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  • Lathe question

    I have a little extra money and decided to purchase a lathe. I've used one from time to time and have always wanted one of my own. There are so many options out there! I have tried reading reviews and tips online. I've shopped around a little but the number of choices are too overwhelming. I don't really want to spend more than $300 on a lathe. Grizzly has some in my price range. Some are variable speed and others are not. Shop Fox also has some that are affordable but they are not variable speed.

    I imagine will will turn some pens and bowls but I might also want to turn some larger things eventually too. I don't want to end up with something too short but the longer ones are pricey.

    And what about chucks? Do I need to buy a set of chucks for pens and something else for bowls?

    I can't find a turning forum that is all that user friendly. I know Fox Chapel sells turning magazines but I didn't notice a turning forum hosted by Fox Chapel.

    I'd welcome any advice the good people here can offer.

    Thanks.
    Keith

  • #2
    That is a tough question Keith. Some of the really inexpensive laths have plastic handles for the tail stock and tool rest that will not hold up.
    Make sure that the tail stock and head taper are #2, that is for the live center and drive spurs.
    1" by 8 threads per inch spindle thread. The concern I have with the Grizzly T25920 - 12" x 18" is that it's lowest speed is 650 a bit high if you are turning something bigger and out of round. I would consider a used lathe but not one of the really old ones, like Shopsmith Craftsman etc. Look for a used Jet Mini or midi lath.
    I am sure you will get lots of suggestions. But be warned turning is a black hole that will suck you in.

    For pens you will need a mandrel, for bowls you can get away with a face plate and a face plate screw chuck. But at some point you will want a Chuck with different jaws.
    You don't need lots of tools But a sharpening setup is very important! As a minimum you need a roughing gauge, a bowl gauge, a skew and a parting tool.

    I buy a lot of my tools and chucks from this guy great tools and prices. http://www.thewoodturningstore.com/ He also has some excellent videos. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChZ...cn6ZKgz-WwUhRw


    I started with a used Jet 1236 with the Reeves drive, its lowest speed was 500 still a bit high but OK. $250 was a great price and I used it for many years. I now have a Nova DVR XP 16-24,. Love the lathe but found that the bed was too short and just added a 20 inch extension.
    Rolf
    RBI G4 Hawk, Delta SS350, Nova 1624 DVR XP
    Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
    Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
    And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

    Comment


    • #3
      Bruce has a delta mini with an extension. He uses it for pens, pepper grinders, small bowls, bottle stoppers, etc. he really likes it. That is my complete knowledge of lathes.
      Betty

      "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital

      Comment


      • #4
        I do not want to discourage, but the lathe is only part of it. Then there are tools, Chucks, sharpener for your tools, the list goes on. But, Keep in mind, you do not have to have it all at once. Make sure you do a lot of study and shopping, to avoid wasting money. It is worth it to buy quality, but do not get carried away. I purchased a set of Harbor Freight turning tools, not their cheapest, their best, and I still have them and use them, I just have to sharpen them more often then I would with some more expensive tools. I now have a Delta lathe, a mini and it is limited, in the size of things I can turn but a good lathe. There are others just as good. You do want variable speed. It is just a lot nicer than changing the belt to different pulleys, just like on a scroll saw. A great place to start is penturners.org. It is the premier pen turning forum.

        Pen turning is really fun and a great hobby. But it just got too expensive for me. Pen kits that I use to pay a couple bucks for are not $7 - $10. I still have lots and lots of pen kits, blanks and what have you from the pen turning days. May or may not ever use them.

        Good luck. It is fun, much more expensive than scrolling,,, but I had a great time with it. I did not sell, people just would not pay in my local, but others, like scrolling are able to make some off of it. It took over my life for a few years,,,,
        AKA Paul from Washington State
        Hegner Multimax 22-V and Seyco ST-21

        Comment


        • #5
          Welcome to the money pit. I have a nova 1624. It has 7 speeds that you have to change the belts. I would love to have a variable speed but I am not turning that much so it is fine. I have done lots of bowls and pens. I have run out of friends to give stuff too. I am not about to start selling.
          I now only turn Wigs Stands for Cancer Patients and Pens for Peace Keepers. Fun and keeps up my skills.

          As stated above there are lots of accessories that you will want.

          Our club has a couple of big Delta lathes and 4 General Midis and one Rikon variable speed lathe. The Generals are wearing out and so we now are going to buy Rikons as they have a 5 year warranty. The guys who use it like it a lot.

          My advice is to look around a lot and buy the best you can afford as you will eventually want a bigger lathe.
          Don McFarland ​Member - Durham Woodworking Club http://www.durhamwoodworkingclub.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            I'd look for a good Delta or Jet Midi (1220). If you go for an older lathe, make sure it runs smoothly. If someone is selling a pile of parts to be put together walk away fast or don't even go there.

            Don't do Shopsmith. They use a plastic connector between the drive pulley and the quill which will wear out after awhile. Then it gets really sloppy and chattery. I must have replaced about 6 of those things before I gave up and got a real lathe (Jet VS1221).

            A set of gouges will cost around $100 for a good beginner set. A decent sharpening system may cost as much as the lathe.

            Good luck and have fun with it.
            Tony

            My Son-in-law said "Darnit, I cut this board twice, now. And it's still too short."

            Comment


            • #7
              I learned to use a lathe several years ago, and I love what you can do with them. I don't have one myself, and have no burning desire to go that direction right now (or place to put one). But I found this thread really insightful and interesting. The open discussion and ideas here are wonderful for inspiring new directions while not running blindly toward a new "toy". This forum and all of your input is incredible!
              Linda at www.ArtIngrained.com

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree with you Linda, this forum has helped me a great deal over the years. I just wish we could get back to some of it's former membership.

                When it comes to turning tools, I personally prefer tools that I have to sharpen. That said there are many tools on the market that use carbide inserts that eliminate the need for sharpening. But they are currently more expensive. I talked to the owner of the thewoodturning store (linked above) and he is working on a significantly cheaper set of of carbide tools with inserts.
                This is not to discourage you, but a bit of a heads up.
                Last edited by Rolf; 10-11-2017, 09:05 AM.
                Rolf
                RBI G4 Hawk, Delta SS350, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

                Comment


                • #9
                  Interesting comment about the Shopsmith. I bought a used one 25+ years ago and never had a problem. The good thing is that they are so flexible. I use mine for turning but do not do a lot or larger pieces which would stress any lathe. I would think turning larger pieces and roughing them would be hard on a lathe.

                  I use mine a lot for sanding. I have a 6 x 9 pneumatic drum sander and a smaller one. The variable speed is a plus. I also have a drill chuck to use a Mac Mop or flap sander. It also makes a great drill press. I built a flat sander to use with the Shopsmith.

                  Unfortunately, spending only $300 on a lathe will not get too much. You need tools and especially need sharpening stuff. It seems like nothing is cheap with woodworking.

                  I think I paid $125 for my Shopsmith many years ago and well worth it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Antique shops. About 8 years ago we stopped at an antique shop on our way to the shore. They had an old set of 5 turning tools for $25. Bruce turned new handles for them, sharpened them and he uses them all the time when he turns.He says they seem to stay sharper longer. We've also seen them at yard sales and flea markets. Estate sales would also be a good place to look. He does have one grinder that he uses exclusively to sharpen his turning tools and some sort of angle guide. Check to see if you have a local turning club in your area. They are a wealth of information. You can usually attend a meeting or two before joining. Bruce's has world renown turners visit his club for seminars. Cindy Drozda when she in in town for the January American Craft show, Jimmy Klews (?) has been there a time or two and some others I can't remember. If there isn't a turning club, look for a woodworkers club as they have all woodworkers. Bruce's has scroll saw, furniture makers, turners, etc. Good luck and have fun!!!
                    Betty

                    "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Quartz43 View Post
                      Interesting comment about the Shopsmith. I bought a used one 25+ years ago and never had a problem. The good thing is that they are so flexible. I use mine for turning but do not do a lot or larger pieces which would stress any lathe. I would think turning larger pieces and roughing them would be hard on a lathe.

                      I use mine a lot for sanding. I have a 6 x 9 pneumatic drum sander and a smaller one. The variable speed is a plus. I also have a drill chuck to use a Mac Mop or flap sander. It also makes a great drill press. I built a flat sander to use with the Shopsmith.

                      Unfortunately, spending only $300 on a lathe will not get too much. You need tools and especially need sharpening stuff. It seems like nothing is cheap with woodworking.

                      I think I paid $125 for my Shopsmith many years ago and well worth it.
                      Not knocking Shopsmith. I used mine for more than 30 years. It was finally being used for the table saw, only. They are good all-purpose hobby machines. But that connector was a problem on mine. Company had fix for it either.

                      When the table got so I couldn't align it anymore, and SS wanted $475 for a tble, I sold it and bought a table saw. I already had all the other tools.
                      Tony

                      My Son-in-law said "Darnit, I cut this board twice, now. And it's still too short."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have a question for you Quartz, regarding the variable speed ShopSmith. I had read (many years ago) that the variable speed function had to be returned to slow when turning off the lathe and when turned back on returned to higher speed. Supposedly it did not have enough torque to start at high speed. Being that you have one is that true? I always thought that it was a bogus review by someone who didn't know what they were doing.
                        I had inherited my Dad's old belt driven one but sold it, I have never been a fan of mutifunction /purpose tools. plus it was too big for my space.

                        Just looked at the Mark 7 Shop smith Interesting machine especially the motor, not cheap.
                        Last edited by Rolf; 10-11-2017, 05:35 PM.
                        Rolf
                        RBI G4 Hawk, Delta SS350, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                        Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                        Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                        And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I do not return it to slow and have never had a problem.

                          I have a full shop with Sawstop PCS, 2 bandsaw, thickness planers, 5 hp Dust collector, etc. And yet, I still find the Shopsmith an amazing tool for lots of things. It is easy to build your own tools like I did with a flat sander, drum sander, buffer and others. It is just very flexible. Is it a great lathe...not really but does a reasonable job.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I decided on a Grizzly. It was within my price range and I think it has the potential to do what I am hoping it can do. It should be here Monday. I'm excited to try it out. I've been reading and watching videos. I might order a couple of turning books from Fox Chapel.

                            Just like any other adventure, I'm sure I will add more tools and toys to this hobby and finances allow. Right now I am anxious to get in there and learn.
                            Keith

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Keith,

                              Which model did you buy?
                              How exciting! A new tool and adventure. We did warn you about the addiction.

                              Check out these videos, they are very helpful. He has lots of great videos
                              https://video.search.yahoo.com/searc...ab&action=view
                              Rolf
                              RBI G4 Hawk, Delta SS350, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                              Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                              Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                              And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

                              Comment

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