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Thread: rockwell 4 speed wood lathe?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    central florida

    rockwell 4 speed wood lathe?

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    is this any good for some one who has no lathe. it just says rockwel 4 speed

    asking price is $150 with 4 craftsman turning tools.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    The headstock has a spur center, good for spindle work. I could not see a center in the tailstock Assuming it has one, check that the centers of the head and tail align, and that the head and tail are stable (can be locked firmly without wiggling).

    The standard set of 4 craftsman turning tools that came with every lathe are considered junk, but I am still using my set (along with other tools) 35 years later.

    We could discuss how big the motor is, but no matter how small, it wouldn't make it a "don't buy this" decision.

    I would look for a face plate that comes with practically every lathe - a flat metal disc that has threads on the back that screw onto the headstock in place of the spur. There should also be a round metal rod that goes through the headstock to tap the spur out. If the seller is willing to look for these "missing" parts, also look for the center for the tail - may be a point, or a point inside a cup, on a tapered rod the slides into the tailstock.

    The price seems slightly high - I would offer $100 and negotiate.

    Hope this helps.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    San Antonio, Texas
    I agree with Charlie. I'd offer $100. Even if things like face plate and live center are missing, they are easily found and don't cost that much. The surface rust on the ways can be cleaned up easily enough and these were well made lathes in their day. A good lathe solution for the money.
    Billy B.

    "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Charlie's advice is good. (Although I think I might start the offer at $80 though, and be willing to go up to $100 or even a bit higher.) A lathe like this is designed to primarily turn spindles. With only four speeds and not a lot of distance between the spindle and the bed, its capability to handle bowls or other larger pieces would be pretty much limited to smaller pieces.

    If you're a flatworker looking to add a bit of turned work to your furniture, this looks like it could be a good lathe. If you're considering getting serious about woodturning, particularly bowls or decorative stuff, there are likely better lathes at or near that price that are better suited for the task.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    central florida
    Doesn't sound like its that great of a lathe. i guess i saw the name rockwell and dumped extra value on it. Now that I have read your posts and looked it over again, it doesn't look much different than the cheap HF lathe. maybe a little beefier but not much better.

    I am going to pass on it.
    Thanks for the advice.

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