Rikon 70-050VS 12x16" Opinions

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Forum topic by jta posted 02-11-2020 12:46 AM 407 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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57 posts in 690 days

02-11-2020 12:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: turning lathe

Hi All, Looking at making a first foray into the turning world as I want to do my own pens for a starting point, and eventually tool handles/shakers etc (my wife is also very interested in turning and is keen for us to have a lathe so she can use it as well). So I am looking at an opportunistic purchase of a lathe if a decent one comes up second hand. Primary characteristics I look for in a tool is something that’s going to make the experience comfortable/enjoyable, even if that costs a little more. Have seen what appears reasonable deal on Rikon 70-050VS 12×16” with what appear to be a couple of better than entry gouge sets, and am wondering what folks opinions are on this lathe (have read a few reviews which suggest its a good bang for your buck), and what its worth second hand? If not this, anyone have a feel for good options I should keep an eye out for?

Appreciate any advice.

5 replies so far

View OSU55's profile


2651 posts in 2794 days

#1 posted 02-11-2020 03:31 PM

See if there is a woodturning club somewhat near you. AAW chapter search

Worth a couple hour drive to talk to members about what they use and why. Most all allow visitors. You will probably get a lot of recommendations here but they will be all over the map because there are all kinds of lathes at all kinds of price points. “Making the experience comfortable/enjoyable – that can mean anything, be more specific – you want a cnc lathe or a tredle model? Im being sarcastic. Got a $ figure in mind, understanding cutting tools, sharpening equipment, a chuck, land a few other accessories can easily reach a $500-$750. There are cheap ways but they may not be enjoyable. You may need to do more research to fine tune what you think you want, and talking with other turners can help.

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2876 posts in 2939 days

#2 posted 02-11-2020 07:36 PM

Because talking about discontinued used China made lathe not sure would even consider buying one! Rikon lathes not bad, but think dollar wise buying new versus used better deal. Different vendors do run manufacturers or store discount prices couple times a year. Really just matter of shopping different vendors.

For what your wanting to start turning any mini or midi size lathe should work. Already turning clubs mention and most would welcome you & wife to sit in a meeting free. Again could get lot of help! Might also look into local introductory woodturning classes for you & wife. While there are cost to classes might end up saving you more money!

-- Bill

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57 posts in 690 days

#3 posted 02-12-2020 08:16 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys, will try to find a club/turning classes instead and see what that leads to. Will be somewhat challenging given where I am located (Mt Pleasant, MI), as everywhere I’m aware of is a few hours drive, which is problematic given the timing for many of them. Will take a step back as I tend to prefer not going cheap but we all know how useless product reviews are on online shopping sites these days, so appreciate those sentiments as well.

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8159 posts in 3004 days

#4 posted 02-12-2020 08:46 PM

That Rikon looks to be in good shape, but there is no way I would ever pay $500 for it – particularly when you can buy an even better new one with digital readout for just $80 more (Rikon 70-1218VS at Amazon for $580).

If you do find a woodturning club, they will certainly be able to steer you in the right direction and hopefully set you up with a nice used machine for a lot less. Until then, keep an eye out for a good used machine – they are out there, you just have to be patient. Just for reference, I paid $500 for a completely restored Powermatic 45 machine with a bunch of centers, turning tools, lots of documentation/manuals and an extra motor – and I still think I paid too much :) Up until then, I had never paid more than $150 for a lathe + goodies.


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

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2651 posts in 2794 days

#5 posted 02-12-2020 09:39 PM

AAW chapters in Traverse City (2 hrs) and Grand Rapids (1-1/2 hrs).

Decide what your budget is, and space requirements. You want a bench lathe? Got a bench? Need a stand for it? A midi lathe on a stand takes up almost as much room as a full size lathe.

One of the challenges is not knowing what you don’t know. There are many ways to accomplish things in turning, and people have their opinions, some good, some bad. How do you know what to trust? I trust myself, so initially I opted for cheap just to learn about turning and fill in some of those “what I wouldn’t have thought to ask” things. I was willing to lose a few $100 if it didn’t work out. I’m very glad I went that route. It allowed me to actually evaluate many of the things I had researched, many of the opinions out there, answer a lot of questions, figure out whether turning was for me, and what I wanted in a lathe and accessories, not what someone else thought I needed. I had the HF 34706 lathe and a set of HF tools to start. If it ended up in the trash, so be it. 6 years, some nice projects, and a whole lot more knowledge later I sold it for a reasonable amount and now have a very nice lathe with the design specs that were important to me and what I wanted to do. I initially got it to make a few tool handles, help with a few other non ww’ing projects, and just putter with. Had no idea I’d end up making all kinds of bowls, hollow forms, vases, boxes, ornaments, etc, etc. I don’t buy Christmas, birthday, wedding etc gifts, now I make them, and sell stuff as well. You don’t know what you don’t know.

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