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Reply by MrUnix

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Posted on For folks who are not primarily turners, what do you use your lathe for and how often?

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MrUnix

7533 posts in 2765 days


#1 posted 04-18-2017 08:24 PM

I just emailed my friend to see if he can make me four of these. I looked into buying some turned feet like these. Prices were $15-50 a piece.
- CharlesA

Right there you are looking at spending what a lathe could cost you… and all you are left with will be four feet that leave with the project :(

Even at the low end of that quote, $60 isn’t an unrealistic price for a lathe if you are patient and keep an eye out. For doing stuff like you want, you don’t need much – even one of those C-man tube lathes would work. I purchased an older Delta (Homecraft) 10x36 lathe, stand, original motor, line shafting and a bunch of other stuff for $50, which would be perfect for what you are looking at doing. It needed nothing but some oil in the headstock and to be plugged into the wall – and I was up and running the day after I bought it. Over the years, I have picked up three lathes (including a South Bend SB9 engine lathe) in total (even after restoration!) for about what the high end quote is for those feet :) They are out there.

As for other stuff you can do – like most have mentioned, making parts is a great advantage. You can improvise for some stuff using a drill press or other means, but it’s just so much easier on a lathe. Tool handles, knobs, wheels, gear blanks, bushings, spacers, dowels of all shapes and sizes… just about anything cylindrical that will fit. I’ve made parts (out of wood, plastic and even metal) to replace broken bits in stuff like the wifes vacuum cleaner (where the replacement part cost more than the lathe did!), for stuff where original parts were no longer available, and other hard or difficult to find things that could easily be whipped up on the lathe. And don’t forget you can do stuff like cleaning and polishing as well. If it is round and will fit between centers, you can spin it.

As for the lathe being the least expensive part of the equation – read this thread for some ideas:
Woodturning On The Cheap - Tips and Tricks , and do a little googling for homemade lathe tools and accessories. For an occasional user, you don’t need super expensive tools and other gizmos (unless you just want to burn some cash). I used that Delta lathe for a long time (over a year), making a lot of stuff without spending an extra dime on it.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable


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