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    Howdy all,
    I'm considering purchasing a lathe after the first of the year. For those of you who are also turners, I have a couple of questions (ok, a few).
    Can I turn little stuff on a midi or full-size lathe?
    I'm leaning toward a Jet full-zize lathe as I've been happy with my Jet tools but am open for others to look at. I had looked at the Carba-tec mini but I think the lathe will end up getting used as much for furniture as for little stuff so I'd rather just buy one once.
    What would be considered a good basic set of starter tools for the lathe as well?
    How often do you need to sharpen the chisels and such?
    Thanks in advance.
    Kevin
    Scrollsaw Patterns Online
    Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671

  • #2
    Originally posted by Jediscroller
    Howdy all,
    I'm considering purchasing a lathe after the first of the year. For those of you who are also turners, I have a couple of questions (ok, a few).
    Can I turn little stuff on a midi or full-size lathe?
    I'm leaning toward a Jet full-zize lathe as I've been happy with my Jet tools but am open for others to look at. I had looked at the Carba-tec mini but I think the lathe will end up getting used as much for furniture as for little stuff so I'd rather just buy one once.
    What would be considered a good basic set of starter tools for the lathe as well?
    How often do you need to sharpen the chisels and such?
    Thanks in advance.
    Welcome to the abyss....... Once you start spinning, your other tools will be used to stack and store turning blocks!!

    You can turn little stuff on big lathes, but not big stuff on little lathes.

    Choice in lathe depends on your needs. I am very happy with my starter lathe, Jet mini, and will keep it when I upgrade this coming summer to a PM3520b. Size depends on what you plan to do. Big bowls require a lathe with a slow lower speed (100 rpms).

    Harbor Frieght makes a HS steel set for spindles (about $35). for bowls, a 3/8 or 1/2 " bowl gouge will get you started. you'll need a low speed grinder to sharpen. sharpening depends on the piece of wood you are turning. I sharpen often as the best cut is off a sharp tool.

    PM headed your way.

    Good luck!
    ‎"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They're easier to ignore before you see their faces. It's easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes."

    D. Platt

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    • #3
      Hi Kevin;
      You got some great advice from bearfretworks. By all means get the full size one if you have room for it. I started with a Jet Mini. Great little lathe but I soon outgrew it and sold it for half price. It costs less in the long run to buy the big one first . I don't have room (or money) for two so I had to part with my little one..

      PM on the way also.
      W.Y.
      http://www.picturetrail.com/willyswoodcrafting

      The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

      Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .

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      • #4
        Lathe

        I have the Jet 1236 a mid size I guess they call it. If you look on my web site I have turned small stuff and not much big stuff. The tools make more in how small you can turn on the bigger lathe I think. http://www.scrollsaws.com
        Rick Hutcheson
        http://www.scrollsaws.com

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        • #5
          Barry pointed you in the right direction. As for slow speed grinder, Harbor freight , although I dont care for most of their powertools, has a real nice slow speed grinder with a wet wheel Item number 35098-ovga .The little extra money you spend on good quality tools will pay off quickly. I would suggest Robert Sorby tools, or Marples , both great tools. I also have a few very old Craftsman tools that are my favorites, and they are available on ebay frequently. And, if you see a nice turning tool set for $10, chances are you will be disappointed if you gamble on them. Dale
          Dale w/ yella saws

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          • #6
            I have the Delta Midi and really like it. I do pen and pencil sets for quick gifts, and other things as needed. I agree with the others, though. If you have the room, go for the bigger lathe. I can do small bowls and vessels in my Delta, but anything big is beyond my capability.

            I also agree about the tools. Get good HSS cutters and a slow-speed grinder. I also got the Wolverine sharpening system and like the help it provides. The rests let me get a good, clean edge on my tools.

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            • #7
              Kevin, I'm sure that you have already purchased a lathe by now. Just joined today so I'll go ahead and put my two cents in. I have the Jet 1236 and love it. I've turned 12" bowls down to pens and pencils & miniature bird house ornaments & 1/2" spin tops. This is a good lathe for the money. The stand is a little on the light side but I added a wood shelf & added a couple bags of sand to weight it down & cut down on vibration while truing the turning on large blanks.

              I also have Robert Sorby tools they are a little more pricy but they hold their edge longer and are balanced. Crown tools are also good. However I have made a couple of scrapers, curved & straight, out of a piece of spring steel from a trucks springs, turned the handles & used copper tube for the ferrels. They work great. One thing to keep in mind too is that no matter what tools you get you'll want to sharpen them. They are shapped but not ready to use so even when I get a new tool I'll touch it up on the grinder first.

              As for sharpening the chisels, I have my slow speed grinder close to my lathe so I can sharpen them as they get dull. After turning a while you'll learn by the way it is cutting when to touch it to the grinder. Learn the different grinds you can put on each tool & for what purpose you are going to use it. Once you get the grind you want it isn't hard to touch it up as needed. Use a aluminum oxide wheels, it keeps down heat on the tool. You don't want to blue the tips of the tools, it will make the steel hard & it won't hold an edge well.

              It's a good idea to get a good grinding jig to be able to keep the same angle on your tools once you get it the way you like it. There are a lot of home made ones that work ok but the one that I ended up with came from WoodCraft. It's a Wolverine Grinding Jig and is about 89.00 which may sound like a lot but it's well worth it.

              Are you just now starting to turn? I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Turning is my favorite thing to do. Let me know which lathe you decide on. Hope this helps. Let the shavings fly and have some fun! Happy Turning!
              Troy

              Scrollin' with DeWalt DW788

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              • #8
                I, too, have a JET mini that I am very satisfied with. I only do pens and other small projects and it is terrific for those projects. If you anticipate wanting to do larger projects, by all means get a larger lathe. You can very well do pens etc. on a big lathe.

                And I highly recommend starting off with a set of the $35 Harbor Freight chisels!! You can get a full set for the price of a single high end tool. After you have some practice using them and sharpening them, you can step up to nicer tools if you wish. Do you really want to "LEARN" how th sharpen tools using your $100 skew??

                Many folks I know never move on to more expensive brands. Don't fall into the trap of starting off with a set of the smaller or miniature tools. Learn on standard sized tools and buy the smaller ones later if you wish. I started of t with the small ones because I was only doing pens and then bought the Harbor Freight set on the recommendation of a long time turner. mini tools now get used only for special needs.....about 1% of my total turning time...and i still only do pens and other small projects!!

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                • #9
                  Jet is having a sale right now...think it ends at the end of this month. very good savings and rebates. I picked up the variable speed, and indexing, mini lathe for 299.00. That's a steal, almost 150.00 savings, and it's their newest release. I like variable speed alot, big time saver, and the indexing also allows you to lock the head for easier chuck or faceplate removal.

                  Lets get lathes and scroll some pens. Even with this budget lathe I figure my first pen will end up costing me $750 ! lol.
                  Jeff Powell

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                  • #10
                    I just wanted to say i hate u all cause now i want a lathe. But i want a full size and have no room for it does anyone have the jet mini with the extention if so how does it work meaning is it stable or is it not worth it.

                    Thanks Mike

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