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post #1 of 4 Old 02-22-2017, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone!

Hi, my name is James and I live in San Diego. I've always had a passion for woodworking since taking two years of woodshop in Jr. High. I remember being mesmerized by what people were able to make and realizing you're only limited by your creativity. I knew back then I wanted to return to wood working but there was always something else that got in the way. I did make some items like a work bench for my garage from the old Readers Digest books but never fully invested.

I like to smoke cigars in the garage and it finally dawned on me I could be doing something else (like woodworking) while smoking. I wasn't sure what I wanted to start with but eventually I decided to turn pens and other small wood items. I'm researching lathe's now and it seems the consensus is to buy the best you can afford. I do subscribe to the "buy nice or buy twice" philosophy but I'm not sure I need an $800+ lathe.

I found a local class that will teach me to create a pen for $95. Do you think that's a good start or is it easy enough to just figure out? I've never turned wood so it's a true first for me.

I'm looking at the Penn State starter kit. which contains the Turncrafter Commander 10 in. Variable Speed Midi Lathe. Does anyone have feedback on those or recommendations on other options? Long term, is variable speed better than multi speed? I'm having trouble determining which is better for what I want to do but it seems variable is the way to go.

If you're still reading, Thank you. I look forward to getting to know you and absorbing any knowledge you're willing to part with. In the meantime, I'm going to explore the forum and see if I can answer my own questions.

Thanks for having me.

James

Last edited by jamespz03; 02-22-2017 at 04:48 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-22-2017, 05:46 PM
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Welcome to the site James

I bought a little lathe for the grand kids to turn pens on (that lasted until the new wore off LOL) but I have turned a few hundred pens on it I think it was $195, but I didn't want to turn them loose on my 3 hp lathe, too many things could go wrong real fast

Just watch some You Tube vids to learn how, it took me about 30 minutes to teach the kids how to do it and the safety things to know about turning it.

I got the lathe from Craft USA or it might be called the wood turners catalog
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post #3 of 4 Old 02-22-2017, 05:49 PM
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Here it their website, and they have all sorts of lathes to choose from, if you want to spend a couple extra bucks you can get a mini you can buy extensions for the bed to turn longer spindles

https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/
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post #4 of 4 Old 02-23-2017, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information and welcome Cat.
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