First Lathe Purchase advice

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Forum topic by Tapit34 posted 11-05-2018 06:53 PM 1062 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 998 days

11-05-2018 06:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe first purchase advice

Hello! I have been wanting a mid size wood lathe for years! I know loads about metal working machines but not wood turning. Suggestions on which is a good first buy lathe is what I am after!
I don’t want to take apart to adjust belts to change speeds and would like an emergency cut off switch. Those are important to me.
Please offer up the GOOD, BAD and UGLY lathes for first time turner!

8 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2981 posts in 1323 days

#1 posted 11-05-2018 07:19 PM

do you have a budget to work within ??
brands and prices are all over the map these days can you narrow down
what you will be making on the lathe and what price range you are married to.
I am on my 2nd HF 12×33”. the only thing I don’t like about it is the low speed
is not below 700rpm. which would be really nice to have.
electronic speed control would be my #1 requirement for my next lathe.

  • this subject is posted at least monthly here . . . . use the search feature in the
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-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View MrUnix's profile


8686 posts in 3359 days

#2 posted 11-05-2018 07:48 PM

Too little information. Budget? Type of turning you want to do? Available space? Location? 240v available or restricted to 120v? Mechanical ability (for used versus new, US made versus Asian import preference)?

There are too many different lathes to give any real advice without knowing more.


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

View Wildwood's profile


2959 posts in 3295 days

#3 posted 11-05-2018 08:45 PM

Sage advice is buy more than think you will need.

A good compromise would be a midi lathe versus mini or full size lathe because can add a bed extension for more distance between centers. When shopping don’t forget to price bed extensions too. All of these electronic speed control will require minor belt change.

Names like Delta, Jet, Nova Comet, Rikon, there are more Midi lathe than that on the market but these probably most popular and have many user reviews.

Laguna REVO a 12 by 16 midi is coming to market soon.

If need a full size lathe this one already mentioned not a bad starter lathe on a budget. Does not have EVS but reeves drive lever to change speeds.

The lathe not the only expense need safety gear, sharpening system, and tools too!

-- Bill

View LittleShaver's profile


768 posts in 1780 days

#4 posted 11-05-2018 10:24 PM

Budget about half what you spend on the lathe for all the other bits that need to go with it. Tools, chucks, sharpening system, safety gear, etc.

-- Sawdust Maker

View LazarusDB's profile


37 posts in 1326 days

#5 posted 11-06-2018 02:57 PM

I bought the Nova Comet II (cheapest on Amazon) and couldn’t be happier. It has a switch for forward/reverse, variable speed with a dial plus three belt positions, doesn’t take up tons of space yet handles good sized work pieces. I’d buy it again.

-- Aaron - Aspiring Craftsman

View oberturned's profile


3 posts in 996 days

#6 posted 11-07-2018 05:14 AM

I use a little Nova for my smaller pieces.. but have a Powermatic for hollow forms and really big stuff. Are you looking to do spindle work or are you a “bowl” guy. I’d recommend that weight matters. The stability of the lathe is a huge benefit to your success. “Middy” lathes.. I’d refer back to Wildwood’s comment , solid products, all of them. Best of luck!

View Dustin's profile


707 posts in 1901 days

#7 posted 11-07-2018 01:11 PM

I’ll also second Wildwood’s comments. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of those midi lathes (if that’s what you’re in the market for). I personally have the Delta 46-460, and it has been a joy to use. But as oberturned stated above, larger lathes = more mass and better stability, which is why I’m looking at a full sized lathe early next year. Mind you, I love my Delta, so I’ll be keeping it for small projects and to use for a dedicated function to speed up things like pens.

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View mrg's profile


884 posts in 4160 days

#8 posted 11-11-2018 11:20 AM

For a straight up no belts lathe that has torque and power look at the Teknatool Nova lathes Specificlly the DVR lineup

Bigger you are looking at Robust, Oneway and Powermatic.

The Robust, Oneway and Nova lathes can be outfitted with a emergency shutoff. At least the Nova has that option at one time. The Robust and Oneway I turned on did.

-- mrg

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