Chuck....You can get by with a lathe, a cheap set of tools, sharpening equipment and safety equipment. You won't want to turn without the sharpening equipment and a face shield........Not for long anyway.
Last year at another site, I was given a lathe, chuck, tools and video and even some turing blanks. Near as I can figure those crazy idiots...some of whom are members here, gave me over $1000 in tools etc..........I figure I've spent another $2000-3000. My tool purchase alone cost me nearly $400. You can do it cheaper.......I got to teasing the turners and they got their revenge.....Of course, I smile alot more these days!
You can ease into it, however.
And the answer Lee, tod, Vaughn, Steve and others......
"My shop still isn't finished......but I'm turning!"
Get that shop finished Ken