Harbor Freight 8" x 12" Bench Top Wood Lathe - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-20-2010, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Harbor Freight 8" x 12" Bench Top Wood Lathe

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!


Today's pen...


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.

Mac

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17

Last edited by Mr Mac; 10-20-2010 at 06:47 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 04-07-2011, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
The village amadán.
 
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It has been six months now and the HF 8x12" lathe is still running strong! We have used and abused this little guy and can't seem to hurt it. While I know HF is not the best place in the world to buy power tools, I also know that every once in a while a blind squirrel finds an acorn and we just might be that squirrel in this case. For the money it is hard to beat this lathe with its variable speed motor and vibration free operation at all speeds.

If I had any complaint at all it would be that there is no way of manually turning the head stock without grabbing the threaded portion of the headstock or the Morse taper itself. Yes, it's a nit-picky thing, but for now it's the only real negative so far for a pen making lathe.

Mac

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
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post #3 of 4 Old 04-07-2011, 04:25 PM
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Thanks for this information, Mac.

When I bought my HF 10" x 18" lathe, this is the one I was originally looking at. But because my local HF didn't have it in stock I went with the next size up. Glad to hear this is working out for you guys.

Gakkuri
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post #4 of 4 Old 04-07-2011, 07:07 PM
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Thanks for the info. After all the props lately I'm seriously considering picking up one of these things.
--Matt
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