011 11:18 PM

Greg – It a nice small 1/3 hp mini lathe. You can not make to many things with it because it will stall the motor and the general height is not to high to turn. You measure this by the lathe bed to the center of the head stock then double it. So lets say it measures 4” to the bed, then you have a 8” swing like a 8” bowl, however it would never turn a 8” bowl because the hp is to small.
I also have the Delta 46-460 and it is a wonderful lathe it has 1hp with reverse and the belts change in the front and it also has variable speed.
Once you get started turning you will want a bigger lathe very soon (Tell your wife sorry). So just buy a nice one now. However, now that I see that one, I think it would be a great lathe for the Vets I help train to turn pens. I will save the link.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

553 posts in 3233 days

#7 posted 08-29-2011 11:57 PM

Thanks for all the responses.

I am unfortunately quite aware of the endless purchases that accompany turning. I am not really looking to become a proficient and artistic turner as so many are, but rather use it as a method to accomplish certain activities. I want turn knobs for my hand plane restorations, handles for chisels and other tools, pulls and knobs for boxes and furniture, and the occasional spindle. I know that I am not interested in diving into pens, bowls, plates and other vessels, though I am sure I’ll do it just to try.

So with this in mind, can anyone guide me in where I should get started with tool purchases? Obviously, chisels are at the top of the list. What’s next after this? I have measuring and sharpening well covered, so that isn’t an issue.



View TheDane's profile


5574 posts in 3898 days

#8 posted 08-30-2011 12:29 AM

Penn State Industries … ... has a pretty good selection of affordable tools.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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