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Forum topic by mramseyISU posted 09-07-2018 05:06 PM 870 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mramseyISU

572 posts in 1965 days


09-07-2018 05:06 PM

So I’m thinking about buying a lathe for my shop. I haven’t touched one since high school woodshop 25 years ago but I keep seeing all this cool stuff guys on youtube are making and I want to give it a try. I’ve been looking locally on Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace for a while now and what I’m seeing is either somebody’s junk or something that has about a 10% discount over buying a new one so I’ve decided I’m going to buy a new one. While I’m sure you can’t go wrong buying the biggest one you could afford I want to keep the bill to around $1000. I’ve been narrowing in on a couple of Nova lathes. I’m torn between the 1624 II full size and the Comet II Midi. I like the capacity of the full size but I’m in a cramped basement shop so the smaller lathe is pretty appealing. I also like that for an extra $100 I can get some starter tools and a 4 jaw chuck with the Comet. I’m right now leaning towards the comet but I’m worried that I’ll regret getting the small one in a couple years.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.


14 replies so far

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1443 posts in 2531 days


#1 posted 09-07-2018 05:32 PM

This guy from Harbor Freight is a really good starter lathe – one of their gems. I have the King branded model and it had done good by me.

https://www.harborfreight.com/12-inch-x-33-3-8-eighth-inch-wood-lathe-with-reversible-head-34706.html

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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DDJ

34 posts in 560 days


#2 posted 09-07-2018 05:35 PM

With the 1644 you do have the option of doing the DVR motor upgrade at a later date if you get tired of manual speed adjustments. I just recently bought-one week ago today- a Nova Saturn and so far absolutely love it. No belts or pulleys to deal with at all. Just a thought.

Dave

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mramseyISU

572 posts in 1965 days


#3 posted 09-07-2018 05:37 PM



This guy from Harbor Freight is a really good starter lathe – one of their gems. I have the King branded model and it had done good by me.

https://www.harborfreight.com/12-inch-x-33-3-8-eighth-inch-wood-lathe-with-reversible-head-34706.html

- JADobson

I looked at that one too. The only concern I had was the bottom of the speed range was pretty high I thought at 600 rpm.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5654 posts in 4083 days


#4 posted 09-07-2018 05:48 PM

Personal opinion: Either of the Nova lathes you mentioned would be a good choice, but I would go with the 1644 … you can do small stuff on either, but the 1644 gives you the ability to move up to larger turnings when you are ready.

Another personal opinion: I wouldn’t touch a lathe with a Reeves drive. The startup speed is, IMHO, problematic, and there are too many things that can go wrong with a Reeves drive. I know a lot of people are happy with them, I’m just saying …

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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LeeMills

670 posts in 1721 days


#5 posted 09-08-2018 01:38 AM

Having both (actually the Comet2 was for my daughter) I say go with the 1624. My 1624 is 10+ years and the Comet2 4+ years with no problems with either.
There is a world of difference in 3/4 hp and 1-1/2 hp. A very big advantage to me with the 1624 is the ability to rotate the headstock, I normally rotate about 22.5°. Gives a lot of room for tool handle swing without interference from the tailstock and saves a lot of stretching.
You can get by easily without a chuck but they are very nice. Nova introduced the first scroll chuck for woodturning and that was only in 1988 so lots of things were turned without a chuck for a long time.
A picture of a chuck left in an obscure place, like the door of the refrigerator, may help at Christmas.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Mark's profile

Mark

1008 posts in 2395 days


#6 posted 09-08-2018 03:26 PM

Whatever you decide on, make sure it can be repaired. Trust me on this.

-- Mark

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Lazyman

3551 posts in 1807 days


#7 posted 09-08-2018 08:15 PM

I started with a small benchtop lathe and have done some really fun things with it. I went small because I had no idea what I was doing and I didn’t know if I would really enjoy it. Now, when I want some shop time but am not ready to start a project, it is my go-to. One thing to consider when comparing a benchtop lathe versus a floor model is that the smaller lathes only really save you a small amount of space because they have to sit somewhere when not in use. Because they aren’t exactly lightweight or small ( I.e.; they are awkward to move and store) it usually ends up sitting on your work bench so they are usually in the way. The small lathe has been great but it’s size was constantly limiting what I could do.

I started looking for a new full sized lathe a few weeks ago. I want a variable speed lathe (tired of belt changes) so was looking pretty hard at the Nova Saturn or possibly a used 1624 plus a DVR upgrade. From my research I think the Nova 1624 would be a good starter lathe and if you find you are using it a lot and want a variable speed lathe you can upgrade it for about $600+\-. The1624s show up on craigslist or Facebook marketplace fairly often ( I’ve been looking). While you are looking also search for Nova Saturn. You might get lucky and find a used one for just a little over $1000.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View mramseyISU's profile

mramseyISU

572 posts in 1965 days


#8 posted 09-10-2018 05:52 PM



I started with a small benchtop lathe and have done some really fun things with it. I went small because I had no idea what I was doing and I didn t know if I would really enjoy it. Now, when I want some shop time but am not ready to start a project, it is my go-to. One thing to consider when comparing a benchtop lathe versus a floor model is that the smaller lathes only really save you a small amount of space because they have to sit somewhere when not in use. Because they aren t exactly lightweight or small ( I.e.; they are awkward to move and store) it usually ends up sitting on your work bench so they are usually in the way. The small lathe has been great but it s size was constantly limiting what I could do.

I started looking for a new full sized lathe a few weeks ago. I want a variable speed lathe (tired of belt changes) so was looking pretty hard at the Nova Saturn or possibly a used 1624 plus a DVR upgrade. From my research I think the Nova 1624 would be a good starter lathe and if you find you are using it a lot and want a variable speed lathe you can upgrade it for about $600+-. The1624s show up on craigslist or Facebook marketplace fairly often ( I ve been looking). While you are looking also search for Nova Saturn. You might get lucky and find a used one for just a little over $1000.

- Lazyman

Reading that really mirrors a lot of my thought process. I don’t have a lot of room in my shop so I’m planning on building a bench that goes over the top of my jointer to put whatever lathe I end up buying on so functionally I’m going to be buying a benchtop lathe that doesn’t move. I look at the bigger benchtop lathes like the Nova Comet II or a Jet 1221VS that have a VFD and 12” of swing capacity and I think I could probably do a lot with one of those. I’m thinking small bowls/platters or projects along those lines. Then again I don’t want to be in a situation where I buy something and 3 years later I’m wishing I would have bought a full size one and just figured out how to rearrange the floor space in my shop. As far as the used route goes I’ve been looking on craigslist and facebook for about 6 weeks now and I haven’t seen anything that wasn’t $100 lathe 30 years ago that they’re asking $300 for and I’d need to come up with a motor for.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5654 posts in 4083 days


#9 posted 09-10-2018 07:34 PM

... so I m planning on building a bench that goes over the top of my jointer to put whatever lathe I end up buying on …

Make sure that whatever you build, the spindle height with the lathe sitting on the bench is at or slightly above your elbow height. If the lathe is too low it could bring on back pain, if it is too high it can create some real tool control problems.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View mramseyISU's profile

mramseyISU

572 posts in 1965 days


#10 posted 09-10-2018 08:01 PM



... so I m planning on building a bench that goes over the top of my jointer to put whatever lathe I end up buying on …

Make sure that whatever you build, the spindle height with the lathe sitting on the bench is at or slightly above your elbow height. If the lathe is too low it could bring on back pain, if it is too high it can create some real tool control problems.

- TheDane

From what I’ve read I want to shoot for about elbow high. I was going to shoot for that.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4577 posts in 4162 days


#11 posted 09-10-2018 09:20 PM

I recommend one with ‘continuous’ variable speed….

First lathe was a Delta Midi – - with 5 speeds. easy to move the belt…

We got a used oneway 1224 (12 inch) with a speed control knob, such that you can flick the switch to forward and then just rotate the knob to bring the speed to where you want.
Avoids the torque of the instant “on/off”.... especially if you turn anything delicate.
then easy to just turn it up, to do sanding without shutting down, and moving belts.

Hear good things about the Rikon Midi..

Rikon
70-220VSR

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View LazarusDB's profile

LazarusDB

36 posts in 585 days


#12 posted 09-10-2018 09:37 PM

I have exactly 6 days or turning experience so take my opinion for what it’s worth. I absolutely love the Nova Comet II. I was worried that I was buying something I would outgrow in six months but now I can see having this for the next 20+ years even if I eventually buy a full size. The lathe is actually bigger than I thought and I love the variable speed control. I think it’s a great value for the price. I bought mine off Amazon because it was $75 less than Rockler. The chuck and jaws are also less expensive on Amazon. I’M ADDICTED TO TURNING! Off to the shop for more turning now.

Aaron

-- Aaron - Aspiring Craftsman

View mramseyISU's profile

mramseyISU

572 posts in 1965 days


#13 posted 09-11-2018 01:43 PM



I have exactly 6 days or turning experience so take my opinion for what it s worth. I absolutely love the Nova Comet II. I was worried that I was buying something I would outgrow in six months but now I can see having this for the next 20+ years even if I eventually buy a full size. The lathe is actually bigger than I thought and I love the variable speed control. I think it s a great value for the price. I bought mine off Amazon because it was $75 less than Rockler. The chuck and jaws are also less expensive on Amazon. I M ADDICTED TO TURNING! Off to the shop for more turning now.

Aaron

- LazarusDB

I keep coming back to this one two for a lot of reasons. I think when I pull the trigger I’ll probably run down to Acme Tools since they have a brick and mortar store about 45 minutes away and their prices are consistent with Amazon.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2673 posts in 2555 days


#14 posted 09-11-2018 07:11 PM

I would call first before driving for 45 minutes one way. They may not have any lathes on hand!

-- Bill

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