Excelsior Mini-Lathe

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Forum topic by JohnAA posted 03-02-2018 06:23 PM 495 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 862 days

03-02-2018 06:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: beginner turner lathe excelsior mini-lathe operating advice

I very recently bought an Excelsior Mini-Lathe from Rockler, which initially built up good speed and power. I was able to turn a small bowl. It seems now that the motor will not pick up any speed at all. I took it to an electric motor repair shop. They said the motor was fine, and that I had the belt too tight. I’ve been adjusting the belt all day, and cannot build up enough speed or power to keep it from bogging down when I try to work the bowl blank. Now I’m wondering if it might be reasonable to try installing a 1 HP motor (it came with a 1/2 HP motor). Any advice or suggestions?

-- JohnAA Tennessee

2 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


2867 posts in 2911 days

#1 posted 03-04-2018 10:36 AM

If check reviews on that lathe weakest point is the motor; its okay for small items but not so good on bigger things. This kit might work a lot easier than trying to find a 1 HP motor for that lathe. Some folks have upgraded their lathes with motors from treadmills but not sure what to tell you about that.

Only know what have read on various message boards about those motors, might try posting in woodturning thread.

Good luck with it.

-- Bill

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3291 days

#2 posted 03-04-2018 01:43 PM

To be honest, that lathe looks a lot like the HF wood lathe I owned for about a year before I bought a PSI Turnmaster Commander 12” variable speed.

Here is the HF unit…

Mine worked pretty well for the year I had it, but got sick of changing the belt to change speeds, so went with the variable speed, which has been OK, but iffy. DC drive allows the motor to slow down too easily when a larger wood load is on the lathe, like 3 lbs and up.

I think a lot of these small lathes don’t come up to the hype people think they should, but to be honest, I had plenty of power with my HF unit. Only thing, I had to find a chuck for it. There are multiple sources, and I bought a Grizzly. With the 20% coupon, my HF came in around $175. I sold it a year later for $170, so not too bad. Lost the price of a cheap chuck, but no big deal. I made mostly pens with it, so rarely used the chuck.
Hope you find your problem. I’d be taking a hard look at the headstock, alignment, and how much you tighten your tailstock before I looked into a new motor.

Another thing to look into is that allen bolt motor tightening thingy. Mine would come loose, so the motor would be turning, but the headstock would be slipping since the belt was too loose. I finally got a position with the bolt where I could change speeds without loosening the bolt every time. PITA, but I lived with it. Lousy system, in my mind.

The 1/2HP DC Variable Speed package from PSI, that would be going in the wrong direction in my mind, since it has no amperage compensation for loads. It will slow down easily.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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