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post #1 of 12 Old 10-10-2011, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Mini Lathe Question

I have carved for serveral years now and decided I would like to turn small bowls. I have never used a lathe, and just want something to get started with. I found one at Harbor Freight by Central Machine for $151.99 after discounts. Here is the info. on it.
  • Turn material up to 10" diameter and 18" long
  • Five speeds: 750, 1100, 1600, 2200 and 3200 RPM
  • Extremely sturdy cast iron construction to reduce vibration
  • 1/2 HP, 110 volt motor
  • Pull-out switch allows lock out to help prevent unwanted use
  • Includes 3" faceplate and 7" tool rest
  • Nonslip rubber feet
  • 8" x 30" footprint
  • Includes three hex wrenches, live center and spur center
Quill taper: MT-2
Would this be good for a beginner who doesn't want to spend a lot at first.
Also, they sell a chuck, is this something I would need to turn bowls. Thanks,
Thomas
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-10-2011, 11:24 PM
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Chucks make bowl turning easier. I highly recommend you take a class from an experienced turner.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-11-2011, 03:35 AM
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what a coincedence

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesus Saves! View Post
I have carved for serveral years now and decided I would like to turn small bowls. I have never used a lathe, and just want something to get started with. I found one at Harbor Freight by Central Machine for $151.99 after discounts. Here is the info. on it.
  • Turn material up to 10" diameter and 18" long
  • Five speeds: 750, 1100, 1600, 2200 and 3200 RPM
  • Extremely sturdy cast iron construction to reduce vibration
  • 1/2 HP, 110 volt motor
  • Pull-out switch allows lock out to help prevent unwanted use
  • Includes 3" faceplate and 7" tool rest
  • Nonslip rubber feet
  • 8" x 30" footprint
  • Includes three hex wrenches, live center and spur center
Quill taper: MT-2
Would this be good for a beginner who doesn't want to spend a lot at first.
Also, they sell a chuck, is this something I would need to turn bowls. Thanks,
Thomas
Had a friend come over the shop the other day,asking the same thing. The big difference he had already bought the HARBOR FREIGHT lathe and chuck. I have 2 lathe jet 10x15 and 12x20. love those machine. The first thing I went through with Trent was the safety aspect of the lathe. Told him about the professional wood turning lady that died when a piece of wood left the lathe unexpectedly hit her in the head. That got his attention.
Then he tried to explain the frustration of getting the head stock and tail stock to align it self, the wood was turning off center. Thomas this is what I told him, that unit is an accident waiting to happen. Frustration = accident.
Money is always an issue, BUTT, a trip to emergency. The money spent on the hospital bill, you could of gotten a damn nice lathe.
So as I told Trent, watch Craigs list. look in the newspaper, go to Amazon, as mention, take a class, join a club, someone is going to help you. Someone knows somebody. Go to (Web site) Penn state, Woodcraft, Packard, Craft tools, Rockler, Grizzly, watch for sales, do price comparison. You waited this long. Better to be informed, then you going (ah man that hurt). Ron Marietta Ga.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-11-2011, 06:53 AM
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I probally would not buy that one for a few reasons. One, is the low HP. 1/2hp is not very good for turning bowls. Not knocking HF but you get what you pay for sometimes and alot of their items are on the very low end. I would look up www.pennstateind.com They have a nice little mini lathe for the price. Look at Craigslist, they have some nice used lathes there also.
Donny
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-11-2011, 07:32 AM
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1/2hp is all your going to find on a lathe that size. It works, is just takes longer to turn a bowl because you have to take very small cuts. I turned for 3 days at bowlathon for empty bowls using a Jet mini that had 1/2hp motor.
I look at the HF lathe every time I visit their store. I wouldn't own it. Everything looks sloppy, has sharp edges on the castings and who knows about the quality of the motor and bearings. Jet has a great reputation for quality and standing behind the lathe. It is a lot more money but they resale better if you decide to upgrade or get rid of it later.
Chucks are nice but I turned for 10 years or more without one so they aren't necessary. I do love mine and have 4 of them now but in reality it's just a convenience.
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-11-2011, 09:15 AM
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If you take a class and get bit by the turning bug you will probably be spending some money and time behind the lathe, so I would also suggest looking into a Jet Mini-lathe. I've worked with mine for a few years now, and have been pleased that I haven't found a project yet that it can't handle. Be sure to budget for some decent tools to start with, you can actually do a lot without a chuck, but a chuck is a nice feature to have as well.

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post #7 of 12 Old 10-11-2011, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies. I knew that seemed to good to be true. My wife's uncle bought a bigger delta lathe last fall, but he lives an hour and 1/2 away. I'm going to try to get over there and let him show me some things whenever I get one. Thanks again,
Thomas

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post #8 of 12 Old 10-11-2011, 01:14 PM
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Jet 1014
http://www.jetwilton.com/us/manufacturing/en/product.html?node=4527&product=273520

Jet 1220
http://www.jetwilton.com/us/manufacturing/en/product.html?node=4527&product=273524

46-555
http://www.deltamachinery.com/products/lathes/item/46-455?category_id=5

46-460
http://www.deltamachinery.com/products/lathes/item/46-460?category_id=5

If all you can afford now is HF lathe, it will work. Lathe with 700 RPM as slowest speed would not be my first choice for turning bowls. My first lathe slowest speed was 800 RPM’s, so speaking from experience. Bowl turners like 500 or less RPM’s on a lathes.

Like John said can turn a bowl on Jet mini with 1/2 HP, slow speed on that is 500 RPM’s. That indexing feature allows you to carve your bowls too. Resale value will be much better than HF.

Delta, Jet, and Rikon mini lathes very popular with turners new and old turners. Some models offer optional bed extensions, a wise investment.

I sold my Jet mini for $125 after eight to ten years, nothing wrong with it just wanted more room in my shop.
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-11-2011, 09:50 PM
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Hey I have 8x12 H.F. lathe. And never had any trouble with it. It's nice little lathe it's used and i got great deal on it. It nice for turning pens and small things. I mostly make pens.

Craig Lorence
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-13-2011, 05:04 PM
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I realize I'm definitely outnumbered here, but I have the lathe being asked about. I was just getting into turning, and didnt have the money to spend on a jet or delta. I have had no problems with the HF lathe, and have actually been pretty pleased with it. I started with a couple of pens and letter openers, but have since turned some 6 inch diameter bowls, a travel mug, and am now working on restoring an old kitchen chair back for me dad. I havent had any issues with it, and am pretty pleased. Also, just to note, the excelsior extension bed sold at Rockler fits this lathe perfectly. Again, I'm no expert (just getting into it) but those are my $.02

Haddy
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post #11 of 12 Old 10-13-2011, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. I actually ended up ordering it today before the sale went off just to kind of get started. I figured if it wasn't any good, I wouldn't have too much in it. I try to post once I get a chance to actually use it. I am a beginner and know almost nothing about turning. But, I have a few friends who will help guide me along. I sure, I'll have more questions. Thanks for the all the advice, I'm not going against the most of you. Just working with the funds availabe for the time being. May God Bless You All,
Thomas

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post #12 of 12 Old 10-14-2011, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawdustfactory View Post
Chucks make bowl turning easier. I highly recommend you take a class from an experienced turner.
I would actualy recomend face plates for begeners, because they are cheep, and the stock does not have to meet any size specifications
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