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Question about deal on Craftsman lathe

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Forum topic by Ted78 posted 212 days ago 1139 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ted78

156 posts in 625 days


212 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: lathe turning question

Hey guys, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at wood turning for a while, but funds, as always, are tight. I saw an old Craftsman lathe on Craigslist here. Looks like an 80’s era thing with a tube for a bed. He only wants $25 for it which seems like a good deal and cheap way to try my hand at turning (I have ZERO experience) BUT it seems to be missing the tool rest and banjo. E-bay sellers want about $20 for each of those pieces, add shipping and….More than I’m gonna spend. So my question is are these two pieces something one could cobble together on the cheap or is this the kind of thing where my heck of deal turns into spending $200 on a $50 tool?

-- Ted


32 replies so far

View William's profile

William

8972 posts in 1468 days


#1 posted 212 days ago

After getting that kind I deal on the lathe, I wouldn’t fret much over spending that much that the banjo.
However, if buying a new rest, I’d opt for a better rest.
Penn state, PSI, (sorry, not at my computer to post links) sells some decent rests.

I’ve had the craftsman single tube lathe and several if it’s china made clones.
It’s not a bad starter lathe and you can do a lot of work on it.

As for spending several hundred on turning, I have bad news for you.
When I first got into turning, I was told that the lathe was the cheap part.
I never knew how true that was.
If you start liking turning, it is a slippery slope of a pit, you’ll eventually spend much more than several hundred.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View PaulDoug's profile

PaulDoug

529 posts in 329 days


#2 posted 212 days ago

I’m just going to throw this out there, I have never had one of the “tube” bed lathes, so take this for what it is worth. I’ve been around wood turning for a while and have not heard good things about the tube bed lathes. I’ve heard that the tubes flex and that causes problems with the turning. I’m just saying be cautious and do some research on them. I’d hate to read you had a bad experience and got discouraged. Turning is very fun and rewarding. And, yes the lathe is the cheapest part of the hobby, but you can move into it gradually.

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

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Bluepine38

2876 posts in 1711 days


#3 posted 212 days ago

William is speaking the absolute and minimal truth. You said you are a beginning turner, how experienced
are you at making things? The banjo and tool rest can be made for any lathe, but a certain amount of
skill and tools are needed. I needed to make some “things” for my lathe, so I acquired a cross slide rest
and some adapters, this is where the cost starts to escalate, or the time and handyman part are required
to make something without it being Rube Goldberg. It is a wonderful hobby and right now I have a few
rough bowls turned from about 10’ of spalted birch log that are drying. I do not know how they will turn
out, but I can always use firewood. Send a message to the seller and make sure the motor is included.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

1173 posts in 922 days


#4 posted 212 days ago

The lathe could also need new bearings as well. I’d look for a complete unit – how about the Sprunger on your CL? If you’re gonna spend money anyway on a rest and a base….

http://lincoln.craigslist.org/tls/4294676534.html

View bigogre's profile

bigogre

341 posts in 775 days


#5 posted 212 days ago

Don’t buy it. My first lathe was a craftsman tube lathe, and it was by far the most miserable piece of junk tool I have ever used. Harbor freight has new ones for cheap, and they have gotten great reviews.

Don’t buy it. I didn’t even grace mine with a trip to the scrap yard. Threw that sucker in the trash.

Don’t buy it. Anything that you get as an attachment will have to be retrofitted to this lathe, and won’t work when you upgrade.

Don’t buy it. I spent a lot of time reworking it, trying to get the centers to line up, and there is a little flat bar under the tube that is pop riveted on that will need replaced when you try to turn anything of decent size.

Oh, and one more thing, don’t buy it.

It would be better to take $25 and spend $8 on a premium steak, then take the 17 leftover dollars and start a fire to cook the steak on it.

-- Putting the "mental" in experimental since 1973

View Ted78's profile

Ted78

156 posts in 625 days


#6 posted 212 days ago

Think I may go ahead and buy it. I am fairly experienced at making ‘things’ I just have never had access to a lathe. dhazelton that Sprunger lathe looks nice, but I don’t have $200, and if I did there are a dozen people in line for it. I’m not going to spend money on a rest and base I don’t have money for those either. I was wondering if it was feasible to make those parts. Maybe someday I can just go spend money to buy a nice tool and enjoy it but that day it not here yet.

What I’m hearing here though is that this could be an aspect of woodworking I can’t afford. Where does the expense lie? turning tools? wood? I’ve been woodworking for a while now and I sure see the opportunity to spends lots of money on it I’ve managed to do it pretty cheaply so far utilizing salvaged wood, and second hand tools. Is there something unique to turning that makes it expensive?

Oh and Bluepine, I’ve got no problem with Rube Goldberg. Rednecked, cobbled together and jury-rigged are all good friends of mine.

-- Ted

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Nubsnstubs

114 posts in 356 days


#7 posted 212 days ago

I think bigogre should be rewarded for his comment. It’s the best advice I’ve seen a in a looong time…..... hehehehe….... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- jerry (in Tucson)

View William's profile

William

8972 posts in 1468 days


#8 posted 212 days ago

Ted, learning to turn is not really expensive at all. The problem is that once you get some practice at making some real pretty firewood, you’ll wish to start acquiring all the tools and accessories to make all sorts of things.
Presently, we won’t mention the cost of the lathe, but I have hundreds tied up in bowl turning tools an accessories. For pens, if I include all the kits I’ve bought to date, it easily goes over a thousand.
Now, before you jump to any conclusions that I have money, the pens I’ve made with all those kits just happens to be what has helped me finance all the other expenses.

Oh, and I am also dreaming up ways daily to pay for a better, and much more expensive, new lathe.

So turning itself, in my opinion, is not expensive at all. I got into turning on less than a hundred bucks. Almost immediately though, it started getting much more expensive, and fast.
Just a couple of weeks ago I ordered close to two hundred dollars worth of spindle gouges.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3861 posts in 1006 days


#9 posted 212 days ago

Tube lathes are not the most popular but for $20 I’d buy it for parts. I bought a Craftsman lathe (not tube) that the previous owners hated as much or more than bigogre hated his so I got it cheap. I took it apart and realized that someone had assembled it poorly, an hour and some small effort on my part and I had it spinning like a top.

Shopnotes designed a decent wood banjo/tool rest and actually a whole lathe if you want to build your own. Here is the tool rest.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Ted78's profile

Ted78

156 posts in 625 days


#10 posted 212 days ago

bigoger, That’s a pretty convincing argument. I had an 80’s Craftsman direct drive table saw that deserves a special place in hell right next to your lathe. The instruction manual for ripping a 2×4 should have read
1. locate vise grips
2. Attempt to get fence roughly parallel to blade
3. remove battery from smoke alarm
4. don hearing and eye protection (not for the ungodly loud saw and bits of carbide teeth that are going to get thrown at you, but for the much louder and visceral onslaught of curse words that are about to spew from your mouth.)
5. remove wood mangling wood hurlers. They are sometimes quite ironically called anti-kickback pawls.
6. Attempt to get fence roughly parallel to blade
7. remove wobbly piece of tin can (sometimes referred to as a splitter and strategically placed by the factory about 4 foot behind and about 1/8” to the right of the blade
8. call the USGS and let them know their seismograph readings they about to read are not tectonic plates shifting deep within the earth’s crust, just vibration from your saw.
9. decide a zero tolerance throat plate might be a good idea, but realize bizarre design of aluminum table makes anything but the stock throat plate near impossible to fit.
10. Attempt to get fence roughly parallel to blade
11. Begin feeding stock through and wonder if you installed blade backwards as your scroll saw cuts faster
12. determine blade is not in backwards but install a brand new sharp one just in case
13. continue feeding stock through before realizing visibility in shop has been reduced to about 2 foot.
14. Open windows to clear out smoke.
15. Use butter knife to finish ripping board and marvel at it’s speed, efficiency.

-- Ted

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Ted78

156 posts in 625 days


#11 posted 212 days ago

Rick M. That’s exactly what i need, thanks for the post.

-- Ted

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

988 posts in 760 days


#12 posted 212 days ago

Is this the one? Do not waste your time or money.

http://lincoln.craigslist.org/tls/4265810650.html

Would rather see you save some money and make an offer on a lathe that looks like this one.

http://lincoln.craigslist.org/tls/4294676534.html

Definitely stay away from junk like this:
http://omaha.craigslist.org/tls/4273543250.html

-- Bill

View William's profile

William

8972 posts in 1468 days


#13 posted 212 days ago

Rick, what issue of shop notes is that?
I may be interested in building the whole lathe.
I have two lathes (one is the ridgid version of the single tube) but I love building my own tools.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1130 posts in 1388 days


#14 posted 212 days ago

I had one of them Craftsman tube thingee lathes, what a bunch of crap!

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View ART LACKEY's profile

ART LACKEY

105 posts in 2005 days


#15 posted 212 days ago

I agree with DON’T BUY IT ! JUNK! JUNK! JUNK! It’s like buying a cheep guitar to learn on. it looks bad,sounds bad,tunes bad,and you loose interest fast. Get something made out of cast iron. Even if you have to put bearings in it you will be ahead of the game.

-- IF YOU GIVE A MAN A FISH,YOU FEED HIM FOR A DAY,BUT IF YOU TEACH HIM HOW TO FISH---HE'LL SIT IN A BOAT AND DRINK BEER ALL DAY!

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