The New Guy
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Down south, where the food is good.
To make a long story much shorter, I recently decided that I need a lathe. For now, I would only be turning relatively small items, nothing bigger than about 3 inch diameter or longer than 6 inches. I would like to get a lathe that can handle much bigger things though. Eventually, some bowls and platters and the like. Unfortunately, that's about all I know of lathes. I don't know if it would be better for me to get a small mini lathe now, and a bigger one later, or just get the big one now because I suppose you can turn a small item on a big lathe.
For now, I'll be making my own custom feet for cutting boards, and will need to be able to turn without the use of the tailstock since I'll have to make some cuts into the end of each foot. I guess I could use a forstner bit and a drill, but I'd like to just do it all on the lathe so it's nice and perfectly centered, and flat bottomed.
Are there mini lathes capable of doing this? What kind of chuck would I need to do hold the piece without a tailstock? I do, of course, not want to spend a ton of money. I'd like to stay in the $500 range. Is what I want to do way out of my price range, or am I at least in the ball park? Are there any brands to avoid, or to look for, or other such advice that you more seasoned turners can offer?