A question for the turners!!!

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Blog entry by armylogger posted 03-03-2011 04:31 AM 1024 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ok, so I have been wanting to get a lathe for some time now. I got $250 worth of gift cards from woodcraft at christmas and have been saving them for this special occasion. I have looked around and finally decided on a Rikon. Now my biggest problem is whether I should get a variable speed or not. I want to turn all kinds of items. Small bowls, pens, lidded boxes, pepper mills, and many other items. I have talked to a few people who have told me that the variable speed lathes do not have enough torque to turn larger bowls. ( bigger than 6 inches). Is this true? I will be getting the rikon 1216 with a 1/2 hp motor. It comes either with or without variable speed and they are both the same price on sale at woodcraft for $299. I would really appreciate as much feed back as humanly possible as it will seriously help in my decision making. I will be posting this in the forums also. Again, thank you all.

-- Of all the people I have met in my life, you are one of them!

3 comments so far

View Dandog's profile


250 posts in 3225 days

#1 posted 03-03-2011 05:11 AM

I think that a 1/2 hp is small and when you start your not going to like to be limited hold out and get something with at least a pony.

-- life an woodworking is one big experiment

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 3881 days

#2 posted 03-03-2011 08:06 AM

I would not get the variable speed. It is not that hard to change the belt for whenever you need.

I have noticed others that do not have the torque when at the lower speed settings.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3536 days

#3 posted 03-03-2011 04:56 PM

I would prefer more power on the motor, but remember, when you change the belt drive for the slower
speeds, it would be just like shifting to a lower gear in a cars transmission. In first gear, you get lower
turning speed, but more torque. Most of the electronic variable speed motors should develop about the
same power at any RPM. Check with the Woodcraft store on this, most of the salespeople will either know,
or know who to ask or call to get the correct information. Whichever way you go, I hope you have lots
of fun learning to operate the new lathe.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

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