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Thread: Thinking about turning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    We now divide our time between southwest Florida and southwest Vermont.

    Thinking about turning

    We are snowbirds. I have a nice enough shop at our place in VT, but not enough room for a shop here in Florida. I don't (won"t) play golf, and so I spend a lot of time in the Winter planning projects for next Spring.

    I have enough room in my garage for a lathe and a tool sharpening station, and I'm thinking about that despite having zero experience. I would want a decent lathe capable of small to medium bowls, table legs, etc. and easy speed changes, but I am reluctant to spend a ton of money at this stage.

    The Grizzly GO462 looks like a possibility; I hope someone can comment on that unit and perhaps suggest some others to look at.


    The optimist says the glass is half full.
    The pessimist says it's half empty.
    I say the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    Tony, I have this lathe. My dad gave it to me when he upgraded to the Jet 1642. It can do almost everything I want it to do, but I think I would look at one of the 12" midi lathes on the market first if I was you. Delta, Jet, General, Nova and even Turncrafter (penn state's brand) would be some to look at. They are pretty close price wise and will offer true variable speed. They also take up less room, so you could bring it back north this spring easily if you wanted. Also, if you get caught up in turning and wanted to upgrade to something bigger later down the line, the Jet, Delta, nova and General midi lathes can be sold for great prices when used. I think there is a deal for the nova midi lathes that comes with a free chuck right now too...not sure if it's still going on.

    Just my thoughts, the Grizzly lathe has been a workhorse for me and I'm glad I have it, but it wouldn't be real high on my list if starting out. The only Grizzly I think I'd look at now is the G0733 Steve Bellinger has one and maybe a couple other members do as well. Lots of info on other forums about it too.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State
    The Delta midi (what I have) is a great lathe. It is variable speed, three different ranges. I have only once moved mine from the mid range of speeds. The Jet 1220 (I think that is the number) is a great one also. I think it is a little beefier than the Delta. There is also a Rikon in this size that gets great reviews.
    "We the People ......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Reno, Nv
    I'm fond of the Jet 1221VS. A friend at church brings his Delta 46-460 that I've put to use now and then. My only issue with the Delta is the amount of plastic used in construction. And the Delta is about $100 cheaper than the Jet.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    I can't believe you heartless monsters!!!! Beware the VORTEX! Run Tony, RUNNNNN!!!!!!!!
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Utica Ohio
    This is my first post to the forum after joining just a couple of days ago. But, here goes.

    I picked my "Lathe" at an estate sale for $10! I know crazy right? I was the only one to bid on it. It is a Shopsmith 10E. This was the first time I have ever seen or heard of them. I was new to woodworking then. Still somewhat new, but really green then.

    Anyhow, it's my first machine for turning purposes. I use exclusively for it, but I have the room for it. It came with many accessories like the sanding disc, table saw table and blades, turning centers, and other odds and ends. But for 10$ I didn't get hurt. I did buy a cheap harbor freight motor to replace the original motor that it had on it. I have not tried bowls yet, but it has done good with the between center things I have done with it.

    That's just my 2 cents worth, I thought I would share! Good luck in finding what you need!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Tony, Kevin brings up a good point. Buying used can often be a good deal. (Ten bucks for a Shopsmith? That's definitely a steal.)

    In the new market, I'd agree with Jeff...I think in the end you'd be happier with a true EVS instead of a Reeves drive. The 16" swing of the Grizzly is an advantage though if you know you are going to turn stuff over 12" in diameter. (Point of reference, my lathe will swing 20" but the vast majority of my turnings have been less that 12" diameter.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Roanoke, Illinois
    Do you even know if you will like turning? Find a turning club and attend a meeting. There will be members that will gladly offer to let you turn to test the waters. If you decide turning is for you I imagine you are looking for a lathe with a small footprint. If you can find a Jet 10-18 variable speed with stand you will be off and running. My next choice would be the Delta 46-460. Good capacity and plenty of power. Another option would be the new Jet 12-21. A variable speed is not necessary but you will get tired of changing speed by moving the belt pretty quickly. The extra expense for VS is well worth it. I turned on a 10-18 for years and now turn on a 46-460. I enjoy/enjoyed them both. You will also find that buying the lathe is just the tip of the iceberg. Good luck and let us know which way you fall.
    Either you like bacon or you are wrong.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    San Antonio, Texas
    I'm with Terry. I would find a local club, or take a class at the nearest Woodcraft. That way you'll know fairly quickly if turning is something you might want to truly get into. And it can get expensive in a hurry, let me tell you. And if I don't, my wife will. LOL!

    Now for my answer to your actual question. So you've found a club that let you turn some, or taken a class at Woodcraft and really like turning. If you can afford it, get a lathe with variable speed (VS). It is well worth the money. I have two old Delta midi's and love them both. One of these I converted to VS when the motor went south. A little over a year ago I bought a Nova Comet and I really like this little lathe! The only negative is that it's slowest speed is sometimes too fast (I also have a Powermatic 3520B and it has me spoiled!). Four lathes? Did I mention that this can get expensive quickly?

    I hope this helps!
    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    just south of the LA/MS border off of I-55
    I was where you are at a year ago except I happened to have a wood lathe I bought on impulse when I went to pick up something else. There are some lemons on the used market, guess how I know? Talking from the factory, no reasonable cure. Don't buy a used lathe without doing your homework first once you find one you think you want. Buying new, just have to decide what price range you want to jump in at. If you are the least bit gimpy you probably want one with a sliding headstock.

    That reminds me, a very good thread discussing types of lathes with very experienced turners was posted recently on the AAW site. A lot of forums wouldn't let me mention that or post a link. Fortunately Family is family and some great people with no axes to grind. Read this for some idea of type of wood lathe you want. I haven't kept up with it myself but it was trending towards being a real good thread the last I saw of it.

    Don't believe anyone telling you the accessories and other items you will get to support your turning are expensive. I only spent $340 this morning and I got, I got, well I'm not really sure what I got, a few shinies and trinkets. Fortunately I saved a hunnert dollars not buying the live center I really want . . . . yet!


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