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OK, I know Harbor Freight is cheap Chinese crap. But has anyone ever owned a Central Machinery lathe? They have a 12" x 33 3/8" 3/4 horse lathe with a pivoting head for turning bowls. The lathe is on sale right now for like $280. I thought it might be a good one to buy until I can afford a better lathe. You know, just to get my feet wet on a larger lathe. Right now all I have is a Jet 10" midi lathe with a bed extender. I would like to do some larger bowls and this would allow mw to do that without a lot of cash out of pocket. I would spend more but I am about to drop about $800 on a dust collector. Any input is appreciated.
 

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I know nothing about HF lathes but have you checked your local craiges list site? I see them listed here all the time in my area. If your not happy with it turn around and sell it. Should be able to get most if not all of your money back.
 

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I have HF item # 34706 which I think is the one you mean.

It's completely adequate for my current needs, but I can tell you what some of the limitations are (which might also be limitations of the other lathes that are a comparable size).

1) it's 12" swing over bed, but only 9.5" swing over the tool-rest banjo; I've found ways of working around it with the extra arm in the banjo so that I don't have to go outboard for a 11" bowl

2) a deep 10" blank that is out of balance can make it dance

3) the slowest speed setting is a bit higher than I'd like for big bowls (see point 2)

4) it can bog down when taking a good shaving off a large blank -- perhaps the motor isn't as powerful as they claim, or perhaps the Reeves-drive belts slip a bit. When I take a lighter cut, it's fine.

5) Make sure the head and tail are properly aligned (point to point test with the spur drive and the live center). I had to take one back because it was over 1/8th out of alignment -- it cannot be adjusted without machining the cast iron, or I would have simply fixed it myself

BTW -- if you decide to go ahead and buy this lathe, you can get a much better price than the current "sale" price of $279.

Get a copy of Wood Magazine, they always have a HF advert with a 20% discount coupon ... starting at the "regular" price of $299, that brings it down to $240.

I bought mine in the January 1st sale, there was a 25% off coupon -- if you can wait till Black Friday, there might be another deal like this.

(edit: many other magazines besides Wood Mag also have the HF ads with 20% coupons -- if you can't find one, I'll mail one to you)
 

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This is just my opinion, and you know what they say about those. That lathe is not going to give you that much more than you already have in your Jet midi. Save your money and scour Craigslist for a used 16" lathe. I understand it will be significantly more money, but if you're going to upgrade/upsize, do it for real. :yes:
 

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This is just my opinion, and you know what they say about those. That lathe is not going to give you that much more than you already have in your Jet midi. Save your money and scour Craigslist for a used 16" lathe. I understand it will be significantly more money, but if you're going to upgrade/upsize, do it for real. :yes:
You are absolutely correct. So I just added the Grizzly G0462 16" variable speed lathe with digital readout and pivoting head to my order last night. It has a 2hp motor instead of 3/4hp so I shouldn't have any power issues. This is a MUCH heavier stand so I won't have vibration issues either. All around this will be a much better lathe.
 

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Looks good Ken -- I think it's the big brother of the HF model. Some features look identical (e.g. where the bolts attach the bed to the stand, the headstock alignment pin, the speed control handle), others are clearly up-sized and beefier.

Have fun!
 

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I have that very grizzly lathe and I have not had any problems at all. It has done everything I have ever asked of it and more. The belt will slip before the motor bogs down. It really is a nice lathe. Jet makes one just like it, but it is more than double the price. Hope this helps. Good luck with the new lathe!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wooduse said:
I have that very grizzly lathe and I have not had any problems at all. It has done everything I have ever asked of it and more. The belt will slip before the motor bogs down. It really is a nice lathe. Jet makes one just like it, but it is more than double the price. Hope this helps. Good luck with the new lathe!
Glad to hear that you like it. I can't wait for it to arrive so I can start making chips!
 

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I have that lathe, and like it. I am not a full time turner though, but it suffices for what I need. The drawbacks you hear of with this one, the rest / banjo issues, are the same you should hear on the Jet JWL1236 as this lathe is just a copy of that one... It takes a little bit of fiddling to get the centers to line up right, that is an issue with ALL rotating head lathes, and it is why I keep mine set up and don't fool with outboard turning. Haven't needed to yet anyway...

Yes large out of balance blanks can and do make it dance. Bags of concrete on the stand stop that...

Wait for that thing to go back on the $219.00 sale and then throw a 20% coupon on top of that...

If you are willing to go used, they come up from time to time on Craigslist here, complete with at least a starter set of chisels for $150.00
 
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