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Forum topic by Case101 posted 01-08-2015 02:52 AM 1539 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Case101

107 posts in 1252 days


01-08-2015 02:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe hf harbor freight rikon 65345 34706

Looking to get a lathe. In HS wood shop did some bowls and other small items. My father also had a lathe which I played around with as a kid, but nothing serious.

I would like to start off by turning some pens and then move up from there.

I’m really considering the HF lathes as well as the Rikon.

As far as I can tell the Rikon seems to be the Cadillac of mini-lathes with the ability to extend it to 40” with an add on. As far as mini lathes it also seems to be one of the more expensive ones.

Here are links to the contenders so far:
HF 5 Speed Bench Top Wood Lathe #65345 $199

HF 12'' x 33-3/8'' Wood Lathe with Reversible Head #34706 $290

RIKON Mini Lathe Model 70-100 $400

I’m really torn between them…
My understand is the 65345 is a nice little lathe but changing speeds can be a PITA to reach around the back.
The 34706 is much better and many are happy with it.
The Rikon, is the Cadillac of mini-lathes. I like the idea of being able to extend the bed to 40” but then you have the capacity of the HF 34706, with the 34706 still being cheaper.

Please help point out anything I may have missed or express your opinion regarding my preliminary list above. If there are some that I’ve missed please let me know.

Also if you have good or bad experience with any of the above please let me know.

Thank you,

-- John, New Jersey


17 replies so far

View mrg's profile

mrg

658 posts in 2459 days


#1 posted 01-08-2015 03:51 AM

If I was going to buy one of the lathes you listed it would be the Rikon. Better warranty and you shouldnt have to mess with it to get it right. Do you see your self doing more bowls or pens and spindles. If you see yourself doing larger bowls and spindles you may want to go for a lathe with a larger motor. The 1/2 hp will bog under load. This lathe is fine for pens and small bowls.

-- mrg

View LeeMills's profile

LeeMills

271 posts in 761 days


#2 posted 01-08-2015 02:50 PM

I have not had direct experience with the HF, some get good reviews and some get horrible reviews.
A local club as about six Rikon mini’s and never heard of a problem with them. I have turned on them a few times and no problems.

IF you were also considering getting a scroll chuck you may want to check out tools-plus. More than you may want to pay but the Nova Comet2 with a G3 chuck is $480, normally the chuck is about $130. It looks like it would be on backorder now. I’ve had one about two years and no problems; 3/4 hp and electronic speed.
Just something to consider (bed extension is available also).
http://tools-plus.com/nova-lathes-46300c.html

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View jeff's profile

jeff

988 posts in 2924 days


#3 posted 01-08-2015 03:25 PM

Get a variable speed lathe for sure,you will like not having to move the belt for speed adjustment as often,and one where you can turn down the rpms-safer for roughing out bowls ect.Lathe tools/chucks and a sharpening rig will add to the cost of your purchase.Sharp tools makes turning so much more fun.I have a Grizzly 0658 bench top lathe,variable speed,3/4 hp,its discontinued now but its been great to turn on-wish I went a little bigger though.

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

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Case101

107 posts in 1252 days


#4 posted 01-08-2015 03:39 PM

Thank you all for your input.
I’ve considered the way in which you change the speed.

With the smaller hf lathe, I was wondering if you could also add an electronic speed controller. That way you make major speed changes with the belt, and minor changes with the speed controller. Thoughts?

The larger hf lathe has has variable speed from 600-2400 rpm. I’ve seen some positive reviews of both hf lathes.

As others have said here and elsewhere, the cost of the lathe is the small investment compared to all the extras you would need.

Is there a downside to getting the larger hf lathe for working with smaller stuff?

LeeMills, thanks for the link, I’m trying to get into turning on a budget. The lathe looks nice!

Thanks,
John

-- John, New Jersey

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LeeMills

271 posts in 761 days


#5 posted 01-09-2015 11:34 PM

You MAY be able to add a controller but probably not. It depends on the motor; most of the electronic are DC not AC. I’m guessing that if you tried to slow a normal AC down you would also lose most torque. Think of a ceiling fan that you can stop with a finger tip.

No problem doing small stuff with a big lathe.
Electronic speed is nice but my main lathe is a Nova 1624 belt. I never change speeds for a spindle and typically only once for a bowl/platter. For me the electronic is really nice for fine tuning for the rough out cuts on bowl blanks but after that not so important. I know others disagree.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Case101's profile

Case101

107 posts in 1252 days


#6 posted 01-10-2015 01:23 AM

Today I picked up the Rikon 70-100
It was a very hard decision for me between the HF lathes and the Rikon. This may sound crazy but some of what swayed toward that Rikon were, lower minimum speed & spindle lock. I liked the way you change speed on the Rikon vs the smaller HF lathe. The HF you reach behind, the Rikon has a door on the end that drops to access the belts. The larger HF, the min. speed is 600rpm. Same swing on the Rikon vs the larger HF, I can get a 24” extension in the future if I want.

I hope I don’t regret my decision down the road.

Now I’m onto chucks.
Can someone recommend a good chuck for this lathe?
The Nova G3 was recommended by the associate at woodcraft. It was pointed out the it’s much easier to mount what your turning with a key instead of 2 levers. The Nova G3 seems rather expensive starting about about $130.

Is the gear drive that much easier then 2 handles?

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

-- John, New Jersey

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3122 days


#7 posted 01-10-2015 01:49 AM

John—I don’t think you will have any regrets with the Rikon … people that have it like it.

As for chucks, Grizzly has some decent offerings, but I would still go for the Nova G3. I have two Nova G3’s as well as a PSI Utility Chuck. The Nova key is much easier to use than the PSI tommy bars.

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

View jeff's profile

jeff

988 posts in 2924 days


#8 posted 01-10-2015 09:17 AM

The Nova G3 use’s a one handle operation.I have one and its nice to use-mine also was recommended by my local Woodcraft.The Rikon has a good following.I remember looking at it at Woodcraft and the belt was much easier to change as compared to the similar Jet model-no reaching around back if I can remember.Congrats on your purchase.

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Case101's profile

Case101

107 posts in 1252 days


#9 posted 01-10-2015 12:35 PM

Thank you to everyone who responded!!!!

Gerry, Jeff, I’m just afraid I may outgrow the Rikon sooner then I would like, or maybe not. Time will tell.

Is there a cheaper alternative to a Nova G3?

-- John, New Jersey

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3122 days


#10 posted 01-10-2015 01:52 PM

Is there a cheaper alternative to a Nova G3?

If you should move to a bigger lathe, you can get spindle adapters. They do extend the distance from the headstock to the chuck, but at least you can use your chuck.

I found a Nova G3 on Amazon this morning for under $130.

Grizzly has 4-jaw keyed chucks starting at around $110 … I have no experience with them.

PSI has the Barracuda 3 on sale for under $130 … a decent chuck (I used in a class a couple of years ago).

There may be other deals out there … Google could be your friend.

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

View LeeMills's profile

LeeMills

271 posts in 761 days


#11 posted 01-10-2015 02:06 PM

I predict you will really enjoy the Rikon. The lower speed is a major benefit IMHO and worth the $$$.
I have four Nova G3’s and never had a problem with one.
One word of warning, if you purchase the chuck from Woodcraft make sure the insert is in a red Teknatool box.
Woodcraft has inserts manufactured for them and they are not up to par with the OEM insert.

In the G3 you can get direct threaded or insert style. I would go with insert style; in the event you ever move to a larger lathe all you have to do is change the insert.
There is a Canadian seller on the bay that has the G3 for $132 direct thread or $138 insert type with insert included. Free shipping and you also save sales tax ($10?). Search for “Nova G3 Chuck”.
Woodcraft may also match the price, just make sure you get the OEM insert if they do.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View jeff's profile

jeff

988 posts in 2924 days


#12 posted 01-10-2015 06:50 PM

LeeMills is right concerning the insert for the G3-make sure its the Teknatool-Woodcrafts guys steered me in the right direction with that…Case101-you will like the Rikon-I turned on one at a Woodcraft class for peppermills.You might outgrow it but its a keeper if you leave it set up for small items-buffing ect.-just a thought…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Case101's profile

Case101

107 posts in 1252 days


#13 posted 01-11-2015 12:58 PM

How does the Grizzly chuck compare to the Nova G3?
What is your experience with the Grizzly chuck?

Here is a link the the “Grizzly 3.75 Wood Lathe Chuck Set

It appears that you get a lot with the Grizzly chuck compared to the Nova

-- John, New Jersey

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1974 days


#14 posted 01-11-2015 01:31 PM

I own the 65345 as a second lathe when I do really small things that my Powermatic has trouble with.
The tool rest snapped off one day when I had a catch.
The belt is a hassle to change, and I usually just leave it on the slowest speed.
The locking handles are iffy at best, and it doesn’t really feel like the tailstock is locking, just jamming against the body.
I did add the small Grizzly H7605 chuck, and that really made it a lot better. I also bought a much better tool rest to replace the cheapo HF one after it snapped. The Rikon 70-928 model.

Does it work? Yes, it does. Is it a PITA? Yeah, it is, but when you need three small redheart guitar knobs in a hurry, it is still faster than setting up my big Powermatic.

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

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4448 posts in 3420 days


#15 posted 01-11-2015 04:18 PM

I have the Grizz 4 jaw chuck on my lathe. It runs true, has a closed back, and accessory jaws are available. I would buy it again. Real bargain for the money.
I have seen some post about the chuck not running true, but not in my case. Check it out.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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