Trying to pick a lathe

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Forum topic by WaterMonkey posted 02-25-2009 06:35 PM 909 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 3649 days

02-25-2009 06:35 PM

I am interested in getting into turning, more specifically turning vases. I have never turned before. My woodworking experience had been mostly doing handcarving. I have been intrigue by some of the beautiful vases I have seen on LJ and now I would like to look into turning.

The problem is I do not know where to start. Before I jump into turning I wanted to get an idea of equipment costs. Unfortunately, I know nothing about lathes so I don’t know what size lathe I would need, whether or not a mini lathe would be acceptable, and what other equipment is needed. I have seen lathes with laser guides and I don’t know if that is required (to carve the inside of a vase).

So any info would be appreciated.

2 replies so far

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3508 days

#1 posted 02-25-2009 08:26 PM

I’d start with some bowl classes at your local Woodcraft or Rockler, before trying to tackle something like a hollow vessal. I’ve been turning, on and off, for several years now and have yet to attempt a vase.

The size of the piece is going to determine the size of the lathe. Larger stuff will need at least a 1 3/4 to 2 horsepower motor. The strongest mini/midi lathe I’ve found only has a 3/4 HP motor and you’ll be stalling that constantly with a larger piece. However, the Nova DVR XP is really good, sells at Woodcraft for $2200. Also the Jet JWL-1642EVS is a good lathe (1 1/2 HP for $1850 at Woodcraft) as well as the Delta 46-755X (2 HP found it for $2200). As for gouges and other cutting tool, they can get pretty pricey, but you can sometimes get lucky and find a good set for not to much.

Good luck, I hope you find what you need.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View Chiefk's profile


163 posts in 3798 days

#2 posted 02-26-2009 05:07 PM

WaterMonkey, When I recently got into turning, I joined the local Woodturners Club. The guys there were extremely helpful and giving of their time. You may want to see if there is a club close to you. By talking with some of the members about what you want to make on a lathe, they will be able to guide you in the right direction. pkennedy

-- P Kennedy Crossville, TN

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