bushwacked

What all is involved to start out on a Lathe?

Recommended Posts

I am thinking of picking up a lathe for fun, at least for now. While I have a 3 week old baby and 2 year old I do not have the shop time to go out and build bigger things. I figure the couple hours a week MAYBE I have of free time I could learn the lathe.

What are some good websites for buying stuff from? I have a few sites but I am sure there are a few hidden gems I have not found with better pricing and options.

I was thinking of just getting a mini or midi lathe, but I would rather not have to buy another one down the road if I wanted to turn some table legs or a big bowl or something like that. Or, should I go with a mini, midi to make sure I like turning and would actually want to turn bigger things later on. Save some money now since tools for turning are not cheap.

If I go mini/midi range .. I have a couple options from all the reviews and stuff I have read.

https://www.amazon.com/PSI-Woodworking-TCLC10VS-Commander-Variable/dp/B004DL21CW

https://www.amazon.com/SHOP-W1704-3-Horsepower-Benchtop-Lathe/dp/B001R23SWW/ref=pd_lpo_469_bs_t_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=BE7X1CQQNQKVKM3H9W0V

http://www.grizzly.com/products/12-x-18-Variable-Speed-Wood-Lathe/T25920?utm_campaign=zPage

https://www.amazon.com/RIKON-70-100-12-by-16-Inch-Mini-Lathe/dp/B002FB74YM/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1467902311&sr=1-1&keywords=rikon+70-100+lathe

Or a kind of complete starting set like the PSI below ...

https://www.pennstateind.com/store/TCLC10VS-B.html

 

If I go full size, I would be going off Kevins purchase of his Grizzly, I figure that would be a good starting point ... 

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Wood-Lathe-With-Digital-Readout/G0462?utm_campaign=zPage

 

 

At first I really am only planning on turning small things. Pens, salt and pepper shakers, small bowls and all the normal entry level stuff until I get the hang of it.

So I am wondering, what all is needed for me to do this? 

I am not sure about the chucks, what would be good to look at for my above needs at the moment?

Turning tools I am not sure if carbide is the way to go, but it seems to be the cheaper more efficient route at the moment. I say that because I dont have a slow speed grinder so I would need one of those and some jigs to sharpen the normal tools. I was thinking https://www.amazon.com/Rockler-Carbide-Turning-Tool-3-Piece/dp/B00QU08ALK?ie=UTF8&keywords=rockler pen mill&linkCode=sl1&linkId=ce8295950c51cc3b83ccd21b29db386d&qid=1458230172&ref_=as_li_ss_tl&sr=8-1-fkmr1&tag=thedrunwood-20 ... from the drunken woodworker pen turning video.

I think I could use those tools on the other smaller stuff minus the bowls as well so that would help.

what else is there to cover the basic setup to start? I know for each little thing there are other tools that will be needed, like pens need a drill bit and mandrel and bushings, ect ect. I am just trying to get the main portion that is a must out of the way, then project by project I would pick up the other specialty tools that would be needed.

 

Thanks! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, JordanPatterson said:

I am very interested in the responses as well. The lathe is the one major tool I don't own but I increasingly want to incorporate turned items in my furniture projects.

Yep, I have ideas, but I always like to double check with people who actually know before I just jump in haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I asked a similar question a while back, when I was under the illusion i had more wood working time.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I asked a similar question a while back, when I was under the illusion i had more wood working time.

 

And what did you end up doing?

Right now shop time has decreased a lot so that is why I was wanting to go this route for now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll stick with my lathe choice, I still haven't outgrown it.  I have added some bits and pieces that don't come with it but, sometimes that's part of the fun.  Things like jaw chucks, drill  chucks, etc..  I'm also to the point of realizing some of the things that annoy me but, I've had it a few years and they're just not things I can't work around.  They're just an inconvenience, not a limitation.

As for tools, my wife bought me a starter set and I recently added some others..  If you're looking to stay with a particular brand, just search out for the best price..  I've bought from Amazon, Grizzly, Rockler, Woodcraft, etc..  The usual sources.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. Find a good used one on Craigslist or the like and it may even come with a set of tools. Play with it and see what you enjoy. Also you might want to play with some smaller stuff like pen kits to get a feel for it. Just be warned that once you get hooked the cost will go up but that can happen over time.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Midi Lathe https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004DL21CW/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_awd_d_WwTFxb8Y7P2J5

I am really thinking of this one. That way I have enough money to buy the tools I want as well. This has a sled addition as well so if I want to go bigger I can.

I am curious if I put the length addition on and tried spinning a 3-4" diameter table leg That's 35" long if this could do it without failing miserably? Yes I know it's not made for that completely but maybe once or twice a year turn out a table or 2 worth of legs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, bushwacked said:

And what did you end up doing?

Right now shop time has decreased a lot so that is why I was wanting to go this route for now.

I ended up doing nothing ?.  Still need to find time to get some instruction and time on a lathe before pulling the trigger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BW, turning is just like the rest of your shop. You think, 'I'll get started with just a tablesaw, jointer, and planer." Before you know it, you have a dozen more tools, and dozenS more jigs, all 'accessorizing' the main machines. Your new lathe will beg for more bling than MR. T. And the sharpening system can snowball even more. I suggest getting a full size machine, unless you really just want to stick with pens and bottle stopper sized stuff. The basic 4 to 6 cutters mentioned above, and a decent way to sharpen them quickly, as they will require it often. Expect to spend as much on the sharpening system as on the lathe. Don't worry about chucks and other fancy toys until you master the basics of turning on a drive spur and face plate.

A lathe is not a single machine ... it is a black hole for cash, almost equal to the rest of the shop.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not here to spend your money for you but I can really see the value in stepping up from that PSI midi lathe to the grizzly full sized lathe.  More HP, more swing, longer, heavier...

 

For supplies and tools I really like these guys: https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com

their frequent buyers program is pretty good, especially if you hit a double points promo.  

 

A chainsaw saw is a good accessory, too, for cutting up blanks.  I got a crappy little electric one from lowes that's been fine, even for some big blanks.  And no gas engine to take care of...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

BW, turning is just like the rest of your shop. You think, 'I'll get started with just a tablesaw, jointer, and planer." Before you know it, you have a dozen more tools, and dozenS more jigs, all 'accessorizing' the main machines. Your new lathe will beg for more bling than MR. T. And the sharpening system can snowball even more. I suggest getting a full size machine, unless you really just want to stick with pens and bottle stopper sized stuff. The basic 4 to 6 cutters mentioned above, and a decent way to sharpen them quickly, as they will require it often. Expect to spend as much on the sharpening system as on the lathe. Don't worry about chucks and other fancy toys until you master the basics of turning on a drive spur and face plate.

A lathe is not a single machine ... it is a black hole for cash, almost equal to the rest of the shop.

I agree with Ross. I have a friend that wanted to go in the lathe direction. Luckily he bought a quality one from the git go. His accessory collection has far out priced the cost of the lathe itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmm 

Ya I may be changing my mind to go full size grizzly. I do not have anything good in my area on CL either. Just wish I could get around the $100 shipping. Need me a coupon haha.

I wonder if I order another catalog if it will have a 5 or 10% off in there for me?

 

The one big drawback I see is that the minimum speed is 600RPM and it seems that is too fast for a bigger flat bowl turn. Does anyone have thoughts on that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on your budget, I'd suggest the full size lathe from harbor freight lathe http://www.harborfreight.com/12-inch-x-33-3-8-eighth-inch-wood-lathe-with-reversible-head-34706.html

I got one and it's the same lathe a lot of companies "make" just badged differently, plus with a 20% coupon you can get it for under $300.  It's lowest speed is 600rpms as well, so I make sure to cut stuff round as best I can on the bandsaw or chainsaw.  I also started turning with carbide, a lot less learning curve.  Of course it's been two years since I started turning, I want to upgrade to one of grizzly's larger lathes, and I also want to learn to use traditional tools, but the other stuff got me started and learned a lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been considering the same, for exactly the same reasons.  With a 6 month old, I don't get much hobby time at all.  The instant gratification of turning is very appealing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, bleedinblue said:

The instant gratification of turning is very appealing. 

Just be aware - it can also mean instant frustration just as easily!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my case it started with a lathe, then tools, then I decided it took up too much space in the wood shop so it progressed to this.  Still have to finish the ceiling.

rsz_2016-07-02_160911_resized.jpg

20160716_174934.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I jumped into the, well not quite the deep end of this, last October.  I was at the Grizzly warehouse clearance in PA for a band saw, and on an impulse, bought a G0462 with a very basic, generic set of gouges for my girlfriend of three years.  I couldn't really justify the need for one other wise, and she left me a month later.  Since then, I'm been game planning every possible way I could figure out to get that thing to pay for itself.   So I've been using it a lot for bowls and pens, and trying to sell them on Etsy, and have been able to use it, to make pieces that I need for other projects that I'm working on.  I'm actually pretty happy with it. Anyway, your questions.

I have a large Grizzly, it's a bit much, but I have no complaints with the company or their products yet.  My chuck.  I bought the Grizzly 4-jaw chuck, and then later on, but the 4" jaws for it, and the 1" pin jaws.  That's one thing that I would do different. The other brands like Nova, or Easy cost more but the ease of changing jaws, and the options they have, are far more diverse that the Grizzly that I bought.  

I buy most of my stuff from Amazon.  I did buy a gouge from Craftsupply, but that was because I was already making a purchase and was able to roll it in with the shipping and handling and saved a few dollars over Amazon. The starter set of gouges that I bought from Grizzly, was a bowl gouge, a skew, and some other tool that I've literally never been able to identify or find anywhere else.  It's like a point tool, but not, and I think they called it a parting tool, which it's not, and can't.

You'll be able to get by with a bowl gouge, a 1/8" parting tool, and probably a skew.  I added on a scraper, and 3/4" spindle gouge later.  And most recently a 3/8" spindle gouge with fingernail grind (love it) and a 3/16" parting tool.  I do have a larger carbide bowl gouge that I made myself, and it's amazing.  I buy my carbide tips from Cap'n Eddie Castilian.


You'll need a way to sharpen your tools.  I bought a Work Sharp 3000, which was $200 on Amazon, and I can charged my chisels and all my knives with it too.  But for accuracy I had to buy 3 different jigs from Tormek, so in that regard it may actually justify another brand that includes that stuff.   Many people use their grinders, but I wasn't that good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a new member here, I agree with mpride. I'm fairly new to turning myself, but not woodworking. I'm a scroll sawyer by preference, & after 23 years of that, I decided I wanted to incorporate the lathe with some of my scroll work. I've been turning a little over a year, & so far, things are going ok. I don't get near the time I'd like to have on the lathe as my scroll business keeps me plenty busy. Last December, I had to replace the used lathe I'd had around for a few years, right in the middle of a project. Living on a fixed income, we went to hf & bought the 12" x 33" on its own stand. Bottom end is 600 rpm & top end is to fast for this ol' jaybird. I bought the red handled set of tools w/it, & have had good luck so far. I like the lathe. Decide whether you're going to like turning first. Find a turners club, or a friend w/a lathe & get some hands on experience. That will help you more than anything. Have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Out of the blue, my brother in law sent me a message saying one of his co-workers is selling an old Craftsman King Seeley with "centers" and tools for $50.  That's all the info he had in his ad, so I don't know how many or what kind of centers, or what the quality of tools are.  I'm going to grab it.  I don't have much faith in most Craftsman power tools, but it's cheap and it should be an easy way to test if I get interested in turning.  Not the same lathe, but it looks like this one

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a decent little lathe . My dad had one like that,maybe a little older. It's what I learned on. You might out grow out of it but it's a starting point.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 1 Guest (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Forum Statistics

    27835
    Total Topics
    372744
    Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    20952
    Total Members
    1529
    Most Online
    Dpp
    Newest Member
    Dpp
    Joined