Good inexpensive starter lathe


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I have purchased a few things from http://kingfisherwoodworks.com/ and they do a majority of their custom work by hand. Rasps, files, planes, and pull planes. Working with something up to 9' is mind boggling to me and thought I might be able to spin it. 

So I was looking at a few lathes and cam across a few I thought might be good. Shop fox, grizzly, craftsman, and delta. All around 500$ and they can be extended. Don't mind spending the extra money now for something better. So I won't have to go out and buy another one in a few years. I have a 20' long mounted bench in my garage to work with. So extensions are an option

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13 minutes ago, Bklynjames said:

I have purchased a few things from http://kingfisherwoodworks.com/ and they do a majority of their custom work by hand. Rasps, files, planes, and pull planes. Working with something up to 9' is mind boggling to me and thought I might be able to spin it. 

So I was looking at a few lathes and cam across a few I thought might be good. Shop fox, grizzly, craftsman, and delta. All around 500$ and they can be extended. Don't mind spending the extra money now for something better. So I won't have to go out and buy another one in a few years. I have a 20' long mounted bench in my garage to work with. So extensions are an option

Can they be extended multiple times? still have doubts about the sort of lengths you are discussing.

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I'm coming to the conclusion you are right. The smaller staffs like the 3' Hanbo's might work. Im not sure how many extensions you can put on a lathe. They would have to be secured in a way to reduce/remove vibrations and stuff. Now would you consider spinning something of that size to be dangerous? 

But onto the Lathe, what does everyone like? Brand names, things to look out for?

 

So Delta recommends no more than two extensions for the Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe. With a total of 67 1/2" length bed.

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19 hours ago, Bklynjames said:

I'm coming to the conclusion you are right. The smaller staffs like the 3' Hanbo's might work. Im not sure how many extensions you can put on a lathe. They would have to be secured in a way to reduce/remove vibrations and stuff. Now would you consider spinning something of that size to be dangerous? 

But onto the Lathe, what does everyone like? Brand names, things to look out for?

 

So Delta recommends no more than two extensions for the Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe. With a total of 67 1/2" length bed.

The challenge is if you pin a 12', 1" diameter staff between a headstock and tail stock, the staff will have an appreciable sag in the middle under its own weight. Once you get it spinning, the sag will become more prominent. The staff will also not be very stiff, so when you bring your chisel in to carve the staff will effectively be irregular shaped and it flex away instead of getting cut.

I think 67 1/2" is already quite long, but will probably still be doable. Beyond that, I have doubts.

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13 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

You would need to use multiple "steady rest" fixtures to support a spindle that long on the lathe. I'm sure it could be done, I just think it is not the best technique for the object you want to produce.

Agreed. I think your idea of using a spokeshave is much more practical.

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry for the late reply but it seems I have to agree with you on the spoke shave. So it seems there are other enthusiasts out there looking to do the same type of work. From what I have seen in the few youtube videos I have seen. people start out with a squared off blank, and cut it on a table saw into an octogon shape. Then either sand or shave the balnk down to the much needed diameter. Now here is my question. How accurate can you get it to where you have a 1" diameter? Is this something where I would need to use a caliper in order to keep it at said diameter? Sounds slightly painful when you get over the 3-4' mark.

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It's quite funny how it ranges from Japanese to Chinese Martial Arts. The Japanese side of things would be extremely precise. Where the Chinese side wouldn't matter if it was off by a little. But yeah, I would like to make a few of these myself, starting off with a less expensive blank and once I have an idea of where I would like to go. Move more towards a contact grade Hickory. Like an Appalachian Hickory, white oak, or something similar.   

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  • 3 months later...
Guest Randy

By now you've probably bought the lathe. If not, though and depending on what you want to spend, the Nova Comet II midi seems to be a good lathe. It's the one I bought and have been using it since I started turning bowls about 6 months ago. I'm sure there are better lathes. I'm also sure that one day in the not too distant future, I will want to turn a bowl larger than its capacity, which is 12". Unfortunately it doesn't allow outboard turning, so 12" is its true maximum diameter. So far, though, it has worked well for me. I also bought Easy Wood tools since I didn't want to go through the process of acquiring sharpening skills and equipment to sharpen gouges, etc. I know it's not impossible to do this, but just wanted to concentrate on turning. The Comet II and the EasyWood tools have allowed me to do that (most likely with more sanding than sharp steel tools would require, but  . . .).

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