Tool advise about Lathes...

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Blog entry by JockChris posted 12-17-2011 01:54 AM 2068 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello Jocks I am looking for advise on Lathes . I want to get into turning as I did some turning in school and loved it. But my shop is a basement shop so I must be able to carry / drag down to the basement. I am not counting out used lathes I just don’t know whats decent. I want to be about to turn pens, bowls ,bats. So from small projects to mid sized is what I am thinking. Now is 1/2 big enough for 11” ~12” bowls. The lathe I used in the past was 3 hp delta / Rockwell. It was a beast compared to what I am looking at now…

I really like the delta 46-445 midi 5 speed and the rikon 70-100 but I don’t know if they will handle large bowls as these seem to be small lathe that you can extend the beds with.

I also have my eye on a delta 46-700 variable speed he’s asking 375.00 seems high to me for used lathe.

I think I would enjoy the 46-445 a bit more, But I need something that will last a long time, and if it breaks I can get it fixed.

I want to keep this affordable if possible…lol

10 comments so far

View Kerry Drake's profile

Kerry Drake

169 posts in 3502 days

#1 posted 12-17-2011 02:53 AM

You should look at the Harbor Freight 12×42 lathe. Normally you can get it for under $200.00 (I have one) and almost all the reviews on it say it is one of the HF gems.

-- Kerry Drake, Loudon NH,

View JockChris's profile


70 posts in 2836 days

#2 posted 12-17-2011 03:29 AM

Yeah I checked out the HF lathe 12×33 3/8 model #34706 seems to be ok lathe but if you need parts your not going to find any…. that is my only problem with these HF lathes .

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3556 days

#3 posted 12-17-2011 03:54 AM

My lathe is this one and I like it a lot – -

It’s basic and simple and it works well. I have written a review on it on this website and I encourage you to read it.

If you want to do bigger items, like baseball bats, you need to step up from the bench top lathes. As an FYI, I have done a baseball bat on this lathe (check my projects). This lathe only cost a little more than a typical bench top lathe.

As a cautionary note, let me say that buying a lathe is only the first step, financially, in getting into turning. You will need cutting tools, face plates, chucks and a method of sharpening your tools. I won’t get into details here but it is my opinion that after buying the lathe you face about $500 in additional expense before you are ‘up and running” with your lathe. I don’t say this to discourage you. i say it because I believe it is true and, as a friend/buddy, I think you should know that.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Yurik's profile


10 posts in 2901 days

#4 posted 12-17-2011 04:04 AM

HF have extended service program. For this lathe it cost $30 and they send you replacement parts. I have one – it works. But, what parts you are planing to replace? Motor and gear system (variable pulley) work for me for already 2 years with no sign of wear. I did some heavy turning of 14” bowl (thanks to swing-headstock), actually – as a matter of testing how this lathe work on overload – no problem, it turns out fine.
And you can get it for around $180 (although I got it for $240, but with extended warranty-service included).
In any way it is more than two times cheaper than any other vendors.

View JockChris's profile


70 posts in 2836 days

#5 posted 12-17-2011 04:13 AM

Yeah I was just checking out the grizzly lathes and I think this is the one I should go with. I know I will need a ton of extras. I also have read all the reviews on all the lathe here on lumberjocks. It might be a few extra months before I am able to get it but I think it will be worth the wait.

View JockChris's profile


70 posts in 2836 days

#6 posted 12-17-2011 04:18 AM

I did not know of the extended service program. What kind of worries me is the reeves pulleys systems, and I read somewhere about plastic parts on the inside … I will have to conciser this one some more. thanks

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3719 days

#7 posted 12-17-2011 12:22 PM


A couple of years ago, I wanted to use up some of the cut offs that are left over from carving gunstocks and I was in the same situation that you are in. I wanted a lathe and didn’t want a lot of money invested. Craig’s List came to the rescue for me. I first bought a no-name Chinese lathe for $80. It came with a full set of chisels, a 4 jaw chuck and I built a base for it from laminated white oak 2X4’s. After 6 months, I wanted a better lathe, so I sold it on Craig’s List for $125 with the base. (it was worth more than the lathe) Then I bought an old Sears lathe for $125. It has a 12” X 40” bed and I built another solid base for it. I am going to dedicate it to build a drum sander. Then I found a Delta Midi lathe that was also $125. The owner had passed away and his widow was selling off his woodworking tools. The lathe at Woodcraft was over $500 and I asked her if she knew what it was worth before I bought it. She first offered everything in the shop to her three sons and then started selling the rest of the tools. It was in like new condition and it’s the one I use most often. The extras you for turning are going to be your biggest expense. Chisels & chucks are expensive. Watch the Craig’s List in your area. You might get lucky.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View JockChris's profile


70 posts in 2836 days

#8 posted 12-17-2011 05:38 PM

Yeah I been watching craigslist and right now there is a delta 46-700 seems to be in nice shape but he is asking 375.00 I am sure it is worth it. It’s just now what I want to pay… and from what I read on them is they are loud running and some of them have vibration problems.

View tomd's profile


2210 posts in 4252 days

#9 posted 12-19-2011 06:58 AM

I purchased a HF #34706 twelve years ago nearly when they first came out. The original belt had to be replaced very soon, I learned to open the Reeves drive box every year and lub it and worked fine for 10 years. Very good learning lathe, I must have spent several thousand hours turning on it. Though my own fault I burned the motor out but was able to order a new one it took 6 weeks and received a new one, so you can get parts through their parts dept. I was very satisified with the lathe for the price, paid $250 used it for 10 years and sold it for $125. Two years ago I upgraded to a new lathe.

-- Tom D

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23206 posts in 3587 days

#10 posted 09-11-2012 02:09 AM

If I was to replace my Craftsman, I think I ‘d go for the Grizzly 2hp variable speed lathe. I have a mini HF lathe and it is short on power, but I love that variable speed option. I’d never consider one where you have to change the belt to change speed. Life is to short to be doing that when you are turning!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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