Reply by barryvabeach

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Posted on Metal Lathe vs. Wood Lathe

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159 posts in 3556 days

#1 posted 02-05-2010 04:05 AM

Derek, I don’t have the room for both and bought a mini metal lathe, and use it on occassion to turn wood. As others have said it will work. Things to consider is that if you are turning wet wood, you will want to get all the shavings off the metal on the metal lathe otherwise you might have rust problems ( IIRC most of the metal on a wood lathe is painted or coated in some way) While it isn’t too hard to turn things like chisel handles, or other round stock you can get in the chuck, wood lathes come with a drive center – swapping that out on a metal lathe would take some time and it isn’t something you will want to do often. I bought a tool rest and made a fixture to hold it in place and suggest you do the same if you want to use wood turning tools. If you are thinking of buying a metal lathe – understand that the price you see listed is 1/2 to 1/3 of what it will cost you – as delivered, it won’t really do anything – to make it do much metal work you will need to buy tooling which can quickly meet or exceed the cost of the lathe itself ( look at QCTP, inset tooling, dial indicators, micrometers, etc) If you can stomach that, I’d say go for it, it is cool to have a metal lathe cause there are just some things you can make that you couldn’t touch otherwise – I have made numerous threaded bits for my other tools.-

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