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Looking for first lathe

by kwolfe
posted 01-07-2015 06:18 PM


31 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2901 posts in 2998 days


#1 posted 01-07-2015 06:34 PM

The set of mid sized HF lathe tools are not that bad. The little set, and the largest set, not so much.

As far as their lathes, I own the little one, and one day snapped off the tool rest. And no, I cannot slow it down far enough. 600 rpm is kind of fast.

My main lathe, which I don’t use anywhere near enough, (much to the pain of my gallery manager), is my Powermatic 3250. Bought it in 2002. Great machine… turned a lot of bowls on that lathe.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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kwolfe

108 posts in 2048 days


#2 posted 01-07-2015 08:35 PM

I wonder if there would be a way to slow it down. I saw a you tube video where someone added an addition detent to a Jet 1236 which is exactly the same. I only think he said it brought it down a little. Could a smaller pulley on one end achieve the same thing?

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2387 posts in 2473 days


#3 posted 01-07-2015 09:35 PM

I have the lathe and have been impressed with it. I have a review of it on LJ’s. I haven’t tried any bowls, but from the chart below 600 rpm @ 12” is a little fast for finishing, much less roughing. I have checked the labeled speeds on the lathe with a tach and they are fairly close. Also, while I don’t have experience with it, most everyone says NOT to use spindle gouges for bowls, and all of the HF tools are spindle gouges. I have the HF set with maroon handles and the tools are well worth the price. Try Benjamin’s best or Hurricane Tools for bowl gouges and roughing gouges.

You can’t get much smaller than the drive pulley is at low speed. There is a little room, but not enough to drop to 200 rpm or so. The lathe could probably be used out to 6-7” without a problem. Others may have experience with going larger.

There are some websites describing modifying this lathe, and others, to use a variable speed DC motor and drive (some use treadmill motors/controllers) to get lower speeds as well as reverse. A possible future project for me.

Here is a lathe cutting speed chart I made from info garnered in an internet research session. The surface cutting speed is the control, and diameter and rpm determine surface speed.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12893 posts in 2863 days


#4 posted 01-07-2015 09:41 PM

If you think you will like it, chances are you will. HF lathes are cheap for a reason, 600 is pretty fast for an out of balance bowl blank especially on a light lathe. Have you looked for used lathes?

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5671 posts in 4146 days


#5 posted 01-08-2015 12:24 AM

Harbor Freight’s #34706 lathe uses a Reeves drive … you can’t just swap out pulleys. 600rpm is way too fast for anything bigger than a 5” or 6” bowl.

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

View JollyGreen67's profile

JollyGreen67

1676 posts in 3246 days


#6 posted 01-08-2015 01:28 AM

My “normal” speed range is 500 for sanding, and 1800 for a balanced bowl blank. . So, it’s just what you are comfortable with.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View kwolfe's profile

kwolfe

108 posts in 2048 days


#7 posted 01-08-2015 01:36 AM

Wow. That seems faster than most people set it at.

I have been looking on CL but the closest I’ve found is a jet 1236 (basically same thing) for $750 which is ridiculous. Just can’t find a good used lathe within an hour or so of me. Guess I will have to wait for now. Kind of stinks when you want to get turning.

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JollyGreen67

1676 posts in 3246 days


#8 posted 01-08-2015 06:02 PM

1800 rpm is after I make sure the blank is stable/balanced. If it is not balanced, I start advancing the speed very slowly to a reasonable level to where it just starts to be uncomfortable, then back it off. This might be 500 or even 1000, depends on how much the blank is not balanced. For some lathes the speed change is not doable while running, unless it has a variable speed controller.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View Case101's profile

Case101

107 posts in 2276 days


#9 posted 01-08-2015 10:24 PM

What about using an electronic speed controller on the lathe to slow it down below 600 rpm.

Maybe something like this: Router Speed Control

-- John, New Jersey

View kwolfe's profile

kwolfe

108 posts in 2048 days


#10 posted 01-08-2015 10:35 PM

I read that you can’t use one of those on induction motors. Wish I could. Can’t find a worthwhile used lathe for the life of me.

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kwolfe

108 posts in 2048 days


#11 posted 01-11-2015 11:01 PM

So a jet 1236 just came up for sale on CL near me. He is asking $450. I know this is the same darn thing as the HF lathe. Is it worth the money for the different paint?

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kwolfe

108 posts in 2048 days


#12 posted 01-14-2015 01:43 PM

Update. I went to the local AAW club here in Harrisburg. What a really nice bunch of people. Just so happened that a nice fellow there has a barely used Jet 1236 (the white one) that he would sell for $350 which includes a headstock adapter for a nova chuck and extra faceplate. There may be a couple of other little extras but that’s aobut it.

I guess my question is, I can get the HF 34706 for $250 after taxes. Would the Jet be worth the extra $100? I’m thinking in terms of the motor and resell value. I’m sure I’ll want a bigger lathe latter but this might be a good starter. Plus if I can sell it for about what I bought it for, then all would be great.

I have looked for bigger lathes and unless the Nova 1624 goes on sale for $899 any time soon, I think I am stuck with a smaller version fo the time being.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5671 posts in 4146 days


#13 posted 01-14-2015 03:22 PM

I guess my question is, I can get the HF 34706 for $250 after taxes. Would the Jet be worth the extra $100?

Why does the guy want to sell his Jet?

I think I would go for the Jet. There are a lot of people that have had good success with the HF lathe, but the fact that the HF lathe ‘looks exactly like the Jet’ (I have read that many times in these forums) doesn’t mean the quality is on the same par.

Offer him $300 in cash and see what he does.

-- 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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kwolfe

108 posts in 2048 days


#14 posted 01-14-2015 04:39 PM

He is selling the Jet because he got a Nova 1624 (I would love one).

I was thinking of offering him $300 and see where we go from there. Just need to make sure that if I buy chucks and other stuff, that they will be compatible with an upgrade later on.

BTW, if you can’t tell by now I hate making purchase because I really want to make sure I’m getting the right thing.

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TheDane

5671 posts in 4146 days


#15 posted 01-14-2015 06:33 PM

BTW, if you can t tell by now I hate making purchase because I really want to make sure I m getting the right thing.

You ain’t alone on that … there are a lot of us that beat every decision to death!

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

View smileygreen's profile

smileygreen

6 posts in 1711 days


#16 posted 01-15-2015 08:11 AM

I just joined this forum a few minutes ago and saw your post and thought I would throw my 2 cents in if it will help. I just got started turning about three months ago. Came across a HF lathe with a set of 5 chisels for $80 at a yard sale and I couldn’t pass it up. That being said though I am already at the point now that I am looking to upgrade to something of better quality just a few months into it as a hobby. Coming from a newby turner with a HF lathe, I would spend the extra $100 on the Jet. A few weeks in I tried to push it to see just how big a bowl I could turn. I am sure it has a lot to do with my inexperience but I wouldn’t even try to turn a 12” bowl on that lathe after seeing how it handled larger pieces.

View kwolfe's profile

kwolfe

108 posts in 2048 days


#17 posted 01-15-2015 10:52 AM

Smiley,
Was the lathe you bought the clone of the jet (HF model 34706) or another one.

I know people say that the slowest speed is to fast for out of balance bowl blanks but with my grizzly 17” bandsaw, I should be able to get the blanks very close to round. The manual says the slowest speed is 550, so I would assume with the mod that I could get it down to around 450. Should that be slow enough for a balanced blank?

Also, I found a turning equation on a number of turning sights and it says: diameter x rpm = between 6000 & 9000.

That would mean that 12” x 500rpm = 6000, which at the low end of that. Anyone else ever use this?

View JollyGreen67's profile

JollyGreen67

1676 posts in 3246 days


#18 posted 01-15-2015 06:13 PM

I’ll probably get flak for this but – I ignore all those speed charts that tell you what speed the lathe is as compared to the diameter of the object being turned. When I was a “newbie” turner receiving lessons, I started out at a slow speed. After about three weeks I started increasing the speed, upon recommendation from my instructor, and found out that the tools cut smoother. At slow speed the tool will snag on items such as – knots, bark, voids, etc. At a high speed the tool will glide over these items without “snagging”, while at the same time be cutting a smooth surface. I was receiving instructions one day from Jimmy Clews in a workshop at our local woodturners meeting, and was turning at 1800rpm indicated. He wondered why I was turning at this speed. And I told him, this is what I am comfortable with. Then I found out he turns at @ 2500! Now, I got to admit, that’s a lot of whizzy izzy! Especially when turning a winged bowl, which is what we were doing.

I would NOT recommend to a newbie to turn up the lathe, unless you have an instructor with you at all times. Or, until you have at least 6-8 months of daily turning experience, and then only up the speed a little at a time.

Remember: Safety, safety, safety. Turn at a speed your are comfortable with. Wear a face shield and dust mask at all times. Keep the tools sharp.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

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smileygreen

6 posts in 1711 days


#19 posted 01-15-2015 09:23 PM

Mine was the #67690 model. It has a higher minimum speed, but I slow it down while i am turning bigger stuff. I don’t know exactly how much but the v-belt that came on it was wore out and I put it on when I turn bigger stuff. The old belt slips a lot so it has a noticeably lower rpm when I am turning. I know that is not a great solution but it works.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2387 posts in 2473 days


#20 posted 01-15-2015 09:44 PM

Jimbo4 you were turning 1800 rpm and cutting at 12” diameter?

The HF 67690 is substantially different from the 34706, the biggest difference being the slowest speed, 930 rpm vs 600 rpm. Either Lathe can be weighted down to deal with out of balance blanks. Work holding is the critical item. Neither lathe is good for 12” turnings due to speed. That Jet 1236 is basically the same as the HF 34706. Jet says 550 rpm limit (vs HF 600 rpm), which will be a bit fast for 12” probably. The jet may be worth another $100. I know my HF 34706 has been fine (see my review on LJ’s for how I prepped it). I haven’t physically inspected a Jet 1236 to know if the quality is better or if any different parts are used.

View JonShank's profile

JonShank

8 posts in 2087 days


#21 posted 01-16-2015 12:19 AM

I’ve had good luck with my HF lathe, like it alot and definitely caught the turning bug in a big way with it’s help. I will say that I am already (after about 2 years) ready to upgrade but more for size capacity than quality or anything else. I changed out the belt shortly after getting it for a link belt, but other than that I haven’t had a single problem with it, it just runs. I did bulk up the base and put in a couple shelves that are full of stuff which helps alot with stability.

I have turned bowls up to about 11” with it from a pretty well rounded blank to start. Vibration was manageable at 600 and once it was round I had no problems. One issue but I think the jet would have it too, is that the motor arrangement puts the fan end of the motor right behind the bed so it can get in the way of large turnings if they are close to the headstock. So a 12.5” blank (theoretical maximum) mounted on the supplied faceplate would hit the motor, well you wouldn’t be able to get it on to begin with it wouldn’t be able to hit it at speed or anything. I don’t really want to try a spindle extension or similar with something that big to move it out, so kind of a limitation. Hasn’t really been a big deal, I can cope with an 11 inch turning limit until my inevitable upgrade. (Totally lying, I got a couple of 25-26” logs sitting out on the side walk that taunt me every time I walk buy, but moneys a mite tight)

So long story short (that was longer than I expected), if your looking to just dip your feet in and see if you like it, the HF is a whole lotta bang for the buck. I haven’t turned on the Jet and I’m in no way knocking it, but based on price I think the HF is a better deal. And 400 bucks cheaper is 400 bucks saved toward the bigger lathe you will almost certainly want down the road. For the hundred dollar difference? Ummmm, hard call, I guess I’d think pretty hard on the Jet too. And if it comes with a couple accessories, that stuffs GOING to add up, so maybe better off.

The vortex is indeed an insidious beast that knows no boundaries. My wife very kindly refers to me as “thrifty”, and I got me a whoooole lotta turning stuff in the last couple years(She’s also an enabler thank god). Closing thought, this is an addictive hobby, I’d say the heroin of the woodworking world, but that just casts it in way too negative a light. Pick one and get started, just a taste, you’ll like it. :D

Jon

View JollyGreen67's profile

JollyGreen67

1676 posts in 3246 days


#22 posted 01-17-2015 10:16 PM

Hi OSU55 – I have a Nova DVR XP and normally turn at 1800, no matter the diameter, up to 15” on the inboard or larger on the outboard side – as long as the wood is balanced. If not balanced, then I wait until it is to turn up the speed. I know with a 15” diameter it’s probably going about 15bzillion rpms at an indicated 1800. I just make sure I don’t stick my fingers in there! Of all time that I have been turning, I’ve only lost three items that disengaged them selves from the chuck. And that was caused by a weak tenon, caused by an unseen weakness in the wood. I do have a police riot helmet I wear while turning.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View kwolfe's profile

kwolfe

108 posts in 2048 days


#23 posted 01-17-2015 11:40 PM

Update. Well I went to the nice guys house that I met at the AAW meeting earlier this week and came home with his jet 1236. It’s in great condition and for $350 I got the lathe, 2 faceplates, and extra tool rest, live center kit, adapter for the 1” 8tpi to a move chuck (which I will be getting soon) and the head to a vacuum chuck. All in all $350.

Got it home and started playing with it in 10 minutes. I got the HF set of HSS chisels. They cut but definitely need to be sharpened.

Thanks everyone for your help. Now to use the speed mod to slow it down although it’s not bad. This is fun!

View KDO's profile

KDO

154 posts in 3253 days


#24 posted 01-18-2015 12:06 AM

You got a good deal.
Welcome to the world of turning. It can really be fun.

For other stuff check out Grizzly, PennState Industries, Rockler, Woodcraft, etc.
The Barracuda line of Chucks are a pretty good chuck, with lots of accessories, and it is much cheaper than a Nova Chuck. I have had one for probably 10 years and really like it.
When you buy tools, get HSS. They will keep an edge much longer than the cheaper ones, but aren’t as expensive as carbide.
Lean on the guys at your AAW club. They will be a wealth of information.
Again, congrats on a good deal. You will be happy with the Jet lathe.

-- Christian, Husband, Grandpa, Salesman, amateur Woodworker.

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kwolfe

108 posts in 2048 days


#25 posted 01-18-2015 12:11 AM

I have a uvex bionic faces yield and bowl gouge on order now. I just need to figure out which chuck. I looked at the nice G3 but was thinking if I should get the super nova which I could use later if I upgrade to a bigger lathe. The prices are pretty close.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5671 posts in 4146 days


#26 posted 01-18-2015 01:09 AM

Congrats! I think you got a good deal. Now get busy and turn something!

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

View Rick Bailey's profile

Rick Bailey

247 posts in 1845 days


#27 posted 01-18-2015 02:53 AM

Welcome to the Dark Side.;-)
Have fun, be safe.
Rick

-- I'll bulid your dream,you tear it down.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12893 posts in 2863 days


#28 posted 01-18-2015 04:19 AM



I have a uvex bionic faces yield and bowl gouge on order now. I just need to figure out which chuck. I looked at the nice G3 but was thinking if I should get the super nova which I could use later if I upgrade to a bigger lathe. The prices are pretty close.

- kwolfe

I think you will be fine with a SuperNova on a 1236. Nice deal on the lathe. I was just reading earlier tonight that someone in our woodworking club said the 1236 was their favorite among a bunch of lathes including some really expensive ones.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View JollyGreen67's profile

JollyGreen67

1676 posts in 3246 days


#29 posted 01-18-2015 06:21 PM

Great deal! By the way – you suck with that deal. ;o))

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

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kwolfe

108 posts in 2048 days


#30 posted 01-19-2015 02:39 AM

Yeah! I got my first “you suck”. Turned a dry piece of glued up for today. Had a lot of tear out. Then grabbed a piece if a limb that my neighbor cut down a couple of months ago. Not sure what it was but turning wet was really fun. The ribbons were flying!

I’m hooked for sure.

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JollyGreen67

1676 posts in 3246 days


#31 posted 01-19-2015 03:50 AM

Go fir it! :o]

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

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