Bowl Making Machine

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Review by doug1980 posted 01-01-2012 08:56 PM 13596 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Bowl Making Machine No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought this lathe used 2 years ago from my neighbor who also turned bowls with it. It’s powerful and easy to use. It will turn up to 38” spindles and turn 15” bowls inboard and up to 20” bowls outboard. I have made about 100 bowls with it and the only issue was the cooling fan belt slipped off once, easy fix. The headstock and tailstock are aligned perfectly and it accepts all the popular accessories like other brands. It may not be a Jet or Nova, but it is built tough and has served me well.

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11 posts in 3408 days

8 comments so far

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70 posts in 3163 days

#1 posted 01-01-2012 09:55 PM

Looks like a decent lathe … I don’t think they made this model any more . Can’t find it.

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2393 posts in 3911 days

#2 posted 01-02-2012 09:50 AM

First positive thing I have heard anyone say about Craftsman in a long time. Glad you like it. I have had many Craftsman tools over the years that have served me well. That not making it anymore thing and not making parts for some items has pissed me off more than once as I have hauled a pressure washer and rototiller to the dump that couldn’t be fixed…................

-- mike...............

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11859 posts in 4497 days

#3 posted 01-02-2012 07:07 PM

Glad to hear that you have a Craftsman that is of good quality nowadays. Rare item : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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Jim Jakosh

24981 posts in 3915 days

#4 posted 12-12-2013 10:25 PM

Hi Doug. I have 2 of those lathes and have gotten to know them very well. The first one stopped and blew the breaker several times and I found the armature was .005 out of center with .008 total clearance in the filed. I turned the armature true after I bought this second lathe and Now I have 2 of them running.
That fan belt is on the front end of the lathe and maybe the pulley came loose for it to dislodge.

I know a guy near Kalamazoo who has 3 heads for that lathe. 2 were replaced under warranty for just minor things. I wish I had know about him when mine went down. Seems they are built in China and not the same quality that Craftsman is know for any more.

I bought another one that was suppose was brand new in 2010 and never used. I bought it because I made this real nice lathe station for mine and the lathe would bolt right back in place. This one worked great for 5 days and the developed this whine/spinning noise inside like the cooling fan was loose on the shaft. That is the area of the noise. The guy I bought it from is trying to get Sears to replace the head but they keep blowing him off and he is a die hard Craftsman tool guy- has all kinds of them. I’m using it like that and just disregard the noise. It runs fine just annoying! Even with the problems. I would not trade it for Jet! I work on Jets at the high school and feel they are poorly designed. I have to pull the Reeves drive on one this week.

I saw the same model Craftsman 15” lathe out east for sale with the electronic speed control instead of the Reeves drive and I would have bought it, but would have had to drive to Mass. to pick it up. I’m in Mich.


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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2 posts in 2376 days

#5 posted 11-20-2014 12:15 AM

Hi I’m looking to buy a used craftsman 15” lathe in pretty good shape model # 31521717 can anyone give some info about the machine and what is might be worth?

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1 post in 2032 days

#6 posted 01-20-2015 06:17 PM

Did you end up buying this Craftsman Professional lathe?... i’m looking at one as well. curious if its a good buy at $400?

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Brad H.

5 posts in 2206 days

#7 posted 01-25-2015 05:12 AM

I bought one of these off Craigslist last summer and have been turning like mad ever since. I’m very satisfied with it’s performance and abilities. I paid $280 for mine, including a stand and dust collection chute built in to a plywood backsplash/shield thing.


View Idonno's profile


10 posts in 3267 days

#8 posted 06-10-2016 11:09 AM

I also have this lathe and it has worked well for over 14yrs. I’ve heard a lot of criticism of this product and the criticism just doesn’t hold true. This lathe was as good as if not bettor than products costing $200 more when I bought it. At the time I was looking at a similar sized Powermatic lathe. I chose the craftsman because it had better features not because it was $200 cheaper and I’m still glad I did.

I also bought the Craftsman Copy Crafter Duplicator Model 351 for the lathe which has proved to be a nice accessory. I isn’t a Vega but it does do what it’s supposed to at a fraction (about 1/3rd) of a Vega Duplicators price.

But back to the lathe, I never understood why Sears decided to call this a “Bench Top Lathe”. This thing is heavy, about 175lbs and it’s long, about 5’ 4”. That hardly fits into the same category as any of my other “Bench Top” tools. This is a big long hunk of quality machinery that needs a sturdy stand that isn’t prone to vibration. It is after all a full size cast iron lathe.

The only real complaint I have about this lathe is completely cosmetic not mechanical or structural. The red and black plastic that covers the back and top portion of the head stock look cheesy. These are just covers and have nothing to do with anything mechanical or structural but, I almost didn’t buy it because of that. In hindsight I’m glad I did. It has been (and still is) a good lathe with great features.

I have many good stationary tools, a Jet drill press, a Powermatic table saw, a Powermatic planer, A Delta DJ-20 jointer, a Laguna band saw and a Performax drum sander to name a few and my cheesy looking STATIONARY (NOT bench top) Craftsman Professional 15-inch Variable Speed Lathe keeps up with the best of them.

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