Wanting to start turning

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Forum topic by Gixxerjoe04 posted 05-13-2014 12:02 AM 1461 views 1 time favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Gixxerjoe04's profile


850 posts in 1602 days

05-13-2014 12:02 AM

So I’ve been wanting to get into turning and figure there’s no time than the present. Don’t know much about it except what I’ve read and watched videos, never actually done it though. Think I might take a class for beginners at my local woodcraft to get started since I don’t know any woodworkers. Anyways, been looking to buy a lathe, a cheap one to start out, been checking Craigslist for awhile and some stuff pops up everyone and then, mostly older craftsman for around $100 but don’t look in the best of condition. Came across a discontinued grizzly today model number g8691, looks pretty clean and is $100 with tools for turning, anyone know anything about that particular model, only 1/2 hp. Wanting to do eventually bowls mainly and other smaller type things and didn’t know if 1/2 is weak or what. Also thought about buying one of the harbor freight models, seen some decent reviews from them and they’re relatively cheap. What’s your alls opinion about any of those type lathes, do all lathes take chucks for bowls or do I need to look for specific things when looking at lathes. I’m totally new to it so I will eventually have a lot more questions down the road.

39 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


11792 posts in 2406 days

#1 posted 05-13-2014 02:45 AM

My lathe came with a 1/3hp and I could stop it with my hand, even sanding would slow it down. I bumped the motor to a 1hp and it’s good to go. Don’t know anything about that Grizzly but it looks kinda flimsy, might be alright for $100 since you’d spend more than that on decent tools. You could always sell it later when you decide to upgrade.

-- Rick M,

View hairy's profile


2718 posts in 3558 days

#2 posted 05-13-2014 11:04 AM

Read this:

Is this the one you are referring to?

You can get the manual and all info @ grizzly.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Gixxerjoe04's profile


850 posts in 1602 days

#3 posted 05-13-2014 11:13 AM

Yea that’s the one, I couldn’t really find much info on it since it’s discontinued and an older model I guess

View Gixxerjoe04's profile


850 posts in 1602 days

#4 posted 05-13-2014 03:44 PM

Of course I called my local woodcraft to sign up for a beginners turning class because they usually had them frequently, of course now they don’t have any on their schedule so it’ll be probably like a month until the next one. Guess I have some more time to keep looking for a deal.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4244 days

#5 posted 05-13-2014 03:50 PM

When I decided to give turning a try, I bought Rockler’s small 1/2 hp lathe on sale. It’s not the most powerful thing in the world, but it will definitely get the job done for someone who wants to learn and doesn’t want to invest a ton of money.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4244 days

#6 posted 05-13-2014 03:53 PM

I think taking a class is a great idea, but not an absolute necessity to get started. There are no classes offered in my neck of the woods, so I just watched some videos and went for it.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Gixxerjoe04's profile


850 posts in 1602 days

#7 posted 05-13-2014 04:15 PM

So far I’ve just learned from YouTube videos and practicing but figured a class would help with it. Turning seems like it may be a little more difficult to start out learning than other woodworking. But who knows, if I find a good deal on a lathe and get it I’m sure I’ll try it out if I haven’t had a class or anything.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#8 posted 05-13-2014 04:22 PM

The trickier things about turning in my experience are getting
clean surfaces off the tool so you don’t have to sand an
awful lot, and avoiding gouging the work. I have
a book on turning and it’s got a lot of practical diagrams
and descriptions of tool “presentation” to the work, which
is the angle you hold the tool at to get an optimal cut.

The skew chisel in particular is a known menace to turnings,
but it’s also an essential tool to learn to use well because
it saves so much sanding time and helps refine shapes
in a particular way.

I wouldn’t overthink the lathe. Buy something modest
(preferably used) and focus on learning to turn spindles
adequately. While you’re at that you can collect
fresh-cut firewood, cut out bowl blanks and set them
aside to dry.

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2987 days

#9 posted 05-13-2014 04:28 PM

1. Older Craftsman products might not have parts available after a few years.
2. Get the best you can afford. There are a lot of good lathes on the market.
3. Good idea to take lessons.
4. Find a local club at
5. You will have a lot more in tools and accessories than the lathe itself.

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 2789 days

#10 posted 05-13-2014 05:27 PM

You can get a lot of helpful turning instructions by going to: Robo Hippy, John Lucas, and Ernie Conover, to name a few, on youtube.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

View TheDane's profile


5441 posts in 3689 days

#11 posted 05-13-2014 05:48 PM

Just is case you haven’t found found Captain Eddie yet …

His YouTube videos cover and wide range of how-to topics, and his Wednesday and Saturday UStream live shows are interactive … he not only turns a project but takes questions via email and social stream.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View harveysoriginals's profile


107 posts in 1512 days

#12 posted 05-13-2014 06:06 PM

I am not a great turner but one thing for sure, the time I have spent with someone actually teaching me was well spent! I messed around with the lathe for about a year but I learned a LOT in that first couple of hours and MUCH more than I ever did with the videos! Maybe that’s just me. One of the biggest things I learned is that other woodworkers are generous with their time and advice and love helping newbies like me out! They are great folks and are fun to meet and talk to also!
If there are any turning groups in your area, be sure to hook up with them and attend a meeting! You might be surprised how much you learn!

-- The most dangerous tool in my shop is the one I am currently using! Harvey

View Wildwood's profile


2322 posts in 2160 days

#13 posted 05-13-2014 06:56 PM

Looking for a “deal,” might end up costing you more money in the long run. How handy are you at fixing an old lathe?

Sit down and figure out what it is you want to turn, your budget and compromise from there.

You can turn a lot of small things on a mini lathe except for big things. You can turn big and small things on a big lathe.

Besides a lathe, do you need bowl or spindle turning tools. Buying only tools you need to turn will allow you to buy better quality tools. While can certainly use your bowl gouge for spindle turning, would not want to use your roughing gouge on a bowl.

Four jaw chuck to hold bowl blanks another thing folks think they need right away.

You will need a way to sharpen those tools either belt sander or bench grinder the most economical.

Safety gear like face shield & dust mask a must.

Both lathes you mention more suited for spindle turning than bowl turning. Take your time and come up to speed on what need and can afford.

Good luck!

-- Bill

View Gixxerjoe04's profile


850 posts in 1602 days

#14 posted 05-13-2014 11:48 PM

Thanks for all the info, got safety mask covered and that’s about it haha. I was thinking about getting a mini but they all seem to be 1/2hp and it seems that’d be too weak? As far as tools go, i mainly want to do bowls and vases so would lean towards those tools. Was looking at the tools and there seems to be a lot to choose from, the Easy Wood Tools looks awesome with the price tag to make me cry haha. I have a belt sander so could sharpen them on there if i can figure it out. Looked on the website and found there’s a woodturners group that meets at woodcraft once a month here. Might email them and ask for more info about it. There’s a few walnut trees and a cherry tree people want cut down and my friend needs firewood so might help him with that and get some wood for later on down the road for when i know what I’m doing.

View TheDane's profile


5441 posts in 3689 days

#15 posted 05-14-2014 01:52 AM

Easy Wood Tools have carbide inserts and are not sharpenable. A lot of people prefer the carbide tools, but my preference is HSS (high speed steel). IMHO you get a cleaner cut with HSS tools.

As for the lathe and accesories, Wildwood (Bill) offered some excellent advice. I have a Delta Midi, which can handle up to a 12” bowl. The 1hp motor has, so far, been enough to handle anything I have tried to turn but I see a day coming when I’ll want to go to bigger lathe.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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