An easy lathe problem that I need some help with.

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Forum topic by CantBurn posted 12-25-2011 09:46 AM 1996 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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69 posts in 3030 days

12-25-2011 09:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question lathe turning

I have been given the green light for a Xmas lathe. Yay. Now, this is my first one. I have used them before, in life and high school woodshop, so I am familiar with using them. But, I have a few questions. If I am working with a budget and this is my first one, what should I be looking at? I see the beds, and I always think “Well, Mini’s are too small.” (I guess I am now an expert, ha). But do I need a 40 right off the bat? Then Max diameter. Again, does a Mini work? I know some of this is about what will I be making. Unfortunately, I don’t know, I don’t have any set plans. I have seen some reviews, on here, for this one. Would it be a decent enough starter for me?

This one, not the best reviews on HF

good reviews on sears

Anyway, I could post links all night, but I won’t get any help if I don’t submit this. Thank you in advance.

-- Chris-Woodstock, Illinois

10 replies so far

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3254 days

#1 posted 12-25-2011 10:08 AM

I have the HF 34706. A much better lathe than the one you posted which is ok for playing around. I got mine on sale with a 20% off coupon (they’re everywhere) for $189.00. It’s practically the same as the Jet-I don’t know the number, but they’re the same. All the reviewes I read were by shop teachers and older turners who should know and they gave it high marks. Just go to NAPA or other auto partsw store and get a good belt, maintain it and use ir properly, and it will serve you fine.

I don’t do a lot of turning, but have had absolutely no complaints. The HF high speed tool set is another bargain. Merry Christmas.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View CantBurn's profile


69 posts in 3030 days

#2 posted 12-25-2011 10:36 AM

I had looked at that one, I appreciate the response. As far as the coupon code goes, I have actually googled to try to find a 20% off, and I haven’t been able to find one. Do you know of one?

-- Chris-Woodstock, Illinois

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3312 days

#3 posted 12-25-2011 11:23 AM

Chris, am guessing that your budget is on the conservative side. The HF lathe that Steve pointed out (34706) has generally good reviews. Whether you go mini, midi, or full size, try and get one that is cast iron. Many of the sub-par lathes have steel tube bodies rather than iron. The problem with this is weight and stability. lightweight lathes will produce a great deal of vibration when turning an off balance piece and this becomes a royal headache when it comes to producing a properly rounded piece. I had the HF model with steel tubes and while I did learn to weigh it down and earned my chops on it, I didn’t really enjoy turning until I purchased a used lathe that was cast.

Good luck with the purchase and hope you enjoy,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3278 days

#4 posted 12-25-2011 04:18 PM

I don’t want to sound like a grinch, but I want to remind you of something that you should consider, especially if your budget is a little tight.

Buying the lathe is just the beginning when you start turning. You need cutting tools, faceplates, chucks, etc. You do not need the real expensive stuff but you also should avoid the read cheap stuff.

Also – Sharpness is very important in turning and you need to have a good method to sharpen.

Before you buy a lathe, I only suggest that you think about these other expenses.

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

View CantBurn's profile


69 posts in 3030 days

#5 posted 12-25-2011 05:59 PM

Thanks for the heads up David.
Yes, Rich, lol, that is usually the case with most of the tools of this moneypit hobby. You get a new table saw, and then you spend more on blades and dado sets. But it is a good reminder of the added costs.

-- Chris-Woodstock, Illinois

View Mike's profile


406 posts in 2891 days

#6 posted 12-25-2011 06:17 PM

I love to turn, but the lathe is really the tool that keeps on giving, I mean, the tool that you keep giving money to…

Still love the damn thing.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3289 days

#7 posted 12-25-2011 07:04 PM

I got lucky and purchased an Old Delta lathe that was similar to the one I learned on in high school in 1952.
It was in good shape and came with several accessories such as outboard faceplates and sanding discs and
table. It is heavy enough that it has no vibration problems and cost less that the new ones that are
comparable to it. If you do not get lucky on Craig’s List, than that HF 34706 does sound like a good machine.
One feature that I really like is the pivoting headstock, this eliminates leaning over the lathe while turning
the inside of bowls and other objects. Whatever you choose, I hope you have lots of fun with your machine.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3254 days

#8 posted 12-25-2011 10:19 PM


They’re in every Wood magazine, AMERICAN wOODWORKER, most major Sunday papers, Smithsonian Magazine, etc ad infinitum. If you go to their web site and sign up for e-mail alerts, you’ll get about one a week. Good luck. Whatever you get, learn how to use it, how to sharpen it, and be careful. Like any tool, itcan scare you or hurt you if you rush it or push it. There’s a little voice in your head that says,”Don’t do that, dummie!” Listen, heed, abd you’ll be fine. Happy and safe hollidays.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5128 posts in 4164 days

#9 posted 12-26-2011 12:19 AM

I bought a Grizzly 1067Z in 2005. I liked the availability of accessories and parts. It has not failed my needs. This model is no longer available, but all the associated stuff is still there.


View CantBurn's profile


69 posts in 3030 days

#10 posted 12-26-2011 11:21 AM

More good responses, thank you guys. Fussy, I have signed up at HF, I just haven’t gotten an email with a code yet.

-- Chris-Woodstock, Illinois

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