Reply by GaryK

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Posted on Metal Lathe vs. Wood Lathe

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10262 posts in 4493 days

#1 posted 03-02-2010 10:19 PM

I feel the need to respond to xeddog’s comments.

1. Yes, metal lathes are very accurate. You could turn wood as if it were metal using the dials. But you could also get a tool post and turn wood as you turn wood on a wood lathe. The accuracy is there if you need it.

2. In my opinion rust is not a short term concern. Anyone that takes care of the metal working machinery will keep a light coat of oil on all the unpainted surfaces so any wood would tend to soak up the oil not the other way around. I have a metal mill that I have been using for wood now going on 15 years. I have left sawdust on it for weeks at a time and there is not one speck of rust on it. Same with my 10” metal lathe.

3. I agree. A metal lathe might no have the speed you need for all wood projects.

4. I agree. To get a large swing on a metal lathe will be very expensive. If you don’t plan on turning large objects then this will not be a concern.

To sum it up, a metal lathe will work just fine for wood within it’s limitations. The major advantage is that you can turn wood on a metal lathe but not metal on a wood lathe.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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