Laguna - REVO 1836 (Rating: 5)

Before this review begins, let me first start by saying this is a combination review of the purchase process, the pickup/delivery, the setup and the first 30+ days of use. This is not meant as a full review of the lathe. In a year (or so) I will follow up with a more thorough review as I use the tool more and report back any findings, that may differ from this review.

So with that "fine print" out of the way, let me say that while I feel like I decided quite quickly what lathe I wanted, it was not without its deliberations.

The first choice when researching lathes and trying to narrow down the endless slew of options was to start with that of size. "What size lathe should I get?" was a question I posed to many people, which was quickly replied to with "Well… what do you want to make?". I didn't have a great answer to that question… "everything? I guess" is what I usually responded with. As such, I was not much help to the people trying to help me…

I realized quickly that I did not want to become hamstrung with the size of lathe I chose and wanted to make sure that it had the flexibility for me to be able to make a variety of projects (both large and small) as well as have the opportunity for expansion if I so desired. I weighed the different options and boiled it down to Jet, Powermatic and Laguna.

In reading reviews of the previously mentioned lathes, most are positive across the board. I made a trip to my local woodcraft and was able to look and a few different lathes there. They had the laguna and a few jet's. They did not have the powermatic, but a friend of mine has one and I have been over to his shop to see his lathe.

I really liked the laguna when I saw it and started messing with it in the store. However as I commonly do when I am looking at a new tool, I went online here to read reviews. I was surprised to see very few reviews on this site for what seemed to be (on other sites at least) and very highly praised lathe.

This gave me pause I have to say. But the pair of reviews that I did read here were so positive that they pushed me over the edge and I decided to pull the trigger on the 220V Laguna 18|36. Big shout out to 'MOKE' for helping me with a few questions I asked him.

I picked up the lathe in a pickup truck (Honda Ridgeline) from my local woodcraft. They were able to load it into the back with no issues at all. Everything was in one very well packaged box, which was very nice, however this posed an issue… how to get the box out of the back of the truck..

I decided that this would be next to impossible so I just opened the box in the back of the truck and took out all the parts one at a time. Watch the laguna youtube videos online for tips on removing parts from the box / assembly. They were super helpful and I did not have to open the manual at all. Especially the tips for how to cut away parts of the packing foam to slide off the tail and headstock.

As many others have stated "this thing is a beast" and that is true, it is, however in individual components it was actually quite manageable. My Shop is actually located in the basement of my house, so not only did I have to get the parts down out of the truck, but I had to haul them all through my house and down into the basement shop. First came the legs. I decided to carry both of them at the same time (to even out the weight) and this worked well. It was quite heavy, but I got them downstairs without any issues. The rest of the parts were moved quite easily, expect for the headstock… It's not the weight that is the problem (although it is very heavy) it is the awkward nature of trying to hold this strangely shaped thing… Any who, I made it downstairs without dropping it, so that was good.

Assembly is straightforward and very easy. Again watching the videos was helpful, but it is really just bolting on some leveling feet and the legs, so its pretty easy.

I went with the 220V version so I had to run a new circuit for that from my breaker but that wasn't a problem. It comes pre wired with a 220V plug which is really nice, so as long as you have an outlet ready, you are set to go.

This lathe is very well built and the attention to detail really stands out. Everything feels very well made and robust. The travel of the banjo on the bed is very smooth. There was a tiny bit of paint chipping on the tool rest, but I guess its not really a big deal, as I assume this part will take some abuse over time.

So after arriving at home with the box, I had the lathe up and running with a piece of wood in about 2 hours or so. Now having done it once, I could have done this faster, but I was taking my time cleaning all the parts from their shipping grease and taking pictures etc..

The lathe is very very smooth and super quite. (while I guess I don't have anything to compare it to, I can't imagine it could be much better)

I really like the controls. A few other seemed to have some issues with them, but I really like them They are in a good place and the readout is clear and easy to read. The speed adjustment knob has arrows that for some have been confusing, and while I agree it is not a very good label, it has not caused as issue for me at all and I immediately felt comfortable with the direction I had to turn the knob to increase and decrease the speed.

The tailstock with depth markings is a really nice feature and makes it simple to bore holes to a specific depth. The tool storage is nice. Belt changes to jump from one set of speeds to the other is very easy. There is a quite elaborate indexing system integrated into the head stock, but I don't know if this is really something I will use.. (but its nice that it is there for me I guess if I need it).

In no time I was making chips fly and was having a blast doing so.(except for getting my shiny new lathe all covered in chips and dust haha, but wood chips are just man glitter so its ok).

I have made quite a few bowls, platters and some smaller spindles as well as a couple French rolling pins. It has been really fun, getting into turning and for anyone looking for a lathe I can't recommend this one enough. It has the power and the capacity to suite my needs for sure and if for some reason in the future I need to turn something larger, I can adapt this lathe with accessories to do that also (though I don't foresee doing this).

While certainly not a cheap lathe, it is by no means an expensive lathe (compared to what is out there). I really think as was said by another reviewer it is the best full sized lathe for the dollar you can buy. This is the second laguna tool I own now, as I have one of their bandsaws as well, and I really like both of them. Built very well and have had no issues to date with either.