Want to get into Pen turning, I need help selecting a Lathe

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Forum topic by parnelli97 posted 05-21-2009 05:37 PM 1093 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 3332 days

05-21-2009 05:37 PM

Ok here’s the big deal, My budget is $250 total to get a lathe and mandrel, I already have a set of Craftsman lathe tools, I currently have a cheap harbor freight lathe that was given to me… It is about to go for sale on CL. I want to get into pen turning and noticed all the mandrels are either for a Morse taper or drill chuck. What I want to know is what low end mini lathes come with a Morse taper setup so I can just buy Morse taper bits for it. I’ve tried searching but it seems that isn’t one of the major specs most sellers focus on. Currently I’m looking at a used Jet mini lathe, unknown model yet (the guy hasn’t emailed me back) SHOP FOX W1704, and a PSI turncrafter Pro 10” x 18”. I looked at grizzly but their lathes start at $260 new, and I haven’t seen many used. I have heard good reviews of the Harbor Freight 34706…(yes I know, the dreaded HF word) But it seems it’s one of the few decent tools they have. I heard they did a decent job of copying a JET lathe. But what I’m scared of is the head stock not being standard and not being able to get a chuck or plate that will fit it. I would like the larger HF lathe because A. it’s larger, B. it has a rotating head so I can do large bowls if I ever chose to do so, and C. I can get it for under $200 with a coupon and a sale.

4 replies so far

View peruturner's profile


317 posts in 3355 days

#1 posted 05-21-2009 05:59 PM

Hi most of those lathes have a 1-8” tread and there is plenty acc for them,chucks ,morse tapers plates etc
I have a home made lathe 24-24” and use a 1-8” tread for me is super,so get yourself a lathe and up grade the motor,1/2hp is not really powerfull 3/4 is a lot better,my2cents

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3932 days

#2 posted 05-21-2009 06:36 PM

I’ve got the PSI Turncrafter mini-lathe and it does all I need it to do for pens. If that’s what you’re looking to, then it’s a good place to start.

-- Working at Woodworking

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3578 days

#3 posted 05-21-2009 06:43 PM

I have a delta midi I keep for penturning and am pleased with it no probs so far keep an eye out for one if you can.Alistair

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

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117084 posts in 3570 days

#4 posted 05-21-2009 08:41 PM

I wish I could help not and expert on pen turning

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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