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Thread: Question About Lathe's

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Solomons Island, MD

    Question Question About Lathe's

    Gentlemen & Ladies,

    I'm new to the forum, but I've been on a couple of others for awhile, If you have read my intro you will see that I've mentioned getting a Lathe (probably this spring when we all get our tax returns, other wise known here as TOOL TIME) anyways, I currently buy my turned legs or bases for tables from various suppliers (cabriole legs I make myself) but I would like to do my own legs and maybe get into a few other things for which I need a lathe and possibly a duplicator attachment. Now I know that a lathe will just be the start as I will need a good chuck or two, gouges and what not, But what would you all recommend? I'm looking to spend about 1000.00 to 1300.00 (total) I'm just begining but I dont really want a starter lathe that I will just outgrow in a year, So with that said would you all mind sharing suggestions or ideas?

    Thanks in advance,

    Last edited by Scott Custer; 11-17-2007 at 03:29 PM. Reason: misspelled
    Operation Urgent Fury 83'

  2. #2

    The lathe is actually the cheapest part of the move into turning. Here's some things you will need to start turning. I'm sure others will add to it.

    1. a 3/4" roughing gouge
    2. a 3/8" spindle gouge
    3. A good chuck and jaws
    4. a 1/8" parting tool
    5. a 3/4" skew
    6. a slow speed grinder
    7. a sharpening jig either a Oneway Wolverine jig system or similar
    8. a 3/8" bowl gouge
    9. a flat end scraper
    10. a round nose scraper
    11. a sanding multi-pack (1" wide rolls of various grits)
    12. a face shield

    There's a starting list and I'm sure others will add to it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Welcome to the forum! Sounds like you are doing good research. For your situation I agree with starting in the middle rather than upgrading sooner.

    For table legs you obviously need a full-size lathe with lots of bed length. For that market the biggest challenge will be your budget. As I'm sure you know, the lathe is only a small part of your total investment. There are quite a few full-size lathes in the <$1K price point (HF, Palmgren, Jet, Grizzly, Craftsman, etc) but they all come with significant compromises that leave most folks wanting to upgrade fairly quickly. IMO the quality machines start in the $1500 range and go up from there.

    I don't mean to sound like a "tool snob" with that last statement. But the reality is that there is a huge "quality gap" between mini lathes (many of which are excellent) and good quality full-size machines. A few of the <$1K machines might work fine for you if all you are planning on doing is table legs and such. But as you get more into turning you would probably find them limiting.

    I'm not familiar with the duplicators on the market but that requirement might be a deciding factor on which lathe(s) to look at. I'd start by doing some research on them and find out which lathes they work best with. I could imagine that some lathes would be out-of-scope for the duplicator you choose.

    Best of luck with your decision!

    EDIT: In the interest of full-disclosure I should add that I drive one of the under $1K lathes: a Jet 1442. It's a good lathe and IMO a best-of-breed for under $1K but at ~$900 it's already near your total budget and has its limitations (i.e. it has an older Reeves drive system and doesn't have many bells-and-whistles). I've often wished I had gone with at least a Jet 1642 or better. A PM3520B will probably be my next lathe.
    Last edited by Neal Addy; 11-17-2007 at 04:44 PM.
    I may be lost but I'm making good time!
    Three Seasons Woodturnings

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    I'd look hard at the Nova 16-24, it is a good lathe, and with one extension bed, you can easily do all the table legs you want, but I will also agree with Neal that for a little more money you get a lot more lathe.

    Have you looked at used?

    A good old Delta or such, can be fairly cheap, and then if you add a VFD and good motor, you will still be within your budget and have a great lathe.

    True the various bits and pieces along the way add up, the but they can be had one piece at a time.

    I plan on spending about $100 to $150 bucks a month on my lathe stuff, and I usually keep well within that limit......."USUALLY"....

    Thing is, for table legs etc, you need a good roughing gouge, a couple of spindle gouges and a decent skew, that will get you started, and I understand that the "Starter" sets are good value, as the other thing you need to do is learn how to sharpen your tools, and it makes little sense to learn on expensive tools.

    Anyway, welcome to the Vortex, keep asking them questions!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Welcome to the clubhouse, Scott.

    I can't believe I'm suggesting it, but I noticed this at Sears last night. If you really plan on needing a duplicator, that's probably the lowest priced entry point I've seen. I have that lathe (without the duplicator), and mine has been pretty capable, but I know others who have had problems with theirs. I will be upgrading this lathe.

    The Nova 16-24 has been well received by a lot of folks. Neal has sound advice about the price points, too.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    You will find folks pretty brand loyal to what they have. Understandable as they made a decision originally to buy Brand XYZ or whatever.
    My current, and first, lathe is the Grizzly G1067Z, about $400.00. It will do whatever you want, except larger bowls. Not much power and slowest low speed is 600 rpm. Out of balance blocks at that speed will take your house off the foundation. But, for price, probably best value on the market. I have thousands of hours on mine and don't regret the purchase. However, I'm about to move up to the Grizzly G0632 or Jet 16-42, both essentially same machine. At $1200.00 from Griz and (depending on sales) $1400.00-$1900.00 for the Jet. Much more powerful and variable speed down to zero rpm. I think duplicators are in the $500.00 price range, never shopped for one. That's an extra. Let us know what you do.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Sudbury, MA
    I have a Nova 16-24 and like it; though I haven't had time to use it much over the past few months

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Brentwood, TN
    I've owned 7 lathes and currently have a PM3520a with every factory attachment they make as well as a Oneway 1224. I have experience with every major brand other than VB and can say this unequivocally, The lathe is the one tool where what you spend on it will directly influence how much you actually enjoy using the tool. As Ken said early on, the lathe will be the "cheapest part of the deal." Good turning tools and the tons of accessories are what add up. I would strongly suggest that the first thing you should do is go to a local wood turning club meeting and you can find one in your location by going here:

    By doing this you can meet people who will allow you to try their lathes so you can get a feel for what you like. Second, it gives you a venue for good used lathes. I say that because your price line for this endeavor is more tuned to a good used Jet VS1442. I would suggest that if a new lathe is how you want to go, then if you are really serious about this, start saving more money. More than any other power tool, the quality of a lathe is directly proportional to it's price...
    Member; Society of American Period Furniture Makers

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    I totally agree with Chris. First thing since you said it wouldn't be till spring go to a turning club. Get to know some of the people and talk to them about lathes, tools, etc. If I knew back a couple of years ago what I know now I could have saved myself a lot of bucks and been where I am now a long time ago.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Scott, the more I think about it, the more I want to recant my suggestion about the Sears lathe. Although mine has given me something to start with, as I said, I will definitely be upgrading to a "real" lathe as soon as I can. I agree with the advice the others have offered about checking out a turning club and getting to know the used market a bit better. (I got my Sears lathe used, and only paid about half the retail price. I paid for it with the first ten or so pens I sold.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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