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post #1 of 14 Old 12-17-2011, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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First time lathe

So I took a wood working class for several years then took a 1 year break and want to get back into it. So I am buying a lathe for myself. I have been researching for several days now and can't figure out a good beginners lathe. My budget is around $200 and I will be doing mainly pens but also want to do bowls and handels(ice-cream scoops, screwdriver, ect.)

So I found this one: Click Here
My concern on this one is some of the customer reviews about the mandrel shaking and the belt breaking.

I also found this one: Click Here
Which is all over the internet as just a generic cheap lathe. I also found a very similar looking lathe on Amazon (Here) and I am concerned that if they are the same then I can't turn pens and it will be very cheap.

Another one I found: http://www.amazon.com/SHOP-W1704-3-Horsepower-Benchtop-Lathe/dp/B001R23SWW/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_tMy only concern with this lathe is one of the customer reviews says his mandrel was acting funny and wobbling; he ended up fixing it because he knew a lot about lathes but if I received mine and it had this I don't think I would be able to fix it.

The last potential one I found is: Click Here
My concerns with this one is 1. Many reviewers said the mandrel will not fit 7mm pen tubes or bushings but 1 easily solved this by sanding down the mandrel a bit. 2. It can only turn thing 4" in diameter so I would have to buy a new lathe if I wanted to make bowls.

So please, tell me what you think I should go with. Please include links to different ones I did not mention. Thanks!

EDIT: This was originally in the power tools thread but I posted it here to get better/more replies.
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-17-2011, 07:19 PM
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My thoughts are that you will not be satisfied with any of those lathes for long and then will be stuck with something that has no resale value.
Shop around for a used Jet, Delta or Rikon. The Rikon mini new is above what you want to spend but is a great starter lathe that would still be great to have around when and if you go to a bigger lathe.
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/200...del-70100.aspx
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-17-2011, 07:46 PM
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My first(and only)lathe is a chintzy little Delta LA200. No variable speed, reverse, or other bells and whistles. It is a solid little machine though, And has taken whatever I've thrown at it. I'ts currently got an 8" cube of dusty dry mesquite on the faceplate (got it roughly round before I lost light).
I guess what I'm sayin' is, although the best in class is nice to have, the operator has a lot to do with the output of most any machine tool.
Good luck with your hunt, but don't pass up a machine because of what you've heard or read. Get personal with one, see how it feels.

Mick

Life's too short to _________(fill in the blank)
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-17-2011, 08:35 PM
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I have to agree with the others.
The ones Whaler and Mickit listed may be slightly more than you want to spend but at least you will get a quality built lathe. The club I go to has Jets and Rikons in mini lathes (8 I think) and they get extensive use at schools, fairs, charity events with nary a hitch that I have heard of.
If you read the thread below "Itchytoe – Newbie questions”; wildwood did a very through job is defining specs on a good starter lathe.
His link is a good one. http://www.nealaddy.org/pub/Lathe_List.html
While not the first choice, if you live in a fair size city Craig’s List may help you out. My first lathe was a mono tube Jet and I would much rather have it with its limitations than some others. They can be had here for normally <150, sometime <100.
I would rather have a used decent Ford than a new Yugo.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-17-2011, 08:48 PM
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I know that it is more than your budget, but my suggestion is to save up and purchase one that will last you a little longer. I just bought a http://www.amazon.com/Delta-Industrial-46-460-2-Inch-Variable-Speed/dp/B00309ZZRQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324172865&sr=8-1mini lathe and thus far, am pretty happy with it.

There is a very fine line between a "hobby" and a "mental illness"
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-17-2011, 09:11 PM
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I agree with kenbo but your budget is alot lower
if it was me and had a budget of 200 i probably would buy one cheaper because i couldnt wait lol
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-17-2011, 09:37 PM
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If your budget cannot stretch beyond $200, I recommend you look at the Harbor Freight model 65345:

http://www.harborfreight.com/5-speed...the-65345.html

Note that there is nearly always a 20% discount coupon in Wood Magazine which will get you $44 off the "full list price" of $219 (making it cheaper than the current "sale price" of $194). Last year HF gave 25% off any single item on New Years Day, don't know if they will repeat the offer.

This lathe is not better than many of the lathes recommended to you (Rikon, Jet, Delta) but is substantially cheaper than you will find any of them new.

I believe it is better than the 4 items you had identified in your first post, having a 1/2 HP motor (compared to the 1/3 HP on the Shop Fox).

Some people say that HF makes poor quality equipment -- my experience is that (a) this lathe is identical to the one sold under several other labels at significantly lower cost, and (b) if there is any problem, HF do all they can to solve it.

Please visit my website, Fruit of the Lathe
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-17-2011, 10:19 PM
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If your budget is $200 I would keep an eye on your local craigs list for a nice used lathe. If your not sure if it's a good deal or not post it here and folks will come out of the woodwork (pun intended ) to help you out.
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-17-2011, 10:31 PM
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I don't do pens but I've had this for 3 years

http://www.harborfreight.com/12-inch...ead-34706.html

only problem I've had is the banjo broke after about
6 months HF sent me a new one took 2 weeks to get
it and after 2 years I had to replace the belt

the only thing I don't lihe is it's a little under powered
and a little to fast for large out of balance stuff,makes
the pucker factor kick in when chasing the lathe across
the shop
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post #10 of 14 Old 12-17-2011, 10:36 PM
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money versus mfg support

Quote:
Originally Posted by NNJG_Matt View Post
So I took a wood working class for several years then took a 1 year break and want to get back into it. So I am buying a lathe for myself. I have been researching for several days now and can't figure out a good beginners lathe. My budget is around $200 and I will be doing mainly pens but also want to do bowls and handels(ice-cream scoops, screwdriver, ect.)

So I found this one: Click Here
My concern on this one is some of the customer reviews about the mandrel shaking and the belt breaking.

I also found this one: Click Here
Which is all over the internet as just a generic cheap lathe. I also found a very similar looking lathe on Amazon (Here) and I am concerned that if they are the same then I can't turn pens and it will be very cheap.

Another one I found: Click Here
My only concern with this lathe is one of the customer reviews says his mandrel was acting funny and wobbling; he ended up fixing it because he knew a lot about lathes but if I received mine and it had this I don't think I would be able to fix it.

The last potential one I found is: Click Here
My concerns with this one is 1. Many reviewers said the mandrel will not fit 7mm pen tubes or bushings but 1 easily solved this by sanding down the mandrel a bit. 2. It can only turn thing 4" in diameter so I would have to buy a new lathe if I wanted to make bowls.

So please, tell me what you think I should go with. Please include links to different ones I did not mention. Thanks!

EDIT: This was originally in the power tools thread but I posted it here to get better/more replies.
I don,t care if it's 50 bucks or 10,000, you have a problem, no support from the manufacturer,(lathe) = 100 lbs paper weight. I only buy Jet products for that reason, easy access and there support group for me is the best.
Ron Marietta Ga.
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post #11 of 14 Old 12-18-2011, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronjboucher View Post
I don,t care if it's 50 bucks or 10,000, you have a problem, no support from the manufacturer,(lathe) = 100 lbs paper weight. I only buy Jet products for that reason, easy access and there support group for me is the best.
Ron Marietta Ga.
I agree, buy a used Jet mini, I found one with a stand and some turning tools for $220.00.
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post #12 of 14 Old 12-19-2011, 09:05 PM
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I'm currently down to three lathes. The smallest is also my first - a Record lathe from about 1994. It's great for pens, but it's not sold anymore so that's not an option. It's heavy, solid, and runs true.

If you go cheap, you get what you pay for. I see someone recommended a HF "lathe" and in the same sentence mentioned how quickly they replaced the broken banjo six months in. What???? "He's a great doctor - the one time he accidentally cut off my arm, he was able to sew it right back on with almost no scar!"

Call me crazy, heck my shrink does, but when I buy a car, I don't want it to come with access to a great mechanic - I want it to be built so good I never need that mechanic. Same for my tools.

Put the $200 under your mattress until you can add a bit more to it. Keep searching Craigslist for someone who bought all the good stuff and then decided they just weren't into it, or that they wanted something bigger. But if you buy a lemon now, you will either get frustrated by it's limitations and quit turning, or you'll want to buy another and because you've already spent $200 you'll have to wait that much longer before you can do so.

Insert witty signature line here.
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post #13 of 14 Old 12-20-2011, 12:13 AM
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I got my Jet mini on craigslist for under $200. I certainly didn't pay more than $175 but I think it was more like $140. Look around for used gear, put a post in the classifieds here listing your wants/needs and price range. Find your local turning club and look in their classifieds section (be it a newsletter, bulletin board or whatever) and make friends with a couple of folks who turn what you're interested in turning. Get a feel for a couple of different machines (if you can) and find out what features actually matter to you.

I have to change my belts around to vary my speed but I find I can do it in about 30 seconds and it gives my hands a nice break from gripping too hard (I'm still a newb) on my tool handles. With a "dial a speed" I wouldn't get that break. Baby steps aren't necessarily bad (as far as having to upgrade in the future) if you use them as learning opportunities.

I would recommend the harbor freight option that is basically the same as the Jet or Rikon 1014 size... lots of decent reviews of it as a "starter" and even a few darn good turners who say it's a great little machine for turning small stuff like you mentioned. The price is right and it will get you turning if you absolutely must get started right away. It won't have a great resale value, but it will likely be better than all the options you listed.
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post #14 of 14 Old 12-20-2011, 01:37 PM
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Up your sights and you'll be happier

I recommend you raise your sights a bit and go for a Jet or other brand that will hold its value plus give you a much better turning experience.
I've got a Jet 1014 mini, its solid and well built which those you're looking at lack. It will work great for your pens and it can handle bowls as well.
Although, its a bit underpowered for making heavy cuts on a 9x4 bowl you can do it - you just won't be a production turner with it. Just have to learn to make lighter cuts and gain better control of your cuts, which is never a bad thing!
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