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Need some help with lathe selection

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Forum topic by SMARTS posted 05-11-2015 08:15 PM 851 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SMARTS

1 post in 581 days


05-11-2015 08:15 PM

Hello all! This is my very first post here, and I’m hoping that you can help. Firstly, I’m completely new to the idea of woodturning, but I have a specific project which has led me this direction.

Getting to my question: I am looking for a lathe, which really doesn’t need to turn projects any larger than 18”, which has a pass-through head for the purpose of center drilling the end grain. I do not know if my terminology is correct, but I’m hoping you guys will know what I’m talking about. Also, I’d prefer his lathe to be on the inexpensive side, as much as reasonably possible. Thanks in advance, and I apologize for my ignorance on the matter, I’ve just had no luck searching on my own.


7 replies so far

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Rob

704 posts in 2537 days


#1 posted 05-11-2015 08:33 PM

I bought a used lathe but haven’t had a chance to set it up and try it out yet, but you can go to your library and check out WOOD Magazine issue #230, Dec 2014/Jan 2015. Brian Simmons covers all the basic features of lathes and compares several midi-lathes.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert - http://woodworking.stackexchange.com

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Rick M

7933 posts in 1846 days


#2 posted 05-12-2015 07:15 AM


...doesn t need to turn projects any larger than 18”
- SMARTS

Length or diameter? I’m guessing the former, which leaves a lot of options. The smart thing to do is figure out your total budget because buying the lathe is only the beginning … you need tools and chucks to do anything with it. Without an idea of what you can spend, making suggestions is a waste of time.

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

View Charlie Zellner's profile

Charlie Zellner

3 posts in 577 days


#3 posted 05-12-2015 09:30 PM

I’m relatively new at turning wood. But, went through what you are going through for almost a year. Buying a lathe can be only 25% to 35% of your cost as was stated above. You need to decide what you want to do on it, how much you can spend and a multitude of other things. Use YouTube to listen to reviews, watch people turning and look at what machines and accessories they have and use. Eventually, you will figure out which brand and model is best suited for your needs.
You can buy a lathe in about as many price ranges as there are brand names. Most are good machines and will serve you well.
Personally I went with Jet because of reputation and the 5 year warranty. But, chances are I could gone with a cheaper brand and been perfectly happy. Equipment is like food man. Everyone has different taste and preferences. LOL Good luck :-)

-- Charlie in SC

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BroncoBrian

435 posts in 1425 days


#4 posted 05-13-2015 03:03 AM


Personally I went with Jet because of reputation and the 5 year warranty. But, chances are I could gone with a cheaper brand and been perfectly happy. Equipment is like food man. Everyone has different taste and preferences. LOL Good luck :-)

- Charlie Zellner

Charlie

Have not met anyone who said, “I wish I went for a cheaper option, this think is too nice for me.”

You did just fine.

-- Bigfoot tries to take pictures of me

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Charlie Zellner

3 posts in 577 days


#5 posted 05-13-2015 10:36 AM

LOL! Yep, I’m perfectly happy with it. I agree totally.

-- Charlie in SC

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Bmezz

34 posts in 850 days


#6 posted 05-13-2015 11:02 AM

I’ve made this suggestion many times. Find a local Woodturning club. Take a beginners course. You will work on different machines, try different tools and meet experience people. You will save money, time and blood. Books and videos are great once the hands on basics are learned. Cheers, Bob

-- Member Valley Woodturners Ottawa

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Wildwood

1887 posts in 1601 days


#7 posted 05-13-2015 12:46 PM

Depending upon your budget have to decide whether buying new or used makes more sense. Also have to look at optional accessories needed to turn and drill on the lathe. Besides turning tools will need 4-jaw scroll chuck & drill chuck. A mini or midi lathe will need an optional bed extension to drill blanks on the lathe. You will need a way to keep your tools sharp!

Unless you have skills and make minor & major lathe repairs do not recommend buying a used lathe. Will find lot of junk lathes on Craig’s list and other sites and definitely no fixing that stuff. If know what to look for might find a diamond in the rough and not over pay.

I would recommend you call these two toll free numbers and request a free catalog. Having a catalog to thumb through should give you an idea on cost of stuff. You can always check out stores near you for lathes and turning accessories too!

Packard Woodworks sells just about everything you can buy related to woodturning. 1-800-377-7297 I have been dealing with these people for over twenty years. Also recommend Crafts Supplies USA for same reasons but they stopped sending me catalogs.

Penn State Industries or PSI, mostly geared toward pen turning some of their chucks, lathes, and inexpensive turning tools popular with people starting out.

Don’t forget to look at the “REVIEW,” section here for info on wood lathes!

-- Bill

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