Lathe Reccomendations


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I am pretty happy with the NOVA 1624 that I recently bought, but I won't try to give you a specific recommendation as to brand/model.  I will make some suggestions as to features.

Reversible motor

Digital Variable Resistance motor (infinitely variable speed)

The ability to turn work on and off the bed.  Usually accomplished with a head stock that can rotate.  Allows bigger bowls than will fit over the bed.  

A heavier lathe works better (more stable) than a light lathe.  

If you haven't done much turning don't buy any lathe at any price until you have taken at least one and better two classes from different instructors.  You will learn a lot about lathes and tools.

After you buy the lathe you will still be spending money, at a good clip.  So don't spend your whole budget for "turning" on the lathe itself.

Take a look in this forum section the subject of new lathes has been discussed including a recent posting:  New Lathe. 

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1 hour ago, Firehawk said:

I want to get into turning. I am interested in doing everything from bowls to table legs. With a budget of $2500 what lathe would you recommend?

Welcome to turning! There are several post here about starting to turn. Don't spend all your budget on a lathe, you're going to need tools and as many people have said the lathe is the cheapest part. You're going to need a good set (2 or 3) chisels, possible a sharpening system, a chuck or two (and chuck adapter),  sandpaper, finish, etc. And that doesn't even start on the blanks and the tools to cut blanks so you can turn something. :D 

The nice thing about turning is that you don't need all the bells and whistles to start, a lathe, 1 carbide chisel and material and you can start turning. Check out the other post in the turning thread there are several good lathe and tool recommendations. 

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Check to see if there  is a Woodcraft or Rockler store close by.  They offer classes and can make recommendations as to what you need for your specific projects.  I'm cheap- I bought the Harbor Freight set of tools- with the red handles.  They are high speed steel.  I also have a low speed grinder and Wolverine sharpening jig.  For all that I do, they work fine.  Quality tools will cost a fortune for each one- over $100 each.  One carbide chisel will only do a few things-  you will need at least two.  Many turners I know don;t use them but lean toward HSS tools which require a bit of learning but are valuable when mastered.  I considered the carbide tools but am sticking with the HSS tools.  Watch this video- about an hour long by a noted turner, Alan Batty.

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Hey! I am also new to turning (like a month old). The above advice is correct. The lathe is the cheapest part. Take classes first. You want the speed changes to be as easy as possible, unless you enjoy pulling belts over pulleys. If you don’t want to drop 150ish on a sharpening system, get the carbide tools. I feel like I have put half of woodcraft through college at this point with all the extra stuff you need to get. 

That being said, it is a hell of a lot of fun once you get going. I chose to go with an ancient Walker Turner. There has been quite the learning curve just on how the tool works, but I am not in a rush and I like learning things. Let us know what you come up with. 

Happy turning!

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Most people who buy a lathe want to start off small so they make pens. But most folks also want to turn a bowl or two as well. Not counting the cost of the lathe, the tools necessary to turn those two things will run you about 400 dollars. This does not include a sharpening system which will run you another 150 to 200 depending on what you want. The extra costs go up from there. To get you started though I would think you would want to limit your lathe to about 2k. That means basically you can buy a Grizzly G0766 or blow your entire budget on a Jet 1640EVS and spend over your budget for tooling. Both lathes are pretty similar and will handle the bowel to table leg requirement. If it were my money I would buy the grizzly but I have had good luck with them in the past. Other folks have different opinions.



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