Which lathe to keep?

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Forum topic by petercbrockman posted 11-03-2018 05:30 PM 532 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 2487 days

11-03-2018 05:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: used lathes lathes

I have inherited two lathes; Rockwell 46-111 4-speed and a Central Machinery T34706 variable speed 600-2400.
The Rockwell came with a 1/3 hp Emerson motor. The Central has a 3/4 hp rated motor on the reversible head.
I believe both were lightly used. I am new to turning. Which one of these should I hang onto, and which one do I regift?

4 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


7405 posts in 2618 days

#1 posted 11-03-2018 05:45 PM

I was in a similar situation… 5 lathes, not enough room, and had to thin the herd. I had the predecessor to your Delta, the 46-110, which was a similar 4 speed stepped pulley design, but with 10” swing instead of 11”. I also have the original to that harbor freight lathe, the Jet JWL1236, which is basically identical.

I just sold the Delta two weeks ago ;-)


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View OSU55's profile


2357 posts in 2408 days

#2 posted 11-03-2018 06:06 PM

Keep the HF 34706. Here is my review of it. The reeves drive should be disassembled, inspected, and lubed and will give years of trouble free use. Some of the knobs may need tightened or replaced and I did have to replace the main spindle headstock clamp bolt after it broke but not a big deal. Have made hundreds of nice pieces with the lathe.

You will need cutting tools and a sharpening method. Recommend starting with Benjamins Best tools from PSI and a slow speed 8” bench grinder with alox wheels and a wolverine varigrind style jig. May want to look at tool rests also – easy to drill out the banjo to accept 1” tool rest bars. May want a chuck – look at psi Barracuda2 keyed not 2handled.

View Wildwood's profile


2672 posts in 2553 days

#3 posted 11-03-2018 07:38 PM

Disagree with other posters think that Rockwell lathe easier to operate moving belts over pulleys to change speed more reliable than reeves drive lathe. That Rockwell is easier to repair or modify.

Both lathes primarly spindle lathes althought can turn bowls on them. HF’s starting speed slower than Rockwell’s but easier to modify just by changing pulley wheels, or converting to electronic control speed. Not a big fan of Asian reeves drive lathes, but just MHO!

Not sure what type of turning you want to do, but would keep both lathes until learn how to turn wood.

Learning spindle turning first makes bowl turning lot easier because you learn tool control with different turning tools; parting tool, skews, and gouges. Bowl turning only need bowl gouges & and maybe a scrapper or two. That comes from my personal experince turning simple spindle projects before jumping into bowl turning.

-- Bill

View petercbrockman's profile


4 posts in 2487 days

#4 posted 11-04-2018 01:00 AM

Thanks to all. Most heart warming to be part of this community of knowledge, skill, and sharing.


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