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Thread: Which lathe do I need?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    West Central Ohio
    Posts
    147

    Which lathe do I need?

    OK, Woodcraft has the Rikon Mini on special this week for $50 off. Would this do as a starter as well as the Jet Mini. Specs are pretty close. Give me some help as I have not touched a lathe (other than to make sure one worked) since I was in high school. Also please advise me on what I need to buy "extra" (chucks, tools, etc.)
    Thanks for any help,
    Chuck

  2. #2
    Chuck.....I've read that either lathe will do what you want. You might check out the new Jet 1220 IIRC.....It has just been released......it's gotten good reviews and it's a 12" throw.

    I turn on a Jet Mini VS. It's a tough little rascal and it does what I ask of it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    West Central Ohio
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    147
    Thanks Ken,
    But if I remember the VS is about $350 and I know that you need extra's (chuck, other tools, etc.) Really does not fit the budget at present. Just need to get a good starter lathe and maybe when I win the loto I can upgrade. Any help on the extras that I might need?
    Thanks again,
    Chuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    363
    Chuck,

    It all depends on how far you want to slip down the slope once you get the lathe. You can turn between centers and use a faceplate for a while, but you will need a gouge (bowl or spindle, depending) a cutoff tool, maybe a scraper, and a means to keep them sharp. You will also need some way to get the blank cut something resembling round if you aren't using a VS (and even then you don't want to be too much out of balance) because it is no fun to chase your new lathe across the shop. IMO, everything after that is gadgets (and I have a bunch of them, many of which don't get used very ofter if ever) that make turning easier but may not improve the work.

    Hope that helps, and I'm sure others will check in with differing opinions.

  5. #5
    Harbor Freight sells an eight piece cheap set of tools for spindle work that a lot of people like. Use these to learn sharpening. You'll also need a good 1/2" or 3/8" bowl gouge. PSI sells Benjamin's Best turning tools. Later after you've developed some skills you'll probably want to buy some better quality tools but a lot of folks use what I just described. A lot of folks like them for the quality for the dollar issue. A flat scraper and a round nose scraper should be part of you initial tool selection and might be part of the 8 piece set?

    Sharpening is critical. Turning with dull tools is the pits! A good slowspeed grinder and a jig system works well so you don't have to spend so much time learning to sharpen and can spend more time learning to turn. Woodcraft sells a fairly good slowspeed grinder and it goes on sale frequently. I use and recommend the Wolverine grinding jig system....the varigrind tool and the skew attachment that goes with it. The Wolverine system is good quality and you pay for it. It reduces the amount of time spent on learning to grind dramatically.

    PSI, and Grizzley sell some fairly inexpensive 4-jaw scroll chucks that a lot of people use. I was gifted with a lathe and tools from some members at another site and some of the members here. I use a SuperNova2 chuck. It's an excellent chuck.

    You'll probably want to get a faceshield and eventurally a shield/respirator combination. The sanding dust will kill you!

    If you want to turn pens, you'll need a mandrel and a jacobs chuck with a morse taper to fit your lathe's headstock morse taper.

    Go to the AAW site and locate a turnng club near you. Attend and join. Turners by nature are a very gregarious and generous group in my short time being among them. Members there will probably be more than happy to let you see and test their tools and equipments.

    There are some really good videos on turning at the Woodcraft website...at the Sorby website that you can watch for free online if you have a high speed internet service.....Books......."Woodturning - A Foudation Course" by Keith Rowley...Videos......"Turning Wood" by Richard Raffan..."Turning Boxes" by Richard Raffan....PSI (Penn State Industries) has/had a free video for turning pens and it came with a $10 off coupon on future purchase IIRC. Bill Grumbine's "Turned Bowls Made Easy" is great for learning to turn bowls.
    I live 110 miles from the nearest club so I've learned via books and videos and experience.

    I'm not a great turner but I'm learning and improving daily!

    Most bowl turning is done from green wood. Check with some local tree trimming/removal companies and make some contacts. Often they are happy bring logs by you house and drop them off so they don't have to store them or pay to dispose of them. Check with the local county and city refuse departments. Often they'll have logs homeowner drop off and you can get them for free.

    That brings up chain saws. Buy the best you can afford. You won't regret it.

    Finishing supplies.....BLO, friction finishes(Myland's is one brand) a combination of shellac, oil and waxes, dewaxed shellac such as Zinssers, lacquers, brushing and spray (Deft for example), danish oils, sandpaper

    Eventually you'll want a buffing system such as the Beal system. You'll need both types..bowl and the other one so you can do inside of bowls and outside of bowls and spindles.

    Turning is an expensive hobby but you can ease into to it. It's sure a source of nearly instant gratification..



    And "NO STEVE CLARDY AND STU .....I don't have my shop finished yet....but I'm turning!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    West Central Ohio
    Posts
    147
    Wood is not really a problem. They just logged out a woods across the road from me (all hard wood). That along with the 5 walnut trees that I cut out of my yard (won't walk across my yard and turn my ankle) 9 years ago along with some oak and maple would make some good lamated items. Just need some ideas of what the extras cost. Don't want to start with bowls or anything else flying across the shop, if you know what I mean The woods across the road certainly has some nice burls left in it that keep taking my eye. Never would have thought about this as was all hobby flat work for house if you guys did not show so much nice stuff
    What (estimate) will it cost me for the proper equipment after I buy the lathe? Idea's appreacated
    Thanks again,
    Chuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    West Central Ohio
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    Come on Ken, throw me into shock My wife does it daily
    Chuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    29,083
    Back to your original question...I know several turners that are real happy with their Rikon mini lathes. For the sale price, I don't think you'll find much better. Later down the road, when the abyss has sucked you down so low you're selling your kids to buy a bigger lathe, the Rikon will still be a useful addition to your shop.

    I'll second pretty much all of Ken's other suggestions (although I'd stress the need for a faceshield more than he did). I started out with the $40 8-piece set of Harbor Freight HSS tools, and have added better tools along the way...mostly Benjamin's Best, which is not near the top of the list, but pretty good bang for the buck. The Woodcraft 8" low speed grinder is also a good addition, but if you already have a grinder (even a regular-speed one), you can save a bit by just getting some decent aluminum oxide wheels for it. The sharpening jigs are also a very worthwhile purchase, although you can make your own. There are guys who sharpen freehand and get great results, but most of us beginners can really benefit from a jig to keep the tools in the right place while sharpening.

    Expect to spend $100 or more for a chuck. As Ken mentioned, Grizzly and PSI have models that are budget priced but do the job just fine. I think I paid about $150 for my Nova G3 chuck. (Actually, a bit more than that, because I bought an extra set of jaws.) It's a good tool, and will serve me for many years, even after I get a bigger one (which I have yet to need).

    There are budget shortcuts to get around some of the common accessory hurdles. You can make your own sharpening jig...you can find other ways to have a 3-wheel buffing system without buying a Beall system (although they are great)...you can even make some of your own cutting tools.

    Don't let the up-front expense scare you off. You can ease into it, plus it'll only hurt a little bit. You'll be having too much fun to notice you're broke.
    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ozarks
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    4,992
    chuck, when shopping for a lathe make sure it uses standard sized accessories such as chucks-n-faceplates that way when you upgrade you won`t have to re-spend that money...tools-n-sharpening gear are universal they`ll work on a mini or a full sized lathe, same with buffin` gear.....as far as cost for accessories goes?.......i`m guessin` 500 and up....more up.....for starter grade stuff that you won`t pitch across the room in fustration...tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    West Central Ohio
    Posts
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    Tod,
    Really thank you for your honest opinion which would put me out of the budget for a while. Vaughn I know that you know about the lathes, but really want to do things the right way with the right tools. Thanks to all for the information. I really don't need another "fixture" in my small shop that I do not have the proper tools to work it.
    Thanks to all,
    Chuck

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