Want to learn to turn...

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Blog entry by twig posted 12-09-2008 08:26 PM 1011 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I really want to learn to turn wood and want to buy a lathe. I don’t think I want a mini lathe, it would work for making hair sticks, but I might want to turn something larger. Any ideas or suggestions would be much appreciated as I really don’t know anything about it.

I was looking at this one. But I don’t know what all I would need to buy with it. Are there other, better brands around the same price?

Anyone want to give me some pointers so I don’t waste my money on things I don’t really need? Thank you!

-- See my current work at

7 comments so far

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3784 days

#1 posted 12-09-2008 09:05 PM

This would be OK for pens and spindle type turning but if you plan on making bowls, it may not have enough power when you get to the 8” or 9” diameter.

There are lots of really good turners here and I am sure someone can give you better advice than me.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3741 days

#2 posted 12-10-2008 01:09 AM

I would suggest that first you take a course in turning. You will have a better idea on what you want to do, what tools you will need, how to sharpen your tools. how to turn SAFELY, very importent as these things can bite you.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View Bob N's profile

Bob N

131 posts in 3956 days

#3 posted 12-10-2008 01:30 AM

The lathe in your link IS a mini lathe and will not be what you say you want although I have a mini and can turn pretty much anhything I care to as far as size goes. You may want to check out the new Jet 1220 which offers a little more capicity as well and horsepower.

RTB has offered very good advice in his reply above mine.

View twig's profile


59 posts in 3485 days

#4 posted 12-10-2008 04:48 AM

Thank you all for your information. I didn’t realize that the one in my link was a mini lathe, thank you for pointing that out, Bob N.

As for classes, I will have to check and see if there’s anything like that offered close by. I hope there will be, as I can definitely see the need for it.

I really appreciate all your input, folks. Being a newbie is tough. :)

-- See my current work at

View ganders's profile


40 posts in 3610 days

#5 posted 12-10-2008 02:08 PM

Trust me once the turning bug has bitten you have to live with the sting. The above advice is very good. Know what you want to do. The distance from the the live ceter to the bed is very important. On the machine above it is 10”. You might get a 9 inch plate or bowl but the motor will need to work hard to spin a chuck of wood that size. If you go for a lager size lathe you can still do small things like pens. It’s a matter of time before I buy a larger lathe.

-- A famous poet once said: “There is a name hidden in the shadow of my soul, the name is wood. Sweet, ever beautiful, earth grown wood. It warms my heart and brings a tear to my eye.”

View Steuss's profile


30 posts in 3559 days

#6 posted 12-11-2008 08:51 PM

As a self-taught woodturner, most of my work has been done on the Jet mini-lathe (10” dia. max.) Even after I “graduated” to a Nova 1624-44 (16” dia. max.), I still use the small lathe the most. My use of the bigger lathe is limited to my segmented bowls or platters that go up to 16” dia. I never turn spindles or pens. Most of my work is bowls. Lately I’ve concentrated on nested bowls for which I designed the BowlSaw. I have used that on the larger lathe to cut a 8” bowl from the center of a 16” walnut round, but most of the time I found it more effective on the mini-lathe. I’ve never suffered from lack of power—just let the wood come to you and don’t try to do it all at once—that’s the secret of good bowl turning, I think. Hope this helps you in your decision.

-- Dick, Novato

View twig's profile


59 posts in 3485 days

#7 posted 12-16-2008 09:29 PM

After reading all of your replies, (Thank you all so much for those!!) I am seriously looking at a mini lathe. I don’t know how much I want to spend on one and I am no in a big hurry to get it. I’m just trying to do my homework first, then buy the best item for me. Plus, those after Christmas sales are SO fun!! :D

-- See my current work at

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