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Cabinet Maker
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At some point I'd like to buy a wood lathe when I can affrord it.... and would like to know is there any difference between a lathe for bowl turning and pen turning (as in if I were to get say a jet 1220 lathe would that be able to turn both pens and bowls)?
 

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A Bigger lathe can always turn smaller stuff..... but the smaller lathe won't turn bigger stuff.....
Provided the larger on has a Tailstock... it'd be fine for penturning
 

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I have the powermatic 3520 which will turn a 20" bowl and I have turned a goblet that is less than 1/16" tall on it. As was stated earlier you can turn small things on a big lathe but not vice/versa. The biggest difference when turning small items is how hard it is to move the tool rest and tail stock. A smaller lathe is better for smaller work.
The jet 1220 will let you turn a bowl that is about 11" in diameter and will easily turn a pen. The vast majority of projects that people turn can easily be turned on that jet. Most projects aren't all that big. I think this is an excellent all around lathe.
 
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