LumberJocks

Looking for first lathe

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by kwolfe posted 01-07-2015 06:18 PM 1333 views 1 time favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View kwolfe's profile

kwolfe

108 posts in 1026 days


01-07-2015 06:18 PM

So I posted a WTB here on LJ. I have really got the itch to try my hand at turning (I am a little frightened of the “vortex”).

What I would really like to turn is bowls (at least 12” if not bigger), however would still like the ability to turn a table leg or Christmas ornament if I feel like it. This is just a hobby for me.

So I have been trying to look around at CL to see if there is anything worthwhile and the ones I have found are either small or way over priced (in Harrisburg PA).

This brings me to the famous HF model 34706. I have seen mixed reviews but a lot of people swear by this lathe as a HF gem and for about $250, it’s really easy on the wallet just in case I either don’t like turning (doubt it) or would like to sell it and upgrade later (more likely).

The only real concern I have is the slowest speed (600rpm) for a beginner at bowl turning. I have a band saw that I can turn blanks with so I should be able to get them pretty darn round. Would a 12” round blank spinning at 600rpm be to fast? Has anyone actually ever tried turning anything bigger with the head rotated (given that it was round to start?

I would most likely get their $50 set of HSS tools plus a bowl gouge. Maybe a jaw chuck unless I can get by with the face plate for a while.

Any help would really be appreciated. I would love to get turning sooner than later.


31 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1976 days


#1 posted 01-07-2015 06:34 PM

The set of mid sized HF lathe tools are not that bad. The little set, and the largest set, not so much.

As far as their lathes, I own the little one, and one day snapped off the tool rest. And no, I cannot slow it down far enough. 600 rpm is kind of fast.

My main lathe, which I don’t use anywhere near enough, (much to the pain of my gallery manager), is my Powermatic 3250. Bought it in 2002. Great machine… turned a lot of bowls on that lathe.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View kwolfe's profile

kwolfe

108 posts in 1026 days


#2 posted 01-07-2015 08:35 PM

I wonder if there would be a way to slow it down. I saw a you tube video where someone added an addition detent to a Jet 1236 which is exactly the same. I only think he said it brought it down a little. Could a smaller pulley on one end achieve the same thing?

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1056 posts in 1451 days


#3 posted 01-07-2015 09:35 PM

I have the lathe and have been impressed with it. I have a review of it on LJ’s. I haven’t tried any bowls, but from the chart below 600 rpm @ 12” is a little fast for finishing, much less roughing. I have checked the labeled speeds on the lathe with a tach and they are fairly close. Also, while I don’t have experience with it, most everyone says NOT to use spindle gouges for bowls, and all of the HF tools are spindle gouges. I have the HF set with maroon handles and the tools are well worth the price. Try Benjamin’s best or Hurricane Tools for bowl gouges and roughing gouges.

You can’t get much smaller than the drive pulley is at low speed. There is a little room, but not enough to drop to 200 rpm or so. The lathe could probably be used out to 6-7” without a problem. Others may have experience with going larger.

There are some websites describing modifying this lathe, and others, to use a variable speed DC motor and drive (some use treadmill motors/controllers) to get lower speeds as well as reverse. A possible future project for me.

Here is a lathe cutting speed chart I made from info garnered in an internet research session. The surface cutting speed is the control, and diameter and rpm determine surface speed.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7910 posts in 1841 days


#4 posted 01-07-2015 09:41 PM

If you think you will like it, chances are you will. HF lathes are cheap for a reason, 600 is pretty fast for an out of balance bowl blank especially on a light lathe. Have you looked for used lathes?

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3124 days


#5 posted 01-08-2015 12:24 AM

Harbor Freight’s #34706 lathe uses a Reeves drive … you can’t just swap out pulleys. 600rpm is way too fast for anything bigger than a 5” or 6” bowl.

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

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1432 posts in 2224 days


#6 posted 01-08-2015 01:28 AM

My “normal” speed range is 500 for sanding, and 1800 for a balanced bowl blank. . So, it’s just what you are comfortable with.

-- BOVILEXIA: The urge to moo at cows from a moving vehicle.

View kwolfe's profile

kwolfe

108 posts in 1026 days


#7 posted 01-08-2015 01:36 AM

Wow. That seems faster than most people set it at.

I have been looking on CL but the closest I’ve found is a jet 1236 (basically same thing) for $750 which is ridiculous. Just can’t find a good used lathe within an hour or so of me. Guess I will have to wait for now. Kind of stinks when you want to get turning.

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1432 posts in 2224 days


#8 posted 01-08-2015 06:02 PM

1800 rpm is after I make sure the blank is stable/balanced. If it is not balanced, I start advancing the speed very slowly to a reasonable level to where it just starts to be uncomfortable, then back it off. This might be 500 or even 1000, depends on how much the blank is not balanced. For some lathes the speed change is not doable while running, unless it has a variable speed controller.

-- BOVILEXIA: The urge to moo at cows from a moving vehicle.

View Case101's profile

Case101

107 posts in 1254 days


#9 posted 01-08-2015 10:24 PM

What about using an electronic speed controller on the lathe to slow it down below 600 rpm.

Maybe something like this: Router Speed Control

-- John, New Jersey

View kwolfe's profile

kwolfe

108 posts in 1026 days


#10 posted 01-08-2015 10:35 PM

I read that you can’t use one of those on induction motors. Wish I could. Can’t find a worthwhile used lathe for the life of me.

View kwolfe's profile

kwolfe

108 posts in 1026 days


#11 posted 01-11-2015 11:01 PM

So a jet 1236 just came up for sale on CL near me. He is asking $450. I know this is the same darn thing as the HF lathe. Is it worth the money for the different paint?

View kwolfe's profile

kwolfe

108 posts in 1026 days


#12 posted 01-14-2015 01:43 PM

Update. I went to the local AAW club here in Harrisburg. What a really nice bunch of people. Just so happened that a nice fellow there has a barely used Jet 1236 (the white one) that he would sell for $350 which includes a headstock adapter for a nova chuck and extra faceplate. There may be a couple of other little extras but that’s aobut it.

I guess my question is, I can get the HF 34706 for $250 after taxes. Would the Jet be worth the extra $100? I’m thinking in terms of the motor and resell value. I’m sure I’ll want a bigger lathe latter but this might be a good starter. Plus if I can sell it for about what I bought it for, then all would be great.

I have looked for bigger lathes and unless the Nova 1624 goes on sale for $899 any time soon, I think I am stuck with a smaller version fo the time being.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3124 days


#13 posted 01-14-2015 03:22 PM

I guess my question is, I can get the HF 34706 for $250 after taxes. Would the Jet be worth the extra $100?

Why does the guy want to sell his Jet?

I think I would go for the Jet. There are a lot of people that have had good success with the HF lathe, but the fact that the HF lathe ‘looks exactly like the Jet’ (I have read that many times in these forums) doesn’t mean the quality is on the same par.

Offer him $300 in cash and see what he does.

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

View kwolfe's profile

kwolfe

108 posts in 1026 days


#14 posted 01-14-2015 04:39 PM

He is selling the Jet because he got a Nova 1624 (I would love one).

I was thinking of offering him $300 and see where we go from there. Just need to make sure that if I buy chucks and other stuff, that they will be compatible with an upgrade later on.

BTW, if you can’t tell by now I hate making purchase because I really want to make sure I’m getting the right thing.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3124 days


#15 posted 01-14-2015 06:33 PM

BTW, if you can t tell by now I hate making purchase because I really want to make sure I m getting the right thing.

You ain’t alone on that … there are a lot of us that beat every decision to death!

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

showing 1 through 15 of 31 replies

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

HomeRefurbers.com