After our Craftsman 12" lathe motor bearing gave up the ghost we immediately got in a couple of orders for pens (my youngest is following suit and making and selling pens to help fund his college tuition) so we had to do something quick. That something was to head on over to Sears and check out an inexpensive lathe.
I spotted the Craftsman 3-Speed mini-lathe there for $180 and started to look it over. They had it screwed to the shelf so I leaned down and picked one up and almost threw it across the store! I seriously thought it was the box the display model came in until I realized this box was sealed! 12 pounds is all this thing weighs! 12!!!
We left Sears and went over to HF because I remembered they were having a big sidewalk sale and maybe we could find a small lathe there that we could get cheap until ours is repaired. I mean really, if it lasted long enough to turn a few pens for Jake then it will pay for itself pretty quick.
I found the two they had on display and noted that only one of them had a variable speed control and the other had a belt and pulleys which we were used to anyways. The other unit had a 1/2 hp motor and was twice as heavy as the smaller one but I didn't want to sink over $200 in a mini until we were really up and running so we picked up the smaller one. The small one also has a #1MT where the bigger one was a #2MT. Our Craftsman is a #1MT so that really made the choice easy! This is where it got tricky...
The display model had a flier on it that showed the regular price of $149.99, a sale price of $109 and an Inside Track Club member price of $87. With all that in mind and knowing I don't want Inside Track, I did want the sale price and I had a 20% coupon in my pocket that is also good on sale items which brought it down to the $87 price anyways.
Long story short, the lathe wasn't on sale but since it was shown that way they did honor the sale price and never skipped a beat when I pulled out the coupon. I did buy the 2 year warranty which covers the lathe from stem to stern for $20 so the final price was $116 after taxes.
I have to tell you, this thing is pretty stout for an $87 lathe! It weighs in at just under 50 pounds since it is cast iron!
Jake read the instructions and the lathe went together pretty easy.
Here's Jake making what looks like mustard powder! This is his first and he has already made two others since and loves this little brute!
So far so good. Like I said, with a two year warranty I could care less if I have to replace it ten times since HF is less than three miles from the house! That said, I'll give it a few more pens and we'll see how things are still turning then.