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Forum topic by LeChuck posted 12-15-2012 04:15 PM 856 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LeChuck

418 posts in 1751 days


12-15-2012 04:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe

Hi folks,

There has been some talk about lathes and I’ve gone through the recent thread about the Rikon mini lathe. I would like to formulate my question a bit differently.

I am thinking of buying the small benchtop HF lathe (8×12 VS). I am not “getting into” turning, as turning bowls and such things are not my interest, but I’d like a lathe for small things like knobs, eventually toy parts, perhaps tool handles and small mallets, fun little things. Not very likely that I would do anything bigger.

Knowing that, my questions would be, in its default configuration (meaning not adding tons of attachments, and of course aside from a set of turning tools), what can I do with that small lathe and what can’t I do without adding extra things? I want to assess what the minimal investment would be for my needs.

Thanks for your opinions!

David

-- David - Tucson, AZ


22 replies so far

View lew's profile

lew

10092 posts in 2444 days


#1 posted 12-15-2012 04:30 PM

Actually, there is no such thing as not “getting into” turning. Once you buy a lathe, it’s too late. You’re over the cliff and there’s no turning back.

To answer your question, however, a basic setup is primarily designed for “spindle” turning aka- turning between centers. For knobs and toy parts, you will probably want to add a 4 jaw head stock chuck and a Jacobs chuck. Both will facilitate making pieces other than long skinny things. You can probably design/make a head stock chuck that will work- plenty of examples here and on the Internet.

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

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LeChuck

418 posts in 1751 days


#2 posted 12-15-2012 04:37 PM

Trust me, that won’t be the case with me :)

That said, your answer is what I was looking for, meaning for my needs, just the lathe and turning tools won’t be enough.

Thanks!

-- David - Tucson, AZ

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

1613 posts in 923 days


#3 posted 12-15-2012 04:42 PM

On small lathes vibration can be an issue, so ballast (accessory) is a good investment that does not come with the lathe. The craftsmanship of the lathe mfr has a lot to do with vibration, so you may need to tune it up a bit also. Secure it to a massive top and in a fit of overkill add some ballast (sand bags, cement blocks etc) to the base.
Yep, you’re over the cliff and your wallet is your only parachute! You should get a LOT of good advice, so I was trying to think of something most might not.
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1378 posts in 872 days


#4 posted 12-15-2012 04:54 PM

Hey Ghost Pirate. I’ve got that one, and it’s actually a great small lathe. It’s a clone of the JET, and is compatible with the other JET clone lathes with similar specs (PSI, Rockler, etc.).

With the basic accessories that come with the lathe + a set of turning tools (and something to sharpen them, right?), you CAN do spindle turning (as lew points out) and small bowls with the face plate.

For the face plate, you need to make a sacrificial block to which you attach your bowl blank with glue or double sided tape.

This got tiresome, so I bought a 4 jaw chuck from PSI. I’ve subsequently also bought a better live center for the tailstock (the 60 degree cone one), a drill chuck, and a set of drive centers. Of these, the 4 jaw chuck has been the most useful, followed by the drill chuck, then cone live center.

I also made a little organizer for the tools that attaches to the back of the lathe.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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LeChuck

418 posts in 1751 days


#5 posted 12-15-2012 04:55 PM

Thanks Dan. I already read a lot of good advice from the other thread, but I wanted to hear something a bit closer to my needs and to really know what would be needed as a minimum.

OK, so now knowing that a 4 jaw head chuck and eventually a jacobs chuck would be needed (that said, I mentioned pen turning as a curiosity, but I might actually never do one and the small knobs and toy parts are likely to be the only things I’ll use the lathe for), would that particular lathe still be the cheapest way to my goals, or because it is a #1MT instead of #2, would that make those same accessories more expensive and hard to find, and is there any money or headache to be saved in the short term by going for their larger lathe? I don’t mean the midi lathe, but their big one. Space is a concern though, and it seems silly to have something so big.

-- David - Tucson, AZ

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LeChuck

418 posts in 1751 days


#6 posted 12-15-2012 04:58 PM

Thanks shampeon, but would you say your use of it and accessories purchase was mostly motivated by bowl turning?

-- David - Tucson, AZ

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

1613 posts in 923 days


#7 posted 12-15-2012 05:03 PM

Most small lathes use #1 morse, so as long as you are aware of what you have, then you shouldn’t have trouble getting what you need. Agreed, #2 MT is much more common, but probably not worth going to the bigger size in your case.
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

7146 posts in 1372 days


#8 posted 12-15-2012 05:08 PM

This is about all i use for turning knobs for my handplanes…

I just turn a cylinder first with a few lathe tools, using the lathe’s tool rest.

Along with the rare chisel handles. My “Face Plate” that I have used? Came from the plumbing section at BORG. Called a floor flange. I got the size the will screw onto the lathe. Ranit at the slowest speed i had, and used a file to true it up. Flange has four holes to screw items in place.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

5084 posts in 1266 days


#9 posted 12-15-2012 05:11 PM

View LeChuck's profile

LeChuck

418 posts in 1751 days


#10 posted 12-15-2012 05:16 PM

Thanks. It seems that the small lathe would fit my needs and I could start using it, turning a bigger cylinder and separating, then get a couple attachments to make things easier.

Thanks waho6o9, I keep an eye on the classifieds, but as the HF small lathe is on sale, it seems like the right buy at the moment. The rest of my budget should be going to a spindle sander…

-- David - Tucson, AZ

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waho6o9

5084 posts in 1266 days


#11 posted 12-15-2012 05:21 PM

If you’re a member of the “inside track club” a small HF lathe
is 90.00 plus tax.

Sure is tempting. Good call on a spindle sander LeChuck.

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1378 posts in 872 days


#12 posted 12-15-2012 05:22 PM

Dan, the HF Jet clone uses #2 MT.

LeChuck: the 4 jaw is much better for bowl turning, but is useful for other things too. I use it to grip the insides of round knobs when I’m sanding and refinishing them.

The Jacob’s chuck is pretty essential for, e.g. making knobs and tool handles. The cone live center is just a better live center than the one that the lathe comes with.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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shampeon

1378 posts in 872 days


#13 posted 12-15-2012 05:24 PM

Also, the bed extension sold by PSI or Rockler fits this model, so if you find yourself needing some extra length you can add one.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1687 days


#14 posted 12-15-2012 05:55 PM

Minimum is the lathe and the little faceplate, spur center and a center for the tailstock that it comes with. A live center is much nicer (with bearings). Add a set of turning tools. They don’t have to be that fancy. Three tools will do 95% of everything: A gouge, a skew, and a parting tool. Maybe a scraper but I don’t really like them. More tools will just be variations of these. Don’t jump in and get the biggest gouge. A smaller one is better if you don’t have a lot. The size of the gouge is the smallest inside radius you can turn (easily).

What you need after that to increase capabilities:

Next is the chuck for the tailstock. It adds the ability to bore through things on center.

Then something to hold pieces to the headstock. A chuck is one thing. Spiders or mandrels can be used for smaller stuff. You can also use the faceplate for many things with care.

Next thing that will increase the range of things you can do is a steadyrest that allows you to hold things that are longer than the chuck can hold on it’s own and still use the tailstock for drilling.

Many accessories for the lathe are pretty easy to make yourself.

Beyond that, there are lots of goodies you can get but are not mandatory.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

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LeChuck

418 posts in 1751 days


#15 posted 12-15-2012 08:39 PM

Thank ye mateys for yer help :)

That helped me make a decision on this and I bought the small HF lathe and their set of tools with the dark handles. I had a 20% off the whole purchase coupon.

-- David - Tucson, AZ

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