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Forum topic by CnB posted 368 days ago 1093 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CnB

9 posts in 368 days


368 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: lathe buying tips

I’m trying to get into woodturning, and I want to get the most for my money. I’m thinking of buying used, because then I should be able to get a nicer machine for the same or a little more money than I’d spend at Harbor Freight. I’m located in Northern NJ, but I’m not opposed to traveling. Does anybody know where to find a lathe, or have one they’re personally trying to get rid of?

I’d kind of like one where you turn the cranks to position the tool, but I’m not opposed to using a chisel and a tool rest.


26 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

957 posts in 737 days


#1 posted 368 days ago

A used Vega copying lathe would be nice if can find an individual selling one. Have seen them on used wood lathe sites go for $800 to $2,000.

Old iron non-copying lathes lot cheaper $125 to $1,000. Can always add a used Vega duplicator later.

Bunch of folks will tell you to check out Craig’s List. Have to go to TOOLS THREAD, and do SEARCH for wood lathes. Can also check other cities & states too!

http://newjersey.craigslist.org/search/tla?query=wood+lathe&zoomToPosting=&srchType=A&minAsk=&maxAsk=

-- Bill

View John's profile

John

181 posts in 2186 days


#2 posted 367 days ago

I have a friend who is selling her husband’s Delta 46-700 vari-speed lathe. She’s wants $350. The best I can figure is it was probably around $700 new. Light rust on the bed from non-use. She’s on Long Island. There is a photo posted on the classified page. You can send me a PM if this interests you. John

-- John, Long Island, NY

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

957 posts in 737 days


#3 posted 367 days ago

John, lady is asking too much for that Delta 46-700 wood lathe. I bought one of the bad models, paid to have reeves drive removed, new bearings after using several years sits in corner of my shop. Reliability of 46-700 lathes hit or miss people that remember them on turning message boards would recomend passing or offer no more than $50 to $75 for one.

Here is a much better lathe for the money:
http://newjersey.craigslist.org/tls/3906776585.html

These would be okay.
http://hudsonvalley.craigslist.org/tls/3937549076.html
http://hudsonvalley.craigslist.org/tls/3948061855.html

-- Bill

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CnB

9 posts in 368 days


#4 posted 367 days ago

Thanks for the tips! I sent a message to the person selling that first lathe you linked Wildwood. We’ll see how they respond.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2251 days


#5 posted 367 days ago

there was/is a delta 46-700 posted here in Boston for $200… just to get a perspective on sale value. those reeves drives however are known to be finicky.

you mentioned you want one with cranks that position the tool – are you sure you are not referring to metal lathes?

I can’t see a reason to want to get into wood turning and NOT be using a chisel and a tool rest… isn’t that what it’s all about? the freedom to create?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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CnB

9 posts in 368 days


#6 posted 367 days ago

I guess machinist’s lathes are the ones with the cranks. I figured that way there was nothing stopping me from adding a tool rest and using chisels but that I’d also gain the ability to do precision work

View REO's profile

REO

581 posts in 676 days


#7 posted 367 days ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PycgbO4tK0&feature=player_detailpage
you are not far off the mark with your thouhghts

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2251 days


#8 posted 367 days ago

I have a metal lathe, and unless you intend to use this for mass producing identical parts a wood lathe is far superior for the following reasons:

1. speeds – the wood lathe spindle is simpler, and designed to run at a higher RPM than a metal lathe giving better finishing cuts on wood (especially smaller spindles)
2. maintenance – a metal lathe requires much more maintenance as the carriage runs on the ways, and there are gears in the carriage and headstock – all require periodical lubing, cleaning, and TLC – wood dust and chips getting into any of those is not ideal to say the least, the metal lathe ways needs to be lubricated, and this can attract and catch wood dust and chips as well.
3. adaptive – the metal lathe has the carriage between headstock and tailstock meaning , that whatever toolrest you design to fit on it might have limitations on positioning because of that.

while you can turn wood on a metal lathe, I actually ended up opting to get a dedicated lathe for wood and leave the metal one for – err…. metal.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View CnB's profile

CnB

9 posts in 368 days


#9 posted 367 days ago

That video was mesmerizing, REO thanks for sending it.

PurpLev,
I’d really only be doing one-off parts, and given the problems with metal lathes for wood and the fact that they’re very expensive I’ll just get a regular wood lathe. Thank you for all the help.

View Dakkar's profile

Dakkar

297 posts in 530 days


#10 posted 367 days ago

Check around and see if you’ve got a local turner’s club. These guys can be helpful in choosing one and often know of guys upgrading and selling their old one or something. Whether or not, hooking up with a club will help minimize mistakes and accelerate the learning curve once you get started.

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

957 posts in 737 days


#11 posted 367 days ago

Turners wanting to do ornamental turning and threading on a wood lathe have bought compound slide table and tool holder. While have seen pictures of different set ups far above my abilities.

Old ornamental lathes very precise & expensive and without knowledge just mangle wood.

I have turned on an old Vega copy lathe and can turn out a lot of spindles pretty quick. Felt more like a machine operator than tuner.

Old iron US made wood lathe like this one;
http://newjersey.craigslist.org/tls/3906776585.html

Better value than many new Asian mini lathes.

This craftsman lathe made by Palmgren cannot find parts for.
http://longisland.craigslist.org/tls/3815400598.html

This lathe and it’s little brother Jet 1236 while superior to Delta 46-700, would not buy unless could get it for around $400. I do not want to pay to ship it back to service center for repairs. On the Delta can completely remove plastic headstock cover, on Jets, remove a small access cover.
http://newjersey.craigslist.org/tls/3956846582.html

Asian headstock reeves drive lathes great is they work, bummer if they don’t. Back when bought my Delta 46-700 had two service reps within driving distance neither one could fix a reeves drive.

Since most affordable lathes made in China today have no problem recommending a move the belt along pulleys to change speeds, or EVS lathes if buying new.

Because cost so low only reeves drive lathe recommend new is the Harbor Freight lathe selling for less than $300.

-- Bill

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11086 posts in 1708 days


#12 posted 367 days ago

CnB. If you are just getting into wood turning, get a lathe with electronic speed control. It is so much simpler and reacts very quickly. I have a HF mini lathe with that and I love that part of it. It is only 1/3 HP so it will constantly stall with a 4” piece. It is great for small turnings! and it is $80 when on sale with 20% off!! I think they make a bigger one with the electronic speed control but like all their stuff, be ready to repair or rebuild it’s weak points

I also have two Craftsman 15×38 lathes. One I bought used and I just bought a brand new one on E bay.They have the Reeves drive and I have had my share of problems with it. If one of the pulley halves sticks on the shaft, it will not open or close and and you lose power due to slippage. I have it down to a science on how to remove the pulley , polish the shaft and I’m back in business. My old one has motor problems and I’m looking for 1-2HP electronic speed controlled motor for it. Then I’ll sell this new one!!

I am not a fan of Jet anything so I would not recommend that brand.

Powermatic is the way to go but it is expensive. It depends what you want to spend and how much room you have to use it. Lots of considerations.
Look on Craigslist and E bay to get some ides of types and prices and try it out before you buy it if it is used!!

There are a ton of lathes for sale where you have to change the belt for speed changes. You may not mind that, but I change so often from turning to sanding and back that this would be a major inconvenience and a quick speed control is a very good feature to have!!

Take a look at that Craftsman Electronic speed controlled lathe in Long Island that Wildwood posted.It looks like a nice one!
Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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Jim Jakosh

11086 posts in 1708 days


#13 posted 367 days ago

REO, that was a nice video on that converted metal lathe to a tracer lathe. I wish they would have shown more of the lathe. I have an idea that he used a release so the compound follows the ways in the X direction and a pattern behind the lathe for the Y direction similar to the way a taper attachment works. It works very nice on a solid metal lathe. There are tracing attachments for a wood lathe as well . I have one and never used it.

I started wood turning on a Southbend metal lathe. I made a banjo and tool rest and used it for a while until I bought a wood lathe. I still use the metal lathe for wood when I need some real accurate and square cutting. I just change the back bushing in my Grizzly chuck to a 1 1/2-8 thread and screw the chuck and the part onto the Southbend and finish the job real accurately .

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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CnB

9 posts in 368 days


#14 posted 367 days ago

Thanks for all the info everyone! Still no response from the seller of the Rockwell. Keeping my eyes peeled on CL/eBay.

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CnB

9 posts in 368 days


#15 posted 366 days ago

Also, how should I approach tooling? I want to have good quality tools, so I won’t cheap out but then I can’t afford a bunch at once. Can I just buy one or two chisels at a time and build up slowly? Is there one “must-have” lathe chisel?

I am mostly interested in turning pens, shaving brushes, and briar pipes, though I will likely branch out more over time

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