Wanting to buy a Lathe for my wife. Need some input. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-10-2018, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Wanting to buy a Lathe for my wife. Need some input.

So my wife loves woodworking, and recently she has been taking these monthly classes on how to "Lathe"

Now forgive me, I'm not a woodworker in any way. This is her thing. So I'm ignorant when it comes to this stuff.

She's been really happy doing this and has expressed a desire to want to purchase a Lathe. Well, after doing some sluthing of my own, I found a particular one that she would like to have, and I want to get it for her as a surprise gift. (She let me buy a new $1,000 guitar, so I kind of want to return the favor)

This was the one she was interested in: https://www.woodcraft.com/products/j...the?sku=856325

I want to make sure before spending a bunch of money, that this would be a good purchase. I want to make sure this is something that she can use for a long time, and not outgrow, or (Oh this only does this type of lathing, not that type, I need another one now) Make sense?

Just looking for some feedback.
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-10-2018, 01:17 PM
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If she is just starting you need more than just a lathe. You also need a set of turning tools, sharpening tools, chucks, and safety gear. Just something to think about.


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post #3 of 14 Old 09-10-2018, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Is a turner tool or kit something I should pick up for her in like a set, or would it be better to say "Here honey, here is your lathe, and here's $100 bucks for tools and safety gear"

/She already has some safety equipment anyway, unless Lathe safety gear is different.
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-10-2018, 01:34 PM
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If it were me id rather have the flexibility of cash. Some people are really good at finding great deals on craigslist or ebay for stuff like this.


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post #5 of 14 Old 09-10-2018, 03:56 PM
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... And yes, that's a nice lathe. And if she's taken turning classes I'm sure she's already familiar with the basic tools, safety gear, and sharpening.

Dave in CT, USA
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-10-2018, 05:20 PM
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What does she want to make? Pens, candleholders, bowls?

The Jet looks like a very good machine. I bought the Rikon 70-220VSR from Woodcraft. It's the same 12-1/2" swing, but with a bit longer bed. I ended up getting the extension and stands as well. The factory stands are well worth the money, IMO.

I'm assuming she knows about the grinder, chisels, gouges, etc...
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post #7 of 14 Old 09-10-2018, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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She mentioned that this one "Would allow me to make bowls and stuff where the other one only allows me to make pens" So I'm assuming bigger stuff than pens. I honestly don't know what these things are capable of making...

I'm assuming she knows about the other tools, but I may casually ask her without letting on too much...
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post #8 of 14 Old 09-10-2018, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckSoup View Post
So my wife loves woodworking, and recently she has been taking these monthly classes on how to "Lathe"

Now forgive me, I'm not a woodworker in any way. This is her thing. So I'm ignorant when it comes to this stuff.

She's been really happy doing this and has expressed a desire to want to purchase a Lathe. Well, after doing some sluthing of my own, I found a particular one that she would like to have, and I want to get it for her as a surprise gift. (She let me buy a new $1,000 guitar, so I kind of want to return the favor)

This was the one she was interested in: https://www.woodcraft.com/products/j...the?sku=856325

I want to make sure before spending a bunch of money, that this would be a good purchase. I want to make sure this is something that she can use for a long time, and not outgrow, or (Oh this only does this type of lathing, not that type, I need another one now) Make sense?

Just looking for some feedback.
That lathe is kinda small and pretty pricey. Woodcraft is usually high priced. If you like that model lathe I think I would at least shop around more. Personally I think I would look for a lathe that was large enough you could make table legs.

There wouldn't be anything wrong with buying used. Most woodworking machinery is made to last a lifetime so if you found a used one that had the appearance it was taken care of I don't think you would have any problems. The lathe I'm using is probably around 100 years old.
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post #9 of 14 Old 09-10-2018, 08:22 PM
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I was about to say the same thing as @Nbardo, but they beat me to it. $100 is not enough for those items. I recently bought a used Delta 46-460 lathe. After I bought the Delta lathe, I turned to some expert friends, who helped me pick out the accessories I needed. Here is what I learned:

Turning Tools:

There are many shapes and types of turning tools. Each one is used and handled differently, and there is a certain amount of personal preference and style that goes into deciding which tool to use as you turn wood on the lathe. Each tool has its own technique and requires practice to become skilled at using it. Some tools are more suited to turning spindles between centers (e.g. pens or baseball bats), while others are more commonly used for faceplate turning (e.g., bowls or cups).

There are two common types of turning tools: High speed steel and carbide tipped. They are used differently, but one is not necessarily better than the other.

High speed steel turning tools come in a variety of shapes. There are roughing gouges, spindle gouges, and bowl gouges which are U- or fingernail- shaped. There are also skew chisels and parting tools, which have straight edges. If you use high speed steel tools, then you must have a way to sharpen them. Those U- and fingernail- shaped tools must be sharpened with a combined rolling and/or swinging movement. See Sharpening Tools, below.

Carbide tipped turning tools are made by many manufacturers. The carbide tips come in many shapes, although the most common ones are: round (circle), square, square radius, and diamond. The tips attach to the end of the tool with a screw. Tools are specialized - in general you cannot attach a square tip to a tool designed to hold diamond tips, for example. From my research, I learned that the tool for the square and square radius tips is the same, but the tools for the round and diamond tips are specialized to their respective tips.

When your carbide tips become dull, you can turn them to expose a fresh edge. The square and square radius tips have four edges, the round tip can be rotated, and the diamond tip can be flipped around once. It is possible to sharpen a carbide turning tool tip, but most people simply buy replacement sharp tips. Keep in mind that tips of the same shape may not be cross-compatible between brands. You can get them from the manufacturer. There are also third party sources where you can buy compatible carbide tips, with cross references to help you find the correct one for your tool.

Turning tools come in different sizes. I have full size tools. I like the size, feel, and control that they offer. My expert friends feel the same way. I suppose a smaller tool might be good if you sit on a stool and turn pens on a mini lathe at the kitchen table, but my friends argue that you can turn pens with better control using a full size turning tool than a smaller tool. The advantage of midi- or mini- size tools may be mostly that they require less storage space.

My expert friends recommended the following turning tools for me to get started, with the goal of doing both spindle and faceplate turning:

Robert Sorby Six Piece Turning Tool Set. This is a high speed steel set with the following: 3/4 inch roughing gouge, 3/8 inch spindle gouge, 3/8 inch bowl gouge, 3/4 inch standard skew chisel, 1/8 inch parting tool, and a 1/2 inch round nose scraper. In addition, my box came with an excellent book and a DVD. I do not know if they include it with all packages.
https://www.robert-sorby.co.uk/woodt...rning-tool-set

Full-Size Ergonomic Carbide Turning Tool, Square Radius.My expert friends told me that this is a great general purpose scraping tool. They recommended the square radius tip over the square tip because you less likely to "catch" on your work, or leave a sharp line from the corner of the tip. I really like the feel of it in use. The size and heft make it easy to control and use. I plan to buy the matching round and diamond tip carbide turning tools someday. Other brands may be better for you if you don't live near a Rockler store:
https://www.rockler.com/full-size-sq...e-turning-tool

Here is a third party source for carbide tips. I found them from internet research, but I have NOT ordered any tips from them yet. They look like good quality and are much more reasonably priced than the manufacturer's carbide tips. The Cross Reference Chart is funky to use; it is multiple pages on one screen. Click in the bottom left corner of the cross reference "frame" to see the next page:
https://azcarbide.com
https://azcarbide.com/cross-reference-chart/

Sharpening Tools:

You can take a shortcut by using only carbide tipped tools and buying replacement tips as necessary. I wonder how people get by with only carbide tools, without a roughing gouge or a parting tool. They must be scraping by. ;-)

You might be able to sharpen the "flat" tools with ordinary flat diamond plates or sandpaper if you have a jig that will hold the tool at the correct angle. The rounded high speed steel tools require a better sharpener. Don't be tempted to use your typical high speed shop grinder! They will heat your tools instantly, and ruin the temper of the steel. You need a low speed grinder of some kind, plus jigs to help you control the sharpening process.

Tormek is the pinnacle of sharpeners, but a T-8 is very expensive, costing as much as your wife's new lathe. After that, you will need several jigs to position and manage the sharpening process. The Tormek sharpeners using a low speed grinding wheel that dips into a water bath to wash off the "swarf" and keep the tool cool. Other manufacturers make similar sharpeners. One of my expert friends recommended Tormek, but told me that the Grizzly was a good value at a much lower cost. The Grizzly sharpener takes Tormek jigs.

You can buy low speed bench grinders. They are intended for woodworking tool sharpening, but must be used with care. You can buy jigs that help you control your tools as you sharpen them, or you can make your own. A popular jig for sharpening tools on a low speed grinder is made by Wolverine.

There are also sharpeners that use a spinning disc with sandpaper or an abrasive sanding belt. They have various jigs to sharpen turning tools. I don't know much about them. I didn't like them because they were dry and could heat up the tools if used carelessly, and I felt that sandpaper-based sharpeners would require more frequent abrasive replacements.

I bought this at the recommendation of one of my expert friends:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/10-W...tion/T10010ANV

I also bought the following Tormek jigs to sharpen my high speed steel turning tools: TTS100 setting tool, SVD186 gouge jig, and SVS50 multi jig. I also bought some Grizzly jigs, but have not used them yet. I am not sure how much I will use them at all. Scissors? Maybe. Pocket knives? Probably not - I'll do them by hand on an Arkansas stone, as I always have.

I assumed that the Robert Sorby tools were reasonably sharp out of the box, at least enough to get started. I was wrong. Like most tools, they require sharpening as delivered. What a difference it made when I used the newly sharpened tools. Wow!

Chucks:

Your new lathe should come with a faceplate of some kind. For turning bowls and doing other faceplate work, most people eventually get a chuck. Yesterday I wrote up a description of the chuck I bought for my lathe, and why I chose it. The same Nova G3 chuck set would be a good choice for that Jet 1221VS lathe, which has the same 1 inch 8 TPI headstock as my Delta lathe. See:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f6/l...6/#post2007408

My Delta lathe looks so similar to the Jet lathe you mentioned, I wonder if they are made in the same factory. The stand and extension bed look identical to mine. I wonder whether your Jet lathe would be compatible with the locking set screw on Nova chucks, for running the lathe in the reverse direction. It would take a little research, but I bet the Jet 1221VS works the same. Do your homework first to confirm it.

I also bought an ordinary Jacobs chuck for my tailstock. I use it to drill pen blanks on the lathe.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Safety Gear:

Safety gear should come first. You will need a QUALITY faceshield and a dust mask.

You may also want to buy your wife a turner's apron, which comes up high around the neck to keep chips from going down your shirt.

A lot of lathe safety comes from following best practices. Turn the lathe by hand first to make sure that unexpected contact won't happen. Never stand in front of the work when you turn the lathe on. Etc. Etc. Etc. There are many others, including Keith Rowley's Laws of Woodturning (see the book recommendation below).

Recommended Book:

My Robert Sorby turning tool set came with a book/DVD, which I highly recommend. The book and DVD are delivered in that typically dry British style, but they are well done overall. The author passed away in 2005, but the book is still very popular. You can buy it separately with the DVD included:

Woodturning: A Foundation Course, by Keith Rowley
ISBN: 1784940631 or 978-1784940638

Addendum:

I am sure that your wife will be delighted with her new Jet lathe. I practiced with the book and some cut-up scrap 2x4s (approximately 2 x 2 x 12 inches or so). Later I made pen blanks from scrapwood (3/4 x 3/4 x 5 inches, cut roughly in half.) I am still working on getting a good pen. My most recent pen turned out very well, but I messed it up during assembly.

Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 09-10-2018 at 08:25 PM.
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post #10 of 14 Old 09-10-2018, 09:09 PM
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Sounds like she already has her feet wet and a good durable lathe is in order. Accessories for a lathe, tools, chucks, sharpening gear, etc often runs as much as the lathe. The Jet is a good lathe, but like others have said, a little high. Do not buy a used lathe without having somebody who knows well what they are doing is there to advise you. There is a host of junk out there as well as some really good deals. I lucked out on a lathe at Craigslist, some folks end up paying too much for a POS.
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post #11 of 14 Old 09-11-2018, 09:34 AM
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The higher price of the Jet is one reason I went for the Rikon.

I say buy new, since it's supposed to be a gift. There's a lot less hassle as well.
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post #12 of 14 Old 09-11-2018, 02:43 PM
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I know you want to surprise her but it might be better to let her pick out what she wants. I know I wouldn't want someone picking out a tool they thought I wanted.
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post #13 of 14 Old 09-11-2018, 11:33 PM
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Well find out what model lathe she used at her class and ask her if she like using it. Then find out what tools she used and what projects she was doing and see if she wants to stick to them type of projects until she feels ready to go to other projects on the lathe. Find a lathe like she used or one with the same qualities and the same with the tools. Plus go talk to her instructor and find out what the lathe they are learning on is capable of and what he recommends so that way she gets started on the right foot so to speak :).
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post #14 of 14 Old 09-16-2018, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Huge thank you for all the feedback, Esp Tool Agnostic. That's a ton of information.

So the reason why I had picked this one out is that I was asking my wife somewhat casually "I mean, which one would you even buy!? How do these things work?" and that's the one she showed me. I'll try to figure out which one she uses at her class but I recall her saying it was huge.
I also casually asked her about the tools and stuff, and it appears she knows about those and how they work, I just couldn't get an idea from her as to what she wanted, and I didn't want to give her any ideas.

I'm going to try and shop around a bit more and see what I can learn, and figure out a way to casually ask her what she thinks about another option without seeming too suspicious.

My goal is to pick something up for her by December, so I have a bit of time to plan.
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