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Clark'swoodworkings

What to think of this little lathe

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I have become a fan of WEN.  It doesn't hurt that they are based right down the street from me and I can pick up factory refurbs from them on the cheap.  I have their lunchbox planer and spindle sander, both are quality for their cost.

This looks to be a good starter lathe for smaller projects (pens, bottlestoppers, etc...).  It does not appear to be able to handle a chuck, though.

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I own two of the harbor freight versions from the close out sales last year.

The biggest issue is the tailstock, a little slop but manageable. But turning the round handle thing on it to advance the quill kinda sucks.

One is my gf's for turning pens, and the other has become a dedicated buffing machine after I moved up to a 1221vs.

They are OK starter lathes from smaller projects, think pens and bottle stoppers. The variable speed is pretty nice. The are #1MT which is a bit of a bummer, you can easily find chucks/mandrels/centers for them, but if you move up to a bigger lathe, you'll need to rebuy all that stuff in #2MT. Not a ton of horsepower, so I don't think you could actually turn a 7 inch bowl, but I never tried that.

 

Edit: I'm pretty sure Home Depot had a WEN sale on a month or so ago and it was down to ~$100 so if you're thinking about it, wait till it goes on sale.

Edited by RileyD

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It's not a bad looking lathe, it does look like the HF one. I don't know if it's just the pictures or not but the face plate and handle on the tail stock look plastic. If they are I would stay  away from it. For 50 more bucks you can get the Rockler lathe. It's a solid mini lathe. It's the one my son and I've been using for the last year. 

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WEN is really starting to impress me with the quality of tool they seem to be offering for the price point. 

That's a spiffy looking little lathe there.  That's a pen turner lathe there ya'boy.  And all other fun little projects that can be done on small lathes. 

Build/buy yourself a little duplicator for it, and it would be a pretty nice production machine for chess pieces, drawer pulls, etc.

MT1 is kinda a pain though.  Most lathe accessories are MT2.  MT1 parts are not hard to find, there's just fewer of them out there.  You often will have to look at small project specialty shops like Penn State Ind to find the accessories you want. 

Bowls or platters will be frustrating though.  8" is annoyingly small for that type of project, but still doable.  

But, you can easily make it a multi use tool.  Buffing kits are an easy upgrade, along with a disc sander.   Shop built tables for lathe disc sanders are easy.  I would (probably nobody else though lol)  even consider fashioning a small drum sander out of it too. 

If I was in the market for a small lathe to act as a starter lathe, or as a secondary to much larger lathe, I think I would be looking in this direction. 

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10 hours ago, Marmotjr said:

MT1 is kinda a pain though.  Most lathe accessories are MT2.  MT1 parts are not hard to find, there's just fewer of them out there.  You often will have to look at small project specialty shops like Penn State Ind to find the accessories you want. 

Oh, it's an MT1 I missed that part. 

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My observation is that MT1 is an oddball to be avoided.  You will greatly limited in what you can purchase for the lathe.  Personally, I wouldn't even consider anything with MT1.

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