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Old 08-10-2018, 07:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Verona
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Default Lathe

Can I have some recommendations for good lathes that are out there. Ultimately I am wanting to make pens and I see there are some requirements a lathe needs to do that. Any specs and prices to look for would be helpful.

Thank you,
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Sterling, VA USA
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Hi Mike!
You will probably get many different thoughts and recommendations on lathes. Therefore, I am not going to point you towards one in particular lathe nor do I know your proposed budget. Some say to buy your second lathe first as you will outgrow your first lathe in a while. The bottom dollar lathes donít have much resale value. Carefully consider your purchase realizing you will be spending on chisels, chucks, centers, a grinder set up and other goodies as well.
I usually recommend buying quality if the budget is there.

Here is a good read on lathes from Carl Ford. It is lengthy but chocked with excellent info.
Good luck on your choice!

So you want to buy a lathe? A real lathe? | Carl Ford's Woodturning Blog
Charlie W.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: TX, NM or on the road
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Check on Craigslist for used lathes, find some in your budget range and then link to those lathes. If I needed a lathe, I would be getting this one,

I already have one, it does all I ask of it.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dogcatcher View Post
Check on Craigslist for used lathes, find some in your budget range and then link to those lathes. If I needed a lathe, I would be getting this one,

I already have one, it does all I ask of it.
That's a good price on that kit. If it was within 2 hours i'd buy it. (or if the Cubs were playing in Pittsburg soon I could easily talk my wife into a road trip!!)
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Like many I started on a Harbor Freight. In less than 6 months (more like 4) a spindle bearing started going. I stepped up to a Rikon VS and have issues with the tailstock as well as it cutting out and giving a wierd error code. If I knew then what I do now, I would’ve started with a small Jet. You’ll probably want variable speed since constantly changing pulleys gets old real fast, not to mention turning/sanding/finishing at a preset speed instead of what you prefer. IMHO I think either a good used lathe or just spending a bit more on a Jet VS is the way to go. I wish I did...
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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There are many:
I own favorite for pen turning is the Jet 1221 EVS.
I like this model because I can perform all of the pen turning steps without have to change a belt/pulley. I own 3 Jets and a Rikon and even the smallest HF which I don't think they make any more. I used it for applying CA, and I have made a very good pen using it.
However, I have not tried them all (all lathe models and brands) - so not fair for me to give you a full recommendation.

You will find the right one for your level of interest and budget. Happy shopping!
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? Abraham Lincoln



Member of Local IAP Georgia Chapter meets quarterly in Roswell, GA
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I bought A Rikon 70-050VS but it has been replaced with another model. Has a five year warranty. Harbor Freight doesn't have a long warranty- usually 90 days and then you buy an extended warranty. My first lathe was a HF. There are a lot of lathes out there. Keep in mind that some are made in the same factory with only a different paint job.
FWIW, the guy I bought my HF lathe from made all kinds of bowls and had bought a Jet, don't know the model.
To err is human; To really mess it up, you need a computer.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi Mike,

I have four lathes dedicated to pen turning and my favorite is actually the cheapest, the Rikon VS 70-220. If you're near a Woodcraft store, these go on sale at least 3-4 times a year. Compared to my JETs and Laguna, I prefer this because it is so quiet!

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Old 08-11-2018, 06:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I bought my Jet midi on Craig's list. It came with the stand, VS, basic chucks, and a set of Sorbe tools - $300 delivered. I would not buy another lathe without VS (I did all my work on a ShopSmith for 20 yrs and got spoiled).

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Old 08-12-2018, 08:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Delta Midi; wonderful machine. Got mine on a newspaper adv. while it was still in the box and paid 55% of list! Good deal of the decade.

Last edited by philipff; 08-12-2018 at 08:09 AM.
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