Lathe purchasing help

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by Bieser posted 06-02-2014 02:35 AM 1099 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Bieser's profile


176 posts in 2178 days

06-02-2014 02:35 AM

I am in the market to add a lathe to my shop. I bought one off craigslist and have decided that it needs more work than I want to put into it. So I have decided to sell this lathe and buy a new one. I have not turned very much. I used one a long time ago in woodshop and my interests are in other parts of woodworking. I do however want to get a lathe for the shop for spindles, furniture components and maybe get into small wood turning things such as duck calls. I want to buy a good quality lathe for the shop but because I don’t have a lot of experience in this I am asking advice on what kind you guys think I should look at. I would probably be willing to spend up to 1500 bucks on one but if I could find one that will do everything I need, for less I am always all ears. I would attempt to buy another on craigslist I just need to have a better idea in what I want/need in a lathe. I have also ruled out any of the mini or bench top lathes.

Thanks Brandon

9 replies so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19656 posts in 2818 days

#1 posted 06-02-2014 03:24 AM

I’m new to turning, so my experience is limited.

The lathe is the “inexpensive” part to turning.
The turning tools, chucks and accessories can quickly surpass the purchase price of the lathe.

Take a good hard look at what it is you want to turn….
then find out what size lathe and accessories will make that possible.
Try to get a lathe & accessories that will grow with you as your skills grow.

There are many similarities to all lathes, but there are also differences… #1 Morse taper or #2 Morse taper…
Spindle thread…
Manual speed adjustment VS Reeves Drive VS Digital Variable Speed…
Then there is reverse speed….

You must also learn to sharpen your turning tools…
That means you need a sharpening system!!!

I’m sure others will chime in with more sage advice….

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Bieser's profile


176 posts in 2178 days

#2 posted 06-02-2014 03:28 AM

Thanks for the info DIY. My biggest concern is not getting a lathe I can grow in to. I have sharpening systems already and I have looked in to all the accessories and see that they are pricey, however I feel I can get those as time goes on. I just do not want to find out I should have got a different lathe as time goes on. It seems like lots of guys like the Nova lathes and they are on sale now that might be a good option.

View MNgary's profile


303 posts in 2560 days

#3 posted 06-02-2014 04:44 AM

I use my lathe primarily for furniture decorations, but also for fun projects like wine stoppers and Christmas tree decorations. However, because furniture turnings require greater lengths than a pen or wine stopper, I purchased Jet’s 1236. Haven’t found a machine that would do better for the price – under $800.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 1738 days

#4 posted 06-02-2014 05:27 AM

I have had 3 Jet lathes, each on progressively bigger to accommodated my expanding needs. For the money, they are a good deal. Service and parts for Jets is very good. Mine have all served me well and when I went to buy a bigger one, I found the old one could be sold for nearly what I paid for it new. Those things are really in demand and sell fast for about any price you ask. Get as big as you can afford and grow into it.

That’s my 2 cents worth and you get change back.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View Woodknack's profile


12369 posts in 2523 days

#5 posted 06-02-2014 05:41 AM

$1500 is a nice budget. My advice … start by budgeting for chucks and tools then whatever $$ is left, buy the Jet or Delta lathe big enough to turn what you want to make and is within your budget.

A chuck + extra jaws = $200 – $250
Turning tools = $150 – $300 for a starter set of HSS. You can buy cheaper but since you have the budget, might as well buy a good quality.

Budget-wise you might have enough left over to put you in the Jet 1442 price range which is a full size. If you drop to a midi I would consider the Delta 12” with an extension. Or look around for a used lathe, more bang for the buck.

-- Rick M,

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 3104 days

#6 posted 06-02-2014 04:28 PM

Go to for additional advice. Keep in mind that many lathes are made in the same factory with changes only in the cosmetics.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3729 days

#7 posted 06-02-2014 06:41 PM

I have three woodturning lathes,
First a smalle delta which I use purely as a pen lathe .
Then smaller spindle/bowl lathe about eighteen inches between centres and a bowl size of between twenty two and outboard twenty six inches dedicated bowl lathe made viceroy by which is three phase.
Then a very large newer very modern lathe,which is about six feet between centres designed originally for copy turning but now dedicated for spindles bowls,without all the cutter heads gear etc.

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View TheDane's profile


5523 posts in 3806 days

#8 posted 06-02-2014 07:13 PM

Brandon—Rick M. offers some excellent advice. Consider the Delta 46-460 midi lathe. If all you plan on doing is spindles and smaller stuff like duck calls it should be all/more you need. You can find them new for around $700, and sometimes used in the $500 range.

I bought a Delta 46-460 with the bed extension more than 3 years ago … check out my projects ( ) for the stuff I have turned on it.

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

View Wildwood's profile


2423 posts in 2278 days

#9 posted 06-02-2014 08:52 PM

If buy today Jet 1221 on sale that ends today!

-- Bill

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics