joining the big boys club! =] New Lathe...advice needed!

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Blog entry by Chris Cunanan posted 12-23-2009 06:24 AM 1723 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

a lot of things to celebrate this month…my birthday, xmas, and finally a full time job! in construction too, which is good for me since I can’t stand sitting in offices. In celebration, i felt the cliche urge to splurge, isn’t instant gratification great? when u can afford it! lol anyways, just copped this craftsman professional lathe on CL for an insane $300! it looks brand new, guy said he only used it a couple times and I believe him…38” spindle, 20” Outboard turning capacity! can’t wait to try some 20” bowls! I knew that once I committed to making things of this size naturally everything would go up in price. Looking for tools and options it’s hard to find much, especially for people doing turnings that large. Can anyone point me in some good directions? I’m looking to build a custom set of carbide-tipped cutters with large handles, I think what i’ve pieced together should be a pretty good foundation for me and cost effectively too. What are some of you large turner’s suppliers? Also, i’m looking for steady-rests, outboard bowl rests, hollowing-rigs, and other useful jigs too…and specifically (if possible) tutorials from larger turners. I’ve pushed my old ridgid to the max, and that was scary at 12”, i want to be Over-prepared when i push this bad boy to the 20” max…Also very concerned about the base, I can’t mount it to the ground where i’m at so i’m thinking about pouring concrete columns and tongue-’n-grooving them together with some huge studs. Any and all suggestions and comments appreciated! thanks guys =]

6 comments so far

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4766 days

#1 posted 12-23-2009 08:30 AM

It is an excelent source for all things turning. Tools. Parts to make tools. Suplies. You name it and they probably have it.

They are online and can send you a paper catalog. I use it for ideas also.

Good luck.


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

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4670 days

#2 posted 12-23-2009 11:28 AM

A couple of things Chris. Are carbide bits the way to go? I’ve got one which is a bowl gouge tip. Sharpening is a bugger and it stills doesn’t cut as good as my HSS ones. Maybe I’m behind the times or something. The other thing is that I just read an old article which stated that the wider the footfprint for a lathe the better, and that it was more important even than weighing the stand down or bolting it to the floor. I’m talking vibration here. Probably no help for you, but that’s all I’ve got.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4606 days

#3 posted 12-23-2009 07:58 PM

Weight and stance are both useful with lathes…..the more dampening..the less strain on you and the wood. Remember though….you want access to the entire lathe bed so make sure you do not extend out so far you have to bend over to reach the lathe (not only would it cause back strain…but could be dangerous).

As for carbide cutters….I have a few – I get them from machining suppliers….they are good for decorative flourishes…but you still need the standard bowl gouge, skews…etc…and HSS or powdered is the way to go on those….plus they are cheaper that way. I have a couple inexpensive sets that I converted to my own grinds…..I like experimenting with different grinds…I can then copy the expensive custom tools – I’ve made my own thread chaser….my own captured ring tool….and several custom scrapers.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View NoSlivers's profile


210 posts in 4426 days

#4 posted 12-23-2009 09:23 PM

Chris, you mentioned steady rests (along with alot of other expensive equipment).... to save a little cash for the other stuff, you can make your own steadyrests. There are several sites that include plans for making these. Some of these require you to buy the plans, but I’ve seen more than one that had plans for free (maybe even find these and several other useful items as past LJ projects)!!

-- If you don't have time to do it right, do you have time to do it twice?

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5582 days

#5 posted 12-24-2009 03:47 AM

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 4534 days

#6 posted 01-01-2010 05:29 AM

Hate to burst your bubble, I had that lathe for about 2 years, best accessory for it was the home protection plan $70, it saved me $3000 in repair bills. I know Sears has a spotty record with tools, this item is no different, some people have problems some don’t, I did, I read your response on the first wood show. If your lathe is like mine, there is a small belt that links the motor to the drive shaft, this will break, often. However there is hope, shortly after Sears replaced that lathe ( that model is no longer available ) with the Jet 1642 ( HOORAY) (another $2000 saved by the home protection plan) A freind of mine talked to the Gates rep ( the belt manufacturer) who told him the problem was that the belt they were using came from China and the fiber that held it all together was made of rice paper ( he was only a liittle sarcastic) . He gave me 5 belts the same size that were made from Kevlar, he then said, “just try to break these). I might be able to find one if you are having this problem. By the way, now I will add my speil about crafts shows, The craftsman lathe was what I was using to get ready and it broke twice the month before, that said I went and bought the Rikon Midi, so I could at least do some small stuff while waiting for the repair. Here is my CS speil.
My experience would have been depressing, if I hadn’t learned so much about it and myself. 20 peices probably won’t cut it, and entry fees are going to consume most of the sales, along with display and ect… I found the best way for me to see my turned items is through consignment, It keeps me in the garage, at home, andless stress and preassure to have everything ready to go, set up, tear down….. It kind of stinks to sit there for 3 days, and listen to everybody who comes into the booth to steal the oxygen and tell you your stuff is beautiful and then walk out empty handed. Instead I busted my Butt to get stuff in stores by the end of November, then just sit back and let the store owners tell all about the wonderful comments people said before not buying anything. Okay that all might seem a little bitter, it is not, I am optimistic just like all the rest of us, I have been doing this all the while maintaining my job as an executive Chef 60 to 80 hours a week. I am realistic. in my eyes and just telling it from my experience.
I wish you good luck, especially with that lathe.
Contact me with any questions

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

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