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View edapp's profile

Advice for a new woodturner - which way to start?

by edapp
posted 11-19-2018 07:15 PM


34 replies so far

View Bob5103's profile

Bob5103

147 posts in 1371 days


#1 posted 11-19-2018 07:59 PM

I started turning about 3yrs ago, after 30 yrs of woodworking. I was lucky enough to find a used Nova DVR. Unfortunately the lathe is the cheap part, when you add chucks, tools, etc the process gets pretty expensive. But I don’t regret any of it. If I were you I would buy my first and last lathe, the best one you can afford, and will fit in your shop. Having a decent lathe made my learning much easier.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

7502 posts in 2736 days


#2 posted 11-19-2018 08:19 PM

You can usually find some nice vintage cast iron lathes on CL for pretty cheap (and those HF ones show up frequently as well) – you just need to be patient. My only advice would be to stick to known brands (Delta/Rockwell, Powermatic, Jet, Grizzly, etc…) and stay away from the ‘tube’ lathes. Going the used route, if you decide it’s not something that you want to pursue, you can always just sell it back on CL for what you bought it for.

If you really want to buy new, the HF lathe is frequently recommended around here as a beginner lathe. I have the Jet version of it (JWL1236) and it is quite functional, although a bit on the light side IMO. Since you are not really sure if turning is for you, I wouldn’t jump head first into a more expensive machine at first.

As for getting expensive… it can be if you let it… but it doesn't have to be.

Cheers,
Brad

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

View edapp's profile

edapp

319 posts in 1967 days


#3 posted 11-19-2018 08:23 PM

Thanks Bob.

That is the way I was leaning. I really don’t like the idea of getting something cheap just because it is cheap, but there are some smaller, high quality lathes that are a good middle ground (like the laguna 1216 coming out, or a nova comet). Do most people that upgrade to larger lathes tend to keep a midi lathe in the shop? If it was something I know that would be useful even after an upgrade, it would definitely help.

My budget for this is pretty flexible, but starting with a smaller lathe might allow for a higher quality sharpening system or chuck/tools. Ive gone back and forth so many times I cant count.

View edapp's profile

edapp

319 posts in 1967 days


#4 posted 11-19-2018 08:32 PM

Brad great link! This will give me some good reading to do.

I seem to live in a lathe vacuum but will continue looking. I have had great luck with finding good equipment on CL before, and would love to find a good lathe that way.

Thanks

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

7502 posts in 2736 days


#5 posted 11-19-2018 08:51 PM

I seem to live in a lathe vacuum but will continue looking. I have had great luck with finding good equipment on CL before, and would love to find a good lathe that way.
- edapp

If you put your location on your profile page, others can help in your search. As for your area being a lathe vacuum… lathes very rarely show up around me for anything other than way over the top prices. However, over the past several years, I picked up 5 of them just by being patient and persistent – typically in the $50 to $100 range, with only this one exception :)

Cheers,
Brad

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

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2150 posts in 1141 days


#6 posted 11-19-2018 09:30 PM

Bought this for $25 a year ago

And turned it into this thanks to Brad and others helping me in this post.

Like others have said, the lathe is the cheap part as was the addition of the free treadmill motor $0, RPM meter $12, a $5 can of John Deere colored paint and an $11 bearing. The accessories and tools get spendy. For that reason, if you buy a vintage lathe look for one with an MT2 taper (vs MT1) as most newer and larger lathes have the larger MT2 taper for chucks and mandrels etc. That way when you are ready to upgrade you won’t hesitate because you spent a lot of $ on MT1 stuff. (Ask me how I know :-) )

That being said, my lathe works great and I love the easy learning curve and being able to complete a nice pen in an hour or so. I don’t turn big bowls, mostly little boxes and pens.

I’ve looked at newer nicer affordable lathes but I’ve got a bunch of MT1 stuff that I don’t want to spend the $ to replace. Even though it takes up a lot of space I like the fact that it is long enough for me to turn the occasional leg. If I did get another it would be a mini/midi and this one would go in the attic for that leg I may never actually need to turn.

Variable speed (without pulleys) is a must in my opinion.


Should I buy a nice, large lathe with zero experience, or start small until I develop skills?

- edapp

The learning curve is very steep (shallow?). In other words you will be proficient very quickly so get a lathe that will accomodate the work you want to do. Others can give you advice on what that should be.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2441 posts in 2527 days


#7 posted 11-19-2018 09:52 PM

The sharpening system and cutting tools will definitely work for midi and larger lathes. If you were interested in pens Its not necessarily true, but go a little bigger and they will.

Only you can decide if going cheaper at first makes sense. Small stuff like pens and smaller tool handles are easier with a small lathe because chucks, tailstocks, tool rests etc are smaller, lighter and easier to move, but big lathes can make small stuff just as well, just takes more oomph to move things into position. For bowls you will quickly tire of most midi lathes due to swing limits/bowl size.

If dropping ~$2500 on a tool that you may end up not using alot doesnt bother you, then go for the Grizzly G0766 or similsr. If it does, then go get the HF 34706, and decide if you like to turn. You can get it for <$300. Dont know why people say its lightweight, I turn up to 14” bowls and platters with mine. I was somewhat in the same position ~6 yrs ago, and went the cheap route with the HF. I wanted to learn the skills and if I liked turning, and then what I did and did not want in a better tool. I’m very happy I went this route. As skills improved and I learned more about turning it became very apparent that there are many ways of doing things. Each person will have their way, right or wrong – point is to figure out how you like to process different types of projects and find the tool that fits your process best. Its impossible to do without getting significant experience.

Here’s an example: How do you want to hollow bowls, leaning over the ways, outboard with a pivoting headstock, or remove the tailstock, slide the headstock down, and do it at the end of the lathe bed? All 3 work, but may require something you don’t want to do, I’m not leaning over the ways – really tough on the back and tool control is not as good. Sliding the headstock down works, but requires removing a fairly heavy (40-50 lb) tailstock every time, unless you go big and spend big for a pivoting tailstock. A pivoting headstock is great (the HF has one), but the biggest swing I have found is 16”. I prefer to rough out inline, and 16” is not enough for what I want to do. Experience will show you similar conondrums with other processes.

View DDJ's profile

DDJ

34 posts in 678 days


#8 posted 11-19-2018 10:50 PM

If you enjoy woodworking then I’m sure that you will enjoy turning. A little more of a learning curve than a lot of other tools but just keep at it. Now most of my other equipment is used only if I’m preparing something for the lathe. The lathe has become the center of my shop. Something I really enjoy. Nothing better than sharp tools and nice wood!

Dave

View Hockey's profile

Hockey

174 posts in 949 days


#9 posted 11-19-2018 11:41 PM

I too started out wanting to turn mainly bowls. Although I have had a Shopsmith since 1993 and have turned some stuff on it and I turned a little in high school in the good ol’ days, I only started turning (almost daily), a little over a year and a half ago.

I have a Jet 1221vs that I really like quality wise, warranty wise, and customer service wise, so much so that I bought another Jet, the 1640EVS. I think both lathes are excellent. However, I now find that I have little interest in turning bowls. I really like to turn lidded boxes and smaller hollow forms. I could do all that on my 1221VS, but the 1640 EVS a bit nicer to use.

I would start with a midi lathe first with the intent of keeping it if and when you upgrade in size. The midi lathes are generally 1” x 8tpi while the large ones are generally 1.25×8 tpi. I got the Nova G3 chucks (insert type) that I can use either a 1” x8tpi or 1.25×8tpi insert to fit either of my lathes. So, in answer to your question, get a chuck that is the insert type that you just get a new insert to fit either size spindle.

View edapp's profile

edapp

319 posts in 1967 days


#10 posted 11-19-2018 11:56 PM

I guess I should have said that I am not interested in a vintage lathe at this point. I will be buying new and probably either picking up a quality midi or jumping to something like a G0766.

In a similar, well pretty much the same, topic what are your opinions on sharpening systems? If you were starting from scratch which way would you go? Like the lathe discussion, what should I be looking for if I want to avoid upgrading multiple times? Thoughts on carbide tools?

Maybe this thread is too open ended. If you had no equipment and wanted to start making bowls, how would you get started?
Purchasing a lathe, sharpening system, tools, chuck, extras, what would you do with a $1500 budget? How about $3000?

View telrite's profile

telrite

73 posts in 2832 days


#11 posted 11-20-2018 02:49 AM

View Mattg43's profile

Mattg43

25 posts in 643 days


#12 posted 11-20-2018 04:10 AM

like Hockey, I think a midi (which has the same swing over bed as the HF lathe) is a great place to start, and with an insert type chuck (Rockler has the SuperNova insert for $100 starting on Friday) then you can move that to a big lathe if you decide to go that route. Same with MT2 stuff.

For the lathe, there are quite a few models that offer 12” swing, and 3/4 or 1hp motors. And the new Laguna has outboard turning available if you think you want to do bigger stuff.

Personally the appeal of a bigger lathe is the swing over, not the length (at least for my immediate plans), so a Midi works well for everything from pens up to good sized bowls and platters.

If I had a $1500 budget and were buying all new my list would look something like this:

Sharpening – Rikon slow speed grinder, stock wheels – $100 (rockler right now)
Oneway Wolverine and varigrind – $165
Then I would probably buy a set of Benjamin Best/PSI M2 HSS turning tools ($75 shipped on Amazon) to get my feet wet on turning and sharpening.
Nova G3 or SuperNova chuck. I like the Anniversary kit on Ebay or other sites, about $135-150 with 4 jaw sets.
Uvex Bionic faceshield

That should set you back about $550.

Then I would start looking at the Lathe and stand. The Jet 1221VS, Rikon 70-220VSR, Laguna Revo 12/16, Nova Comet II, Delta 46-460, ranging from about $450 (Nova) to about $850 (Jet). I have the Rikon, and am thinking about the Laguna for the outboard turning for bigger bowls.

Those options will all pretty much eat up the budget, though with things like the Nova you may decide on CBN wheels for the grinder, or other things.

And by the time you get sharpening down and are ready to get better tools, you can get some nice ones like Thompson, or try out carbide tools and be able to decide if you like them as much.

At $3000 the starter stuff would be about the same, though I would plan on CBN wheels and maybe a nicer starter tool set, but the Lathe, to me, would be the rest of the budget. Then, all the extras will present themselves as you come across new projects. Things like casting, bowl coring systems, chuck jaws, bigger/smaller face plates, etc.

View Woodmaster1's profile

Woodmaster1

1272 posts in 3124 days


#13 posted 11-20-2018 05:36 AM

I have the Rikon 70-220vrs and it is a great midi lathe. When I want to turn bigger bowls I have access to a 16 inch jet lathe a my woodworking club shop. The jets take a lot of use. There are 7 16” lathes in the shop and all of them get used everyday. The shop also has 4 jet 12” variable speed lathes that see quite a bit of use as well. I would try to find a woodworking club that has lathes available to learn and try out before buying.

View edapp's profile

edapp

319 posts in 1967 days


#14 posted 11-20-2018 12:54 PM



here an interesting read about getting started in turning
https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/woodturning-tips-1605may/turninglearnings/so-you-want-to-get-into-woodturning.html?utm_source=icontact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=highland%20woodturner&utm_content=hwt+may+2016

- telrite

Telrite thanks for the link. I might give Highland a call and discuss some of this. They have been a great resource to me in the past.

View msinc's profile

msinc

567 posts in 1041 days


#15 posted 11-20-2018 01:10 PM

Lathe turning is addictive. I will add this, buy a heavy lathe and buy one that has a slow low speed, especially if you are going to turn bowls. Most of the time your bowl will start out not in very good balance so you need the weight and you need the ability to turn slow. My lathe goes down to like 450-500 rpm and for many bowl blanks starting out that is too fast for me. I would like it to spin at around half that, maybe a little more…250 rpm would be nice. That’s just until you get it turned down a little and rounded up some, then you can start ramping up in rpm’s. The heavy weight keeps it from jumping around when you have a large blank out of round or balance and the slow speed keeps the tool from beating you to death when you first start to make the bowl blank round.
There is nothing wrong with starting small and working your way up, especially if you have too. But in this case, you want to turn bowls you are going to be very limited and very quickly need to go bigger. I say don’t spend the money you will soon have to try and recover. The time you spend cannot be recovered. My suggestion is that you look hard at a nice big heavy variable speed with a nice low rpm rating and go for it. Get cheap tooling and sharpen it on your bench grinder until you get going then spend more on the auxiliary things you just might decide you don’t really need after all. For example, carbide insert turning tools are very nice and eventually you will probably end up with them, but you can have plenty of fun without them initially.

Edit: I will also add that you can help a lot with the jumping around by bolting the legs tight to the floor. Most lathes have holes in the feet for this. Most owners don’t bother.

View edapp's profile

edapp

319 posts in 1967 days


#16 posted 11-20-2018 01:11 PM



like Hockey, I think a midi (which has the same swing over bed as the HF lathe) is a great place to start, and with an insert type chuck (Rockler has the SuperNova insert for $100 starting on Friday) then you can move that to a big lathe if you decide to go that route. Same with MT2 stuff.

For the lathe, there are quite a few models that offer 12” swing, and 3/4 or 1hp motors. And the new Laguna has outboard turning available if you think you want to do bigger stuff.
...
- Mattg43

Yes the swing of the laguna (16” outboard) is large enough that I think it could keep me satisfied for a bit longer than some of the other options, or maybe forever. I read somewhere the intro price is in the $700 range, which makes it look pretty good to me. I will be keeping my eyes out for some of these black friday deals….

View edapp's profile

edapp

319 posts in 1967 days


#17 posted 11-20-2018 01:17 PM



Get cheap tooling and sharpen it on your bench grinder until you get going then spend more on the auxiliary things you just might decide you don t really need after all. For example, carbide insert turning tools are very nice and eventually you will probably end up with them, but you can have plenty of fun without them initially.

- msinc

msinc thank you for this! One of the reasons I asked about carbide tools is that I have a carbide insert head on my planer and jointer and the difference was incredible. If I start out with carbide, can I avoid getting into a sharpening system all together? Or will you always need some HSS tools just because of the shape of the tool cant be replicated in a carbide insert?

The grizzly G0766 seems like it stands alone of all of the large lathes. The price is well below many competitive lathes with smaller capacities. It would likely be the one I buy if I decide to “go big” from the start. I have been very impressed with the grizzly tools I have.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2901 posts in 3052 days


#18 posted 11-20-2018 02:13 PM

From about 1980 up until 2002 I owned a Delta five speed lathe, what they called a “school lathe”. I used it during all my refinishing years, making a variety of things, from legs to yo-yos to tops, bowls, etc.

In 2002, my wife asked me if I could have one more lathe, one final lathe, what would that be. After much thinking and research, I decided on the Powermatic 3520. Back then there was no digital readout, no door on the tailstock, and a lot of other little things they have added over the years. I also bought the outboard tri-stand for big bowls, and a second banjo for the long tool rest, and bought a set of bowl tool rests, and a bunch of other things.

Now, 16 years later, I still have not outgrown the lathe, and it currently has a large vessel on it of mostly burl maple, which I am trying to get bowled out without it exploding!

I did buy a small lathe for pens, a HF, then after a year of changing that belt every pen decided on a Turnmaster which is OK for very small things.

Over the years, I have collected a bunch of tools, faceplates, extra chucks, all kinds of things.
But that Powermatic? I never want for more than it offers.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Mattg43's profile

Mattg43

25 posts in 643 days


#19 posted 11-20-2018 04:06 PM


Yes the swing of the laguna (16” outboard) is large enough that I think it could keep me satisfied for a bit longer than some of the other options, or maybe forever. I read somewhere the intro price is in the $700 range, which makes it look pretty good to me. I will be keeping my eyes out for some of these black friday deals….

- edapp

Per Facebook, the official launch date is Dec 5. I have one local shop (A Rockler) that has one or two in stock, but the rest of the stores within about 75 miles of me (3 other Rocklers, a Woodcraft, and a few others) tell me they cannot even order it yet. Not sure if you will find it in stock, but the regular price on it (according to the Rockler that has it, as well as Klingspor) is $799, and then extra for the 10” extension and extended tool rest for the outboard. I would plan on about $1100 for everything except the stand on that one.

You could probably get started with carbide and it would be a little while before you really felt limited. I have both types and I switch between them for different tasks. There are a few instances where a bigger or smaller tool is handy, but you can usually work around it – but there is a reason you can buy different sized (full size, mid, mini, micro, etc) on the carbide as well.

I have no affiliation, but this guy seems to have good prices if you want to try carbide: https://www.ncwoodturningtools.com/shop

There are others that do similar products, and AZ carbide is a good spot for replacement inserts.

View msinc's profile

msinc

567 posts in 1041 days


#20 posted 11-20-2018 04:24 PM


Get cheap tooling and sharpen it on your bench grinder until you get going then spend more on the auxiliary things you just might decide you don t really need after all. For example, carbide insert turning tools are very nice and eventually you will probably end up with them, but you can have plenty of fun without them initially.

- msinc

msinc thank you for this! One of the reasons I asked about carbide tools is that I have a carbide insert head on my planer and jointer and the difference was incredible. If I start out with carbide, can I avoid getting into a sharpening system all together? Or will you always need some HSS tools just because of the shape of the tool cant be replicated in a carbide insert?

The grizzly G0766 seems like it stands alone of all of the large lathes. The price is well below many competitive lathes with smaller capacities. It would likely be the one I buy if I decide to “go big” from the start. I have been very impressed with the grizzly tools I have.

- edapp

Yes sir, don’t get me wrong, carbide is fantastic….it’s also pretty expensive to start out with and that can be a critical time for many new turners just starting out. I really think it best to start with the HSS tools and learn them. Carbide for some guys may replace HSS, but I think that for many the HSS stuff is still used quite a bit. I know for me it is. I have never had anything other than a bench grinder with decent stones and a cheap diamond dressing tool and a Norton two sided flat stone for sharpening my HSS tools. You don’t have to make them perfectly faceted and pretty. That is nice, but it doesn’t necessarily make them cut any better. I recommended a cheaper line of HSS tools so you don’t have to worry about learning how to sharpen them. Part of being a wood turner is not just the use of the lathe and various tools, but also being able to sharpen those tools when they need it. When you do get comfortable and move on to carbide it’s not as if you will throw away or never use the HSS stuff again.
I too have had excellent results and very good luck with Grizzly equipment and machines. I think for just starting out that is as good a choice as any. One thing is for certain, if you try it and decide “this isn’t for me” you will have zero problems getting most if not all of your money back. Best of luck!!!

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2441 posts in 2527 days


#21 posted 11-20-2018 04:51 PM


In a similar, well pretty much the same, topic what are your opinions on sharpening systems? If you were starting from scratch which way would you go? Like the lathe discussion, what should I be looking for if I want to avoid upgrading multiple times? Thoughts on carbide tools?

Maybe this thread is too open ended. If you had no equipment and wanted to start making bowls, how would you get started?
Purchasing a lathe, sharpening system, tools, chuck, extras, what would you do with a $1500 budget? How about $3000?
- edapp

Regardless of the budget or midi or full size lathe:

Chainsaw $400-$500
8” slow bench grinder $110
Wolverine w/vari-grind $150
PSI Ben Best bowl gouges $75
PSI Ben Best scrapers $75
Chuck with 4 jaw sets $150-$500
steel topped tool rest $125
90° drill $50
Power sanding supplies $75
Face shield $25

~$1200 if you don’t have a chainsaw. Chainsaw is a must to cut up logs into blanks. Don’t plan on purchasing blanks, way too expensive and they are green, so you might as well cut your your own. That only leaves $300 for a lathe, and the only one worth having for that $ is the HF.

Some use a big bandsaw for blanks, but it’s not required. Segmented turning requires a tablesaw, which you have, and some shopmade jigs for cutting pieces and glueing up.

Especially while learning, a steel topped tool rest (usually steel rod) is needed because you will get catches, which will ding a cast iron tool rest, which must be filed down, which gets to be a pita. Once past that stage the cast iron tool rest can be used but I like steel. Definitely want to power sand vs just by hand. The standard white al oxide wheels work fine to get going – get a wheel dresser. Upgrade to CBN wheels when the originals wear our if so inclined. Start with cheap hss tools and figure out what bevels and grinds you like. No sense grinding up $100+ tools while learning.

Don’t recommend a lathe that requires changing belts to change speed (except some evs lathes have a high and low speed belt position which is fine). Either a reeves drive or EVS (many dis reeves drives but a little maintenance keeps them working just fine). Just because some people changed belts for 30 yrs when there weren’t other choices doesn’t mean it’s not a pita and there are choices today.

Carbide tools – been there, don’t care for them. Once you learn to use gouges correctly they cut faster and cleaner, and I prefer hss scrapers to carbide due to a sharper edge. Haven’t tried the hunter lipped cutters maybe they cut much better than the typical flat topped carbide.

As for lathe size – you want to turn bowls and probably platters. 14”-15” finished dia is pretty much the practical limit. Certainly there are applications that go much bigger, but typical home use goes up to there unless you plan on making large planters or something (then you better include a lifting device to load blanks). There’s always someone with an exception but we are talking typical. Unless a band saw is used to cut circular blanks, a few more inches of swing is needed to clear blanks with the corners chainsawed (my method). While I currently rough out these larger blanks outboard, it isn’t without trepidation – I muck prefer to rough and balance between centers, it’s safer. So that gets to 18”-20” swing, so I recommend something in that size range. Already have a bandsaw with 10” or so clearance? Then 16” swing will probably do it.

View edapp's profile

edapp

319 posts in 1967 days


#22 posted 11-20-2018 06:20 PM

OSU55

That list was very helpful. I knew it would be a lot but there are so many options in each category it is hard to plan without getting a little overwhelmed.

Thankfully I have a chainsaw, and I have a large bandsaw (16” resaw). One of my big unknowns was “how big” a lathe is really needed for “big” bowls. I think I would like to turn “big” bowls, but do not really have a sense for what big actually means. drawing it out on paper a 16” bowl seems pretty big, but you need more swing than that starting with a blank.

What is the practical difference in lathe with an 18” swing (Laguna 1836) vs a lathe with a 22” swing (G0766)? Is 18” plenty for the vast majority of “big” stuff? The price jump in nearly any brand and model beyond 18” gets astronomical.. excepting for the g0766. Based on my experiences with Grizzly and Laguna tools, I feel confident the Laguna has more luxury type features, may be more refined, but the grizzly is likely high quality but more bare bones? I really dont know what features to look for specially however.

On a separate note I called a friend of a friend that knows a retired woodturner nearby. I called him and am planning on spending some time with him in the next few weeks. I am really looking forward to spending some time with him, as he is a well known local artist and makes some beautiful bowls (most of them pretty large). I look forward to his input and watching him work a bit. Hopefully I can get a couple first cuts under my belt!

Thanks all for the input. it almost feels like getting into woodworking all over again… pretty overwhelming!

View bigJohninvegas's profile

bigJohninvegas

690 posts in 1999 days


#23 posted 11-21-2018 03:06 AM

Check out this web site. A lot of good info and a link to find local wood turning clubs. (Community tab,)
https://www.woodturningonline.com/
Try to find turners in your area. As far as what lathe to start with. That all depends on what you want to turn.
Which takes time to figure out.
I can tell some of the same stories as you, bought most everything small or to cheap, and upgraded.
I had a 10” mini lathe. out grew it in a hurry, and went straight to a Jet 16X42evs. No regrets.
Normally I would encourage you to start small, 12” swing area. But with your tool purchasing history and budget. Buy that forever lathe.
I know a couple guys who have the Grizzly lathe. both like it.
I’m using that Jet, and I can turn little ink pens or coffee scoops in the morning, and tackle a large platter or vase in the afternoon.
There are tons of accessories out there that you really don’t need. Be careful of what you buy, and try not to buy it till you know you really need it.
As far as tools, I use both HSS and carbide. I learned how to use HSS first, and prefer it over carbide for sure. But that is more a personal preference I think.
I had got a 10% off Grizzly tools in the mail just about a week ago. Can’t seem to find it now. Jet is about to go 15% and Laguna will be 10% off 11/23 to the 26th.

-- John

View LeeMills's profile

LeeMills

684 posts in 1838 days


#24 posted 11-21-2018 03:07 AM

Only my opinion and thoughts so…
Your very first sentence was “I would like to start turning bowls” so I will go from there.

Size … grab a tape measure and take it to the kitchen. Most upper cupboards are 12” or less deep. You may have some bowls in lowers spaces (or pantry) larger. I did turn a couple of almost 16” to start with and no one really wanted them. My lathe is 16” and I am glad mainly due to the HP. I bought a daughter the Comet2 and it is fine but not a lot of oomph over 10”. My lathe is the Nova 1624, more later.

Grinder … if you have a grinder it should do fine. You do not have to have a low speed or and 8”. If you can grind other tools you should not have a problem with HSS. I would suggest a grinding system for repeat ability.

Tools … Carbide is OK but make your own. Even the expensive retail bits are <$20 but the handles ($2 of steel and a $6 handle blank) are an additional $100. Bits at AZ carbide are about $5 to $12. Or for square …$20 for a box of 10 like your planer uses. For me carbide leaves much more tearout.
For bowls I would suggest three decent (PSI, Hurricane, etc) bowl gouges, 2 heavy scrapers, and a parting tool.
Others added as needed. I feel carbide is better for bowls than spindles due to the limited shape of the carbides.

Lathe … Consider the Nova 1624. Yes it is belt but has a very good range. I Never change speeds for spindle work and usually only Once for bowls or platters (once in a blue moon twice). Takes me about a minute to change speeds. Gives you 16” over the bed, and about 27” outboard. 1 1/2 HP on 120V. Swivel head. You can change to DVR later for about $600 or add a bed extension for about $200. While not heavy compared to some (at about 300 lbs) I have not had a problem even though I have though off and on of adding ballast (maybe $100 for an additional 300 lbs?).
www.amazon.com/s/ref=nbsbnoss_2?url=search-alias%3Dtools&field-keywords=nova+1624

Teknatool (Nova) has produced the same lathe for about 20 years now. I’ve have mine 10+ with no problems.

There are lots of good lathes but I suggest you go with at least 1.5 HP or I feel you will be wanting to change in just a few months. When you go over to visit the FofFofFofF maybe he will have a mini and full size for you to try and see the difference.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

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edapp

319 posts in 1967 days


#25 posted 11-21-2018 01:15 PM

John, Thank you for the remarks and site recommendation.

Also thanks for the tip about waiting to but accessories until they are needed. That is the thought process is that I have always used, and usually end up buying one or two things for each project I do (I don’t know how this is still possible???).
Most of the tools I have bought in the past that I had no immediate need for, and just thought I would need at some point in the future, have gone unused…

The upcoming laguna/jet/powermatic sale definitely got me thinking a little harder about this. The laguna 1836 has been looking pretty attractive to me (I have a laguna 18bx bandsaw which I absolutely love).

The grizzly coupons are common enough that I wouldn’t ever buy from them without one. Kinda like going to harbot freight and paying full price.

My thoughts on the carbide tools were along the lines of picking up one, which would allow me to get started and maybe rough out a bunch of blanks and get familiar with the machine/wood/process, and get into the HSS/sharpening system at a later date when I start finishing out some of the blanks and feeling more comfortable? With sharpening in mind, it just seems like a lot to learn at once. But here I am just reading about it… I am sure it will be a little different when things start spinning and tools start cutting.

Thanks

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edapp

319 posts in 1967 days


#26 posted 11-21-2018 01:20 PM

Lee regarding what I want to turn I see myself turning more decorative pieces or large display platters than in the cabinet type bowls. However… that’s just a guess at this point. The man I am going to see makes very large bowls and hollow forms, many for sale, many for charity auctions. Some of them are on display in my parents home. He turns on a large Oneway lathe and I am sure he has others as well. His work is really what has inspired me to give it a go.

Because of this I have been looking at machines with as much swing as possible (18” plus). But like I said, I really dont have a good sense of what the extra couple of inches really means when you get up to that size. Would the 22” of the grizzly really ever be necessary? I dont know. But it helps that it is also less expensive. I think I would kick myself if I paid more for a machine with less capacity, and ended up needing it!.

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OSU55

2441 posts in 2527 days


#27 posted 11-21-2018 02:10 PM

Feels like starting ww again – that is correct, all new skill sets and tools to learn. Im sure with flat work tools and skills you found a lot of good and bad information, and sorted it out. Turning is no different.

Good that you found an experienced turner to visit. Take good notes. Specific tools/brands arent really important, its the why? that’s important. Same thing for the methods he uses – why does he do the things he does, what other ways did he try and why did those fail?

As for lathe size, most of these larger lathes can be used for outboard turning, ie not over the lathe bed, by pivoting the headstock or moving it to the end of the ways. 2 main issues with this method 1) need some kind of outboard tool rest 2) how to turn the piece around and hold it to finish the bottom, remove the tenon. The solutions exist but can come with a new set of issues. #2 is really the bigger issue. I like a simple jam chuck in the headstock pushing in the middle of the piece and use the tailstock to apply pressure. If a catch occurs the piece is well contained. I have cole jaws for up to ~14”. But I dont like using them as well – they put pressure on the outside of the piece and can mess up the finish and the piece can come out (not happened yet). Also this same material holding issue occurs when redressing the tenon to round after a green bowl has dried and warped. A bidder swing allows the piece to stay between centers. Ask the turner what other lathes he had and why he changed.

One area not discussed in this thread that has opposite opinions that you should research is the type of jaws, dovetail or serrated. I prefer serrated because I think they are more flexible for tenon sizing and form but many swear by dovetail only believing its safer. Important to decide before buying a chuck.

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edapp

319 posts in 1967 days


#28 posted 11-27-2018 03:49 PM

Just want to update everyone that helped out.

Black friday-Cyber monday got the best of me. Over the four day weekend I spent nearly all of it replacing the roof on my shop, and in the process saved several thousand dollars over what it would have cost to have the work done. This opened up my budget a bit and got additional approval from my wife, and I really went off the deep end!

Ordered a rikon grinder w/ CBN wheels (220 & 350) from craft supplies usa, a set of 6 turning tools and oneway wolverine jig (varigrind 2) and sanding supplies from highland, a Nova chuck set and some safety gear from Rockler.
All of this set me back a little over $1000, which seems like a great deal compared to the non sale prices of this stuff.

Now I am left to purchase a Lathe! Called grizzly to see if they would offer a 10% off code, no go. Start talking myself into a laguna and really pushing for a 24-36. Go through the checkout process and after freight and tax we are nearing $4K. continue looking around and talking to folks. A friend talks me into looking at the powermatic!

Ended up ordering a powermatic with their 10% off deal. Free shipping, and no tax from the seller meant it was only about $300 more than the sale price laguna I was ready to pull the trigger on. I realize this is a big gamble because I have no experience turning, but I figure the powermatic will hold its value better than just about any other lathe on the market… so if it isn’t for me I will be able to recoup as much as possible. All in all I am in for a little over $5K, but with a PM3520C on its way, and a great sharpening setup, tools and chuck to get me started.

Will likely leave it in the box until after Christmas, as i have some additional work in the shop like wiring and dust collection modifications to prepare for it. Also moving all of my lumber storage outside to make room.

Thanks for the input everyone. I look forward to diving into turning head first and seeing what happens!

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OSU55

2441 posts in 2527 days


#29 posted 11-27-2018 04:55 PM

Thanks for the update, its good to find out where someone lands, most times folks dont update. Post updates as you work your way through the new world of turning. Good luck Im sure you will have fun with the new toys!

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TheDane

5695 posts in 4200 days


#30 posted 11-27-2018 06:05 PM

Ended up ordering a powermatic with their 10% off deal. Free shipping, and no tax from the seller meant it was only about $300 more than the sale price laguna I was ready to pull the trigger on.

Good choice! Congrats!

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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Phil32

688 posts in 441 days


#31 posted 11-27-2018 08:44 PM

You have received a lot of good advice to go along with good thinking of your own. Perhaps one consideration on your choice of lathe is the space required. When you actually start using your Powermatic you will discover it sends chips and dust over a wide area – so it cannot be in a garage beside your convertible! Any nearby machines or other stuff will be covered with debris. Plan for how you will deal with this.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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edapp

319 posts in 1967 days


#32 posted 11-27-2018 09:19 PM



You have received a lot of good advice to go along with good thinking of your own. Perhaps one consideration on your choice of lathe is the space required. When you actually start using your Powermatic you will discover it sends chips and dust over a wide area – so it cannot be in a garage beside your convertible! Any nearby machines or other stuff will be covered with debris. Plan for how you will deal with this.

- Phil32

One of my favorite things about this “plan” I have is the space the lathe will be in. Up to this point there has not been room in my shop, and I didn’t want to introduce such a mess maker into my shop either! I have a ~7’x16’ enclosed lean-to off my single car garage shop that up to this point has housed all of my lumber, yard tools, junk, and my dust collector. The ducting from the DC is piped through an interior window into my shop. This room is going to become my “turning room.”

I just finished construction of a 8’ x 22’ open air lean-to off of the back wall of my shop, which I plan to use to store all of those things that I just mentioned (other than the dust collector). I plan to move my lathe and all of the lathe accessories into the enclosed room, to keep it separate from the rest of my shop. The exterior wall is all windows which can slide open, and there is an exhaust fan installed on one end. The ducting will need to be modified to give me a drop by the lathe, but otherwise it should be a pretty sweet setup!

The “turning room” has a window into my shop through the interior wall, where my ducting is piped through. the room has an exterior door, which is now under the new lean-to, and around the corner from the exterior door into my main shop. There should be plenty of room in the “turning room” to store some blanks or rough turnings, sharpening station, tools and accessories without it getting too crowded. Additional covered storage just outside the door. Will post picks when it is complete!

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Phil32

688 posts in 441 days


#33 posted 11-27-2018 10:16 PM

Good thinking! Have fun woodturning.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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Dark_Lightning

3638 posts in 3646 days


#34 posted 11-29-2018 11:13 PM

My only recommendation would be to at least open the box to inspect the lathe right after delivery, just in case there is hidden damage. It looks like you are well on your way to turning fun!

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

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