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Thread: Craftex Lathes?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Craftex Lathes?

    What kind of reputation do Craftex lathes have? Would it be a good choice for turning spindles and small bowls?
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  2. #2
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    From what I've read, in general they fall somewhere between Harbor Freight and Grizzly as far as lathe reputation. Potentially OK, but not really made by a company that knows lathes. From the looks of things, they quite likely are coming out of the same Asian factory as HF and Griz lathes (as well as plenty of other brands). I think the suitability depends a lot on the particular model. They have some electronic variable speed lathes with lots of cast iron that look pretty decent, and they have some cheaper Reeves drive models with stamped steel that probably aren't worth the gasoline it would take to drive to the store and pick one up.

    Were you looking at a specific model?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
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    It's this one. The gentleman has coppied the text from the Busy Bee site as the description in his ad. Busy Bee is selling it right now for $429, which makes me think I should offer about $275 to start, as it likely won't have any warranties on it if I buy it.

    It's in Toronto, too, so it will be a good chance to visit my daughters...

    Oh, the stamped steel ones look awfully like my HF lathe.
    Last edited by Roger Tulk; 08-07-2013 at 06:37 PM.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4
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    Give it a go Roger. You can always sell it on CL if it doesn't do what you want it to.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  5. #5
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    Personally, I'd pass on it. Or maybe offer about $100 and not be willing to negotiate higher. With 1/2 HP and a 600 RPM minimum speed, it's pretty limited as far as bowl turning...it should be OK for spindle work as long as the headstock and tailstock line up. It looks eerily similar to this 3/4 HP lathe that HF sells for about $275:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/12-inch...ead-34706.html

    I totally understand your anxiousness to step up to a better lathe, but I don't think this one is it.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
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    His ad say "variable speed gives almost infinite control"... that's a Reeves unit which will likely have various speed settings, but you will be limited to those settings... and the legs in the picture look like stamped steel instead of cast iron... it'll be pretty light weight and you'll get some wobble if you put an out of balance piece on it... I had one similar from Home Depot (Ridgid brand) and it almost left the shop one day when I put a larger out of balance blank on it...
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  7. #7
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    It clearly has 10 speed settings. I'm in a bind as I want a better lathe than the HF one that I am trying to sell, but the $350 this guy is asking strains my budget a little.

    Being able to turn spindles at least 36" long, and to turn bowls up to say, 12", is very desirable.

    I've decided not to get a Beaver lathe, in spite of the good reputation they have in Canada, as it doesn't have a MT in the headstock, and the selection of spur centres is severely limited as they are not manufactured any more.

    I'm trying to avoid tubular ways and stamped steel, which pretty much eliminates Mastercraft and some Craftsman lathes. I would prefer to have variable speed, but as I'm not doing production work, I can afford the extra few minutes to change pulleys.So, I've got a bit of time to look for a laathe, and to see what comes up on Kijiji (Canada's Craigslist.)

    Anyway, thanks very much for the continued advice.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Hi Roger
    I have that very lathe. It works but very shortly after you get past the "new tool" feeling you will want to get rid of it.
    Forget that stand, I was lucky i had a heavy steel bench i brought with me from SA which i mounted mine on but that bent sheet metal stand is totally a waste of time.
    The castings are rough and so are the tool rests and the biggest dissapointment to me was when i lined up the tailstock and headstock and found they dont meet in the center.
    While this looks like the grizzly version, i have been to grizzlys store several times and checked out their product each time. Its very clear theirs is a cut above craftex and you can see it in the grinding and finish of the bed and operation of the tool rests.

    Since you have a desire to get further into the lathe work than your current lathe is permitting, I urge you to save a bit more towards your budget and buy a better model. You will only marginally be upgrading from where you are now and in my opinion quickly realise you have jumped from frying pan into fire with this lathe.

    Even turning spindles we move and adjust tool rests frequently on lathe work. Its only when one recognises this that the rests get a fair hearing in terms of smoothness of operation and ease of adjustment.

    I know one can buy or make rests but its the base of the rest i am refering to as well.

    And whilst our friends here particularly Vaughn if my memory serves me correct advised me on a method by which i could compensate for the lack of the tailstock and headstock meeting, it would be so much more enjoyable not to be concious of having to do this each time i move it.

    I am now of the opinion that its far better to save and buy a good machine than make do with less than adequate performance of these "marketing devices" because that is all i think they are.

    Best of luck in making this choice were i buying today in your situation i would be looking to purchase one of the minis that have nice well machined beds and variable speed drive and overall a smaller footprint still capable of doing spindle work.

    Consider if you want to do spindle work what happens when the two points at each end dont meet.
    cheers

  9. #9
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    OK, how about this lathe? This one has a good reputation, and the advantage for me that I can go visit my brother in West Chester, go to their store and load it onto my truck and come home. The price is workable, and my bro probably won't mind me dropping by again. I have dealt with this company before, and found them to be very helpful and eager to please their customers.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  10. #10
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    Jun 2008
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    Yup I dont know that particular lathe but that is more like I would recommend. Maybe someone knows this exact lathe and can comment. What i see i like is that the variable speed looking at the fact that it also comes with the bed extension makes it cool for long spindles and the rest surface looks way better than craftex, but nothing beats checking it out first hand. Way better than a craftex unit inmo.
    cheers

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