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Thread: How the dollar is affecting my lathe decision...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

    How the dollar is affecting my lathe decision...

    I know you've all been watching the foreign exchange news lately, and noticed that the value of the Loonie (Canadian Dollar) has fallen to 89 cents US. It's expected to fall a bit more in the next while, moving the Penn State lathe I was eying from something I can just about afford to something I can't afford.

    This led me to look at the King Canada 14 x 43 variable speed lathe, which has a reasonably good reputation. I know my local tool shop sells a few every year. I am also looking at the Craftex series. They have a 10 x16 mini lathe that accepts an extension to 38" when I decide to get into table legs (which is the reason I purchased my first lathe.)

    Does anyone have real experience with either of these brands, to be able to make some comments on their good and bad points? I figure they cant be as bad as my old Harbor Freight lathe.

    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
    Join Date
    May 2009
    sydney australia
    Roger for its the same living where I do, the exchange rate can and does effect my choices of purchases along with darn freight and shipping rates

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Roger, I initially didn't reply to your post because I've had no experience with the two brands you pointed out, but since nobody has chimed in about the lathes, here are my thoughts:

    The King Canada model looks usable, although it uses a Reeves drive as its variable speed mechanism. Reeves drives work pretty well, but they tend to need quite a bit of maintenance and upkeep. I've never heard of anyone wishing they could go back to their Reeves drive lathe after they replaced it with a Electronic Variable Speed lathe.

    The Craftex looks like a fairly generic Asian-made stepped pulley model. Although a stepped pulley setup only has a limited number of speeds, they tend to be pretty trouble-free and low-maintenance.

    Of the two lathes you mentioned, I think it'd be a toss-up. A lot would depend on what you want to turn. The King Canada lathe is obviously better suited for turning bigger pieces, but the Craftex would handle pens, bottle stoppers, and other smaller projects easily, and you'd spend more time turning than fixing the drive system.

    For folks like you who are on a pretty tight budget, I often recommend looking into the used market. (Which I suspect you're already doing.) You can likely get the best bang for your buck with a used lathe, although the trick is finding a decent one within a reasonable distance.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Re: How the dollar is affecting my lathe decision...

    Roger lets be rational about the exchange rate. We talking 10% increase in goods if we buy in USA.
    Before joining here i feel regardless of money and price i ended up buying tools and machines that dont cut it.
    Of everything i purchased to date, my lathe has been my biggest regret. Sure I can get by with it and turn projects. But its not a pleasure to use like my other tools.
    My example is take something like a stanley plane, one can tune them up and then really enjoy them. And they an old second hand tool.
    I cant do that to my taichi lathe unless i spend more on it at a machine shop that its ever going to be worth.

    Now if have managed to accumulate the funds to get a psi lathe before the drop. I would strong urge you to hold on to your money and try accumulate the additional 10% until such time that you can get the one you set your mind on.
    In my opinion there is a significant difference between the kingcanada machines and craftex machines we get in Canada in comparison to what the buyers of all sorts of brands buying from the same sources get for the USA. I have spent a fair amount of time looking at these details. On the face of it these machines all look like they a clone of each other in their various categories. So in the pictures etc for marketing it makes them kinda look like the no name peanut butter does when you see it in a semi clear bottle side by side with the named brand.
    But they not. Definitely not. Some may get close in certain areas but no was are they just relabled at the end of the line. They specifically "branded" to look like it though. We just do not have the demand volume in Canada with our small market to command the same terms and quality for our purchases when it comes to matching a price point of a US brands buyer.

    Sure if i put the pro turners on my craftex lathe they have the skill to overcome the aggravations and have developed their skill and techniques to overcome them. But for me its just not a pleasure to use.
    Now as a comparison my table saw is not a high end brand its craftsman but its a pleasure to use, it needed a bit of tuning to get there and that was possible to do. And now its my go to machine. I can go on with the comparison of my "skill" jigsaw and how i wondered how these things worked then bought a Bosch and it was so day and night that i actually get excited at the opportunity to use it because its such a pleasure.
    That to me is what one wants to end up with in a tool or machine.
    I dont mind a low cost tool as long as with a bit of fettleing and sweat equity one can get it right.
    But on a machine like a lathe, there is not that much that is "fettleable".
    So my vote would be rather hold out, save some more coin, heck you got to where you have, just hold on and go a bit further and get what you determined before was a good deal for you.
    There is that saying that goes " the bitter taste of poor quality lingers long after the cheap price." Boy can i relate to it.

    sent from s4

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