Need recommendations new lathe - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-31-2010, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Need recommendations new lathe

I had this posted in tools, think it should have been here.

I’m considering adding a lathe to my shop early next year.

I think I would like to start out turning pens, small work like wine stoppers, shave brush, etc. to be sold in my jewelry store. Also, I’d like to try bowl turning and finally, at some point I’d like to be able to turn spindles table legs, and maybe bed posts.
I saw in a review in Fine Woodworking that the 12" VS Delta midi is highly rated, but it's $750 with extension bed and I was hoping to keep my investment under $500. The same article rated the Penn State Industries 12” x 16” VS Commander with extension as a best buy at around $480, including the extension. It has a 1hp motor and variable speed down to 150RPM. I would like to know if any of you have opinions or experiences with Penn State Industries Commander lathes.

I personally like my other Rikon equipment so I might consider their lathe also, but they only offer a 1/2hp and a minimum speed of 500 RPM and I suspect I would need more power and lower speeds to turn bowls. Comments on this are requested.
I know used is a good option, but I have'nt seen any good offerings on CL in my area (Tennessee) during the last couple of months; just toy machines, Craftsman lathes with the tubular bed, and the cheap angle iron bed Harbor Freight machines that folks are trying to dump. Occasionally a big heavy machine like a $3000 PowerMatic will show up, but that's out of my league.
- Anybody have comments or suggestions.

Last edited by The Engineer; 10-31-2010 at 03:45 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-31-2010, 04:58 PM
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I own a Rikon mini and it is fast to set up different tools on it. paid around 360$ and was well worth it. you can get extensions for it, off hand i don't know how much they cost. I am able to turn a 12" max bowl. has plenty of torque for my needs. for what it sounds like you want to do with it, a mini sounds like what you need. it is big enough to turn table legs with t the extensions. woodcraft turned a 5' baseball bat and the head was around 6-7" round
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-31-2010, 05:59 PM
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Need recomendations for new lathe

I have the Ricon also and love it,It was my 1st lathe 4 yrs ago and still going strong.before I got the nova 1624-44 I was turning 10"plus bowls on it with ease.just make sure you keep the tools sharp as it is only 1/2 hp.Even though I love it,I would suggest you get the best you can afford and a the delta 1hp has a good rep so far,and may serve you better in the long run.

God Bless all
Ken Ward
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-31-2010, 06:38 PM
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Re: Need recommendations new lathe

I purchased the Jet Midi lathe with the variable speed adjustment and bed extension. The variable speed control is very nice because it gives you infinite control within each belt speed. The bed extension gives you enough length to do table legs and the like. Very nice lathe and very flexible.


"What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence".
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-31-2010, 07:04 PM
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I have the Rikon mini also and have turned some pretty good size chunks of wood on it turning bowls and vessels. If you can afford the Commander it may be worth it for the 1hp motor. Someone here just purchased on here recently I think. You may want to look for that thread.

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