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View Kennie's profile

Lathes - which one

by Kennie
posted 09-05-2016 02:27 PM


22 replies so far

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5501 posts in 3639 days


#1 posted 09-05-2016 03:03 PM

Based only on the specifications posted, I would pick the General International. I believe it is made in Taiwan (good), (China, not so good). Delta tools these days are iffy as they seem to be having problems with ownership changes and places of manufacture. An older Delta lathe would be a good deal if you can find one. There were many good wood lathes made 30+ years ago and if you can find one, it would save you lots of money. All my power tools are top quality, but one I bought at Harbor Freight, a 12” x 36” lathe for <$200 (on sale) has performed my turning needs. I don’t do wood turning much, but when I do need something turned, it does the job. It has continuous variable speed and a 1”-8 threaded arbor. It’s a good beginners lathe.

View HapHazzard's profile

HapHazzard

116 posts in 1263 days


#2 posted 09-05-2016 03:27 PM

I just happened to find a thread comparing these same two models here: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?140402-Delta-46-460-versus-General-Maxi-Lathe-VF
Bear in mind that the thread is six years ago, and things change, but it might be worthwhile to try to contact the OP and ask him which one he ended up with and whether he’d do the same if he had it to do over again. I suspect his turning interests are similar to yours since he was considering exactly the same alternatives, but I wouldn’t assume it. Also, check out the reviews here: http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/category/24

-- Unix programmers never die; they just > /dev/null

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7789 posts in 3309 days


#3 posted 09-05-2016 03:39 PM

About 3-1/2yr ago I was in your position and ended up choosing:

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
from Acme Tools http://www.acmetools.com/

FWI. They currently have this for sale at $609.99

I have been quite pleased with this midi lathe. I was also pleased by Delta’s Service. When I got my live center stuck in the tailstock, Delta had me go to a local authorized Service Center. They also sent me a replacement as well. They get +10 for that, IMO.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5646 posts in 4058 days


#4 posted 09-05-2016 03:53 PM

Don’t know anything about the GI lathe, but had a Delta 46-460 (type 1) for about 5 years. Mine was a great lathe, turned hundreds of projects on it, and only sold it because I bought a much bigger lathe and didn’t have room for two lathes in the shop.

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

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2657 posts in 2530 days


#5 posted 09-05-2016 04:08 PM

Where do you live? If lived in Canada would buy the General, if live in US Delta might make more sense!

-- Bill

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

595 posts in 2610 days


#6 posted 09-05-2016 05:31 PM

I honestly don’t have much experience with lathes in general, so can’t comment on the relative quality/usaibility of the ones you have listed, but I bought a used Nova Comet ii and like it.

It has a little smaller swing at 12” than the other two, but very often goes on sale with a free chuck, see Rockler link below on sale for $529. Electronic speed control, etc.

http://www.rockler.com/nova-comet-ii-12-x-16-1-2-midi-lathe-with-free-nova-g3-comet-ii-reversible-chuck

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12817 posts in 2775 days


#7 posted 09-06-2016 02:49 AM

General International has a poor reputation. Given those choices I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the Delta. I have quite a few Delta machines and other than the Black and Decker chop saws, they have given me good service.

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

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

689 posts in 1136 days


#8 posted 09-06-2016 05:07 PM



I honestly don t have much experience with lathes in general, so can t comment on the relative quality/usaibility of the ones you have listed, but I bought a used Nova Comet ii and like it.

It has a little smaller swing at 12” than the other two, but very often goes on sale with a free chuck, see Rockler link below on sale for $529. Electronic speed control, etc.

http://www.rockler.com/nova-comet-ii-12-x-16-1-2-midi-lathe-with-free-nova-g3-comet-ii-reversible-chuck

- MikeDS

If I were in your shoes, I’d take this route. I’m currently saving up for a Comet II, even though I already have the g3 chuck on my current mini-lathe. I love it, but would love to run one lathe for drilling, and the other for turning, without swapping out chuck jaws frequently. Keep in mind, that chuck alone will set you back a cool $120.

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12817 posts in 2775 days


#9 posted 09-06-2016 05:23 PM

Might want to read my review of the Comet II before buying.
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/8402

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

View Woodmaster1's profile

Woodmaster1

1172 posts in 2982 days


#10 posted 09-06-2016 06:42 PM

I have the 12” variable speed rikon. The rikon has performed excellent for me. You can make a maximum of 11” bowl
The speed control is excellent. I know it is not one of you choices but it is a good one for me. I have access to a larger lathe at my woodworking club. You might want to find a turners club and ask them to try out different lathes.



View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4560 posts in 4137 days


#11 posted 09-06-2016 07:10 PM

I also have a Delta Midi lathe…but it is only variable speed by moving the belt. – - – something only on larger lathes back in 2005.

I have no complaints on how it works (versus design)... I would never buy a lathe without a variable speed knob again.
I would give the Rikon a look too – - they seem to be making good tools.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

7388 posts in 2594 days


#12 posted 09-06-2016 07:23 PM

I also have a Delta Midi lathe…but it is only variable speed by moving the belt. – - – something only on larger lathes back in 2005.

I have no complaints on how it works (versus design)... I would never buy a lathe without a variable speed knob again.
I would give the Rikon a look too – - they seem to be making good tools.

- DrDirt

I dislike the electronic variable speed drives – proprietary electronics that will fail eventually, and may not be easily replaced (or very costly to do so). Setups using a standard controller and DC motor (like those found in a treadmill) are better as the electronics (and motor) are easily replaced if needed. I do like the reeves drive though as it’s mechanical. In reality, you don’t need an infinitely variable speed, but just a handful of speeds that can easily be changed via a belt change. Slow for roughing, a couple middle speeds for turning depending on diameter, and a higher speed for sanding/polishing.

If you have never owned a lathe or turned wood, it might be a good idea to look for a nice used machine that won’t set you back as much as new. It will give you a chance to determine if you like the hobby, and if you do, will give you something to use while you look for a bigger/better/newer/whatever one if you decide you want one.

Cheers,
Brad

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

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2317 posts in 2385 days


#13 posted 09-06-2016 07:30 PM

You might look at the HF 34706. The pivoting head allows bowls bigger than the 12” swing, and makes hollowing bowls etc much easier vs reaching over the bed. The longer bed will do table legs etc. The lowest speed does limit it to about 15” bowls or platters. It does not reverse, but you can still get a nice finish (see my LJs projects). Can be had for a little over $200 with coupons.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4560 posts in 4137 days


#14 posted 09-07-2016 01:42 PM

Brad – Agree that there are more and more things to go wrong – but a lot of electronics anymore are both cheap and pretty robust. Not unlike how our cars can go 100K miles before changing plugs.

I dislike the hard start on my lathe – generates a lot of torque for any turnings like goblets with thin sections – because you hit the switch, and the motor wants to go 0-100% immediately…

Maybe if it at least had a ‘soft start’ like most routers.

But having used a 1224 Oneway in classes, – it was really nice to have that dial where you can turn up the speed slowly (from zero rpm)- and set it exactly where you want to be turning, as you go from scraping to sanding without having to move belts around and risk snapping your ‘almost done’ piece

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View KelleyCrafts's profile

KelleyCrafts

3717 posts in 1134 days


#15 posted 09-07-2016 04:03 PM

Kennie, I have the General International. Picked it up at Woodcraft at 50% off. I think I saw that CL post you reference here. Looks like the same verbage. I am thinking they got the same deal. You could probably get it cheaper if you offered. I would think $425ish.

For what it’s worth, I enjoy the lathe. Good power and adjustable speed with a 14” capacity.

-- Dave - http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12817 posts in 2775 days


#16 posted 09-07-2016 07:05 PM

Variable speed drives are also a safety benefit, allowing you to avoid harmonics that occur with off balance pieces.

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

View jeff's profile

jeff

1146 posts in 3860 days


#17 posted 09-09-2016 07:56 AM

If you can try to go with a bigger lathe.I have a bench top model and now wish I went with a larger lathe.Recently I have been turning with a friend who owns a Woodfast lathe and boy what a difference compared to my bench top lathe.I know its like comparing apples to oranges but its a joy to turn on a lathe with so much heft,more swing and hp.And you can still turn smaller items.

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View moke's profile

moke

1379 posts in 3172 days


#18 posted 09-09-2016 06:19 PM

Hi Kennie,
I have followed the path that TheDane did….I started with the Delta and went to a bigger more powerful lathe last winter. The Delta is an awesome lathe…..I can not speak to the lasting power of the electroincs or other parts…I just know I turned a ton of pens, probably a hundred bowls, and a few hundred other trinkets on it and it still runs and looks like it is new. You must take care of it, oil the ways and the other parts to keep from rusting, and it will work good, at least it did for me. It is a great lathe.

There is, though, the fact that Delta is a terrible supplier of parts for their equipment. There are many posts the this person can’t get this or that for their planer or whatever…...My local suppliers have vacated the Delta brand. I have three Delta machines so I am a little disturbed by it, and I am not sure they are objective because it was really bad a couple of years ago to get any sort of Delta parts. I have heard it is better now, but that is certainly a consideration. But for all three of my delta machines I have yet to need a part.

One other word to the wise, Lathes are a whole other world unto themselves…...their tools and supplies are not really like anything else you own. And there are a lot of them and they are pricey…so hang on…the lathe is the cheap part.

Gerry…TheDane built an awesome cabinet for his, maybe you can look it up or ask him to re-post it. I bought the stand /wheel set, his looked very handy. Both he and I had put the extension on the lathe. While I never turned anything that needed that extra length, it is nice to have that extra length to move the tailstock out of the way and keep your right hand from bashing into any sort of “pointy” thing in it from doing you harm (you’ll realize that AFTER you put your first hole in your hand)...

Let us know what you decide in a follow up post…
Just my .02
Mike

-- Mike

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12817 posts in 2775 days


#19 posted 09-09-2016 07:36 PM

For years after Delta switched to Lowes my local woodworking store/PM/Jet dealer used a Delta midi lathe for customer demonstrations and to let customers try woodturning. They did eventually switch and now use a Rikon VS (or did last time I was there). I only go there about once a year.

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

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5646 posts in 4058 days


#20 posted 09-09-2016 09:33 PM

Gerry…TheDane built an awesome cabinet for his, maybe you can look it up or ask him to re-post it.

Here’s the stand I built for my Delta 46-460 …
Click for details

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

View Kennie's profile

Kennie

6 posts in 1024 days


#21 posted 09-10-2016 11:42 PM

I am really grateful for all the input I have received. I have pretty much decided not to go with the General International; however, because of all the good input I now have to decide between the Rikon 70-220VSR; Delta 46-460; Nova 46301 and Jet JWL -1221VS.
I like the idea of the free chuck from Nova, a nice $100+ savings. I like the distance between centers on the Rikon and Jet. Both the Nova and Jet are 3/4 hp while the Delta and Rikon are 1 hp. The Jet’s variable speed drops all the way down to 60, much lower than the others. They all have extension beds and fwd/reverse and all have ext. beds available. Costs: Rikon-$699; Delta $555; Nova $510 and Jet $800. This is really the max I can go. I am leaning toward the Delta or the Nova because of the costs. I can use the difference to purchase some quality tools.
My wife tells me I overthink things way too much…hmmm, have to think about that. Anyway, I am going to have to make a decision by Tuesday or Wednesday – my personal deadline.
Thank you all for the advice – if you can think of anything else, please don’t hesitate to comment. My goal: pens, bowls, small toys and other misc. small items.

-- Kenny from AZ

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12817 posts in 2775 days


#22 posted 09-11-2016 03:03 AM

I’ve never heard anyone complain about a Jet lathe.

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

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