interest in woodturning

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Forum topic by Zacklock17 posted 12-02-2013 02:17 PM 1095 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1664 days

12-02-2013 02:17 PM

hi i am a 15 year old that is looking to get into woodturning and getting a lathe. My only problem is i have no one else in my family that knows what to do or what to get so im turning to lumberjocks to help me out. I understand the diferent type of lathes like mini lathe to regular ones. I’m sure getting a mini is the best idea but the thing is i play baseball and the idea to possibly make my own bat just excites me like no other. So what i have come to lumber jocks for what should i get? mini or will it not matter even though im a beginer. how much money should i save it up. i just kind of need the whole scoop on what to do as a begginer.

7 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2065 days

#1 posted 12-02-2013 02:35 PM

Some of the Nova and Delta lathes can take extensions, others might too. If you search for that feature you can buy a midi lathe now and make it longer if you decide you want to turn a bat.

and welcome to LJ, second friendliest place on the internet.

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View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3675 days

#2 posted 12-02-2013 02:41 PM

Welcome aboard to LJ!

now that we have that out of the way – you can still turn baseball bats on a Mini-lathe – you just need to get a bed extension to make the lathe capacity in length – longer. a larger lathe would only give you extra width capacity which is good for turning large bowls and vessels, but for spindle work (like bats) a mini lathe would do just fine, and would be easier to store and use.

there are several good mini lathes out there, and the less expensive ones may need some tweaking to get them on par with the higher priced ones so just know that in advance. if this is in your capacity you can save a buck or 2, but if not you are probably better saving a bit more and getting one that will work better from the get go and avoid the extra hassle that you might encounter with a cheaper alternative.

Delta mini/midi lathes are great
Rikon/PSI (PenStateIndustrial) are good lathes
Harbor Freight largest mini-lathe seems to be getting good reviews – but as with all HF items you might get a lemon that needs some work, or replacement (they have a good replacement/return policy)

other than that – don’t forget to calculate extra costs for:
1. eye protection
2. work holding chucks/tailstocks/drill chuck
3. cutting tools – gauges, scrapers, drill bits- don’t cheap out on those. get something large that will work well
4. sharpening supplies to sharpen above cutting tools
5. sanding supplies and finishing for your projects

I’m sure more would fill in more info.

Enjoy the path – it’s a good one!

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

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2046 days

#3 posted 12-02-2013 03:48 PM

I just started turning myself and the best investment I mad was a full day class on lathe basics.

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3747 days

#4 posted 12-02-2013 06:38 PM

Often there are local clubs that do wood turning as a hobby where you can get hands on experience and try things out before buying.

Other options for lathes are the treadle lathe, i.e. Bob Easton blog, and spring pole lathes such as Roy Underhill and others make. I’ve been looking at this option because they are foot powered and can be disassembled and stored in small spaces.

Have fun! Welcome to LJ’s.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View MrFid's profile


876 posts in 1931 days

#5 posted 12-02-2013 07:01 PM

Welcome aboard! You have chosen a pricey starting point to woodworking, and it’s worth considering the extraneous costs before you buy a lathe. As PurpLev mentioned, the costs include things like turning tools, sharpening supplies, wood, eye protection, chucks (what holds the wood) etc. These will likely outweigh the cost of the lathe you decide to buy. For what it’s worth, I have a Jet JWL-1220 midi lathe with a bed extension. It works great! Look on craigslist too, that’s where I found mine for a bargain.
All that said, there are plenty of people on here who will help you out with ANY questions you have regarding turning, and it’s definitely worthwhile for you to get into if you have an interest. I loved it when I was in high school, and it’s one of the ways I was turned on to woodworking.
One thing I might suggest is either taking a class or better yet, investigating if your local high school has a lathe. Lots of schools have shops and I am sure if you got close to the teacher there they would let you do some work outside of school on your own (with supervision, probably). This is how I started and it’s a good way to get a feel for whether you like it enough to buy your own lathe.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View MrRon's profile


4795 posts in 3270 days

#6 posted 12-02-2013 07:11 PM

Regardless of which lathe you get, I strongly suggest you take a class in woodturning. I didn’t and found out the hard way the proper way to use lathe turning tools. Skew chisels are particularily hard to master. Everything I know about turning, I learned from U-tube. That is a good source of information.
You may have noticed the expensive lathes are very heavy. None of the lathes noted above are heavy. Weight is necessary to keep the lathe from vibrating and walking across the floor. It needs to be ridgid There are several ways to improve this and that is to add sandbags or concrete blocks to the base of the lathe. If it is a bench mounted lathe, make sure the bench is strong, heavy and ridgid.

View PaulDoug's profile


1550 posts in 1730 days

#7 posted 12-02-2013 07:20 PM

One thing I didn’t read mentioned here and is a necessity, epically starting at your young age is dust protection. Do some study on what is best for you, but please take it into account. As far as tools to go with your lathe, Harbor Freight does sell a good set of turning tools that are relatively inexpensive. I think around $40. They need sharpening more often than more expensive ones, but that is good practice for future more expensive ones. I started with them years ago and still use them often. I have the Delta midi lathe and am very happy with it although I keep reading that replacement parts may be in question. I have not found that the case so far. Also keep in mind that buying all the tools is not necessary nor advisable to start with, it happens over time as you get practice and gain knowledge of what you want.

I would start by watching Craigslist for lathes. And buy the best one you can afford. You usually get some tools with a used lathe.

And welcome to the forum. Always nice to see younger people interested in woodworking.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

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