Debbie, a word of caution in purchasing a lathe. There are many on the market. Hope you've done your homework before buying.Ah, wood shows
Yes, today Rick and i headed to a woodshow in the region. We went to check out lathes. Lathes… hmm that's an interesting topic. Let's go there for a moment. We first looked at lathes in our local big box store and asked about lathe tools. They don't carry them. "Why not?" we asked. Well, it seems that once someone buys their lathe tools they don't usually by many more so they don't sell a lot. Ok. That makes sense-almost. They probably don't sell many people a second or third lathe but they carry them!! I'm sure there are reasons behind the logistics of it all but in my mind if I was going to sell a lathe I would carry as many sets of lathe tools as I had lathes.
Anyway, back to the wood show. Now, I'm not sure if the trip was as rewarding as I thought it would be. Looking at all the carvings and amazing woodburning pieces of art was a little intimidating. It's not like on here where I can "ooh ahh" over the pictures of your amazing projects, hoping that one day I can make something that is half as wonderful. Because it was "real", in-my-face skill, I felt quite inadequate and naive in my quest to be a woodworker.
Now, I'm not saying this to get some "Oh Debbie.. of course you can do it… don't give up" statements. I am just pointing out that seeing stuff online is so much different than being near it (and touching it, if possible) in person.
From here my thoughts revert back to the creations the LumberJocks have shown and I can't imagine what they must look like in 3-D form. If they are jaw-dropping amazing online, they must make the old ticker skip a few beats when you are in their very presence.
To everyone posting their beautiful projects-my hat is off to you.
One piece of advice - don't buy one too small. There is a tendency for new turners to purchase small lathes first. These are usually only good for turning very small items like pens. Get one that has a one meter lathe bed. Variable speed is nice, but you cans save quite a bit of money purchasing one that requires you to change the belt over to three sets of pulleys to change speed.
Realize that to do some fancy turning you will requires special chucks to hold the wood.
A general rule of thumb when it comes to buying any woodworking tool is to buy the very best that you can afford. Often entry level equipment is of such marginal quality the the new user becomes frustrated and discouraged, giving up before they get started.
The extent of lathe accessories can well exceed the cost of the lathe. (I don't understand the big box's strategy either.) Other than a good set of chisels, putt off purchasing these accessories until you've learned the basics of turning. And the best place to learn this is at your local turning club - there are many around.