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Forum topic by Zuki posted 04-21-2011 12:51 AM 1806 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4683 days

04-21-2011 12:51 AM

Topic tags/keywords: zuki lathe

Hey All . . . as the subject line says . . . I’m looking for my first lathe and lathe accessories.

I don’t believe that I will ever be turning large stuff, so I will not be considering a floor model.

I saw a Delta a month or so ago at Rideout’s (when I was not looking for one) and it looked about the right size. I think it may have been this one – I am open to other brands and models . . . I’m just not looking for something to expensive or to big.

I’m also gonna need some accessories. With all the bits and pieces at the LV I’m not sure what to get, or what I need. I think I’m going to be interested in turning pens though. Any suggestions would be great.

Please keep in mind that I’m in Canada and sometime us folk north of the 49 can’t get the deals our American cousins can.

I have tried our version of craigs list and the classifieds, but people want to much $$ for what they are selling.

Anyhoo . . . any direction or thoughts are welcome and appreciated.

-- BLOG -

4 replies so far

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 3510 days

#1 posted 04-21-2011 01:09 AM

I own a number of lathes, 7 or 8, maybe 9 (turning, it’s a sickness). Most are old cast iron industrial machines that I refurbish and eventually sell off. That’s an old Delta 46-525 shop lathe in my avatar picture.

The ONLY new lathe I own is that Delta 46-460 you linked to.

It’s an excellent machine. I’ve been turning for more than 40 years and that Delta MIDI is the best mid-range lathe I’ve ever used. I turn hundreds of pens on it a year, small bowls, bird houses, ornaments, cribbage pegs, and so on. Since it’s equipped with a standard 1”-8TPI MT-2 spindle, you have a wide variety of choices when it comes to add-on equipment (such as mandrels, faceplates, chucks, drives, and centers). Given what you intend, turning wise, you can’t possibly go wrong with the 46-460.

My recommendation is this: find a local turning club, even if you don’t join, attend a couple of meetings – meet some turners who do what you want to do and see what they use, including add-ons and tools. Then buy.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3876 days

#2 posted 04-21-2011 01:49 AM

I am like Stonekettle, I have several lathes. First thing you need to determine is what you intend to turn. If you want to do larger projects…the mini and midi lathes are out. If you want to do medium projects – small bowls, vessels…pens…spindles for furniture…etc…a midi is great….for just pens…a mini works great. Second…just like any tool…get the best you can afford. The parts of a lathe to look at are the distance between the center and the bed – called Swing (determines how big a radius you can turn….most midis are 10-12”) This is the diameter….the distance from bed top to center of headstock is 1/2 this distance.

The next measurement is the distance between the head and tailstock (for height of spindles..etc). If you intend to turn furniture parts this can be an important issue….but most lathes have extensions that can be added for this.

Then comes the motor and speed specs. The more powerful the motor the better….this is also effected by the gearing and the belts. Pretty much every lathe has a belt…and most have multiple pulleys that change the speed ranges. The Delta’s are nice in that the belt changes are very easy.

Thats about it for the Lathe….it is not the most important part of turning by the way….what really makes the turning work is decent and sharp tools, a good tool rest and a very good set of centers including a good chuck (all of these are more expensive then the lathe by the way).

I always recommend that you have your tools sharp….if you do not know how…find someone to teach you….this is extremely important. Get HSS tools…don’t scrimp as these will make or break your turning. Get good sharpening tools….and make sure you learn how to use them. Sorby’s beginning sets are not bad and will help you decide which ones you use the most.

Next comes the chuck and centers….remember you are turning at high speeds and a fairly heavy hunk….if it won’t stay put…it can be very dangerous…a good chuck and good centers will prevent most of the problems – BUT always turn with a FACESHIELD over safety glasses….and wear a heavy shirt or apron (I always wear a pair of carhart coveralls). I recommend either the PSI Barracuda chuck or the Nova’s…..and for centers….I would recommend stub centers as they are really safe for beginners. You will need a live center and a non turning center (live for the tail stock (these have ball bearings allowing the center to turn)....the Headstock center does not turn on itself so it can transfer the turn from the motor to the wood.

The Delta gets high marks on most reviews and has the better motor. I believe the FWW did a review recently on bench top lathes. They rated the Delta and the Pennstate ones the highest….mostly due to testing 1hp motors vs 3/4hp.

Thats the best I can do in this much space. You can pm any of the tons of turners on LJs – even myself – for any additional questions you might have.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14182 posts in 4589 days

#3 posted 04-21-2011 04:41 AM

I have a Craftsman lathe that I have been very happy with, SEARS has sales and coupons if you keep your eyes open.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4683 days

#4 posted 04-22-2011 12:03 AM

Wow . . .thanks for the info guys. I’m just starting to get to learn the lingo so I know what I’m looking at.

It took me 6 months to buy my bandsaw after looking at various models and comparing them until I drove my wife crazy. She kept her sanity last time . . . hope she will survive the lathe purchase. :-)

Tks again.

-- BLOG -

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