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Forum topic by Holbs posted 12-02-2020 08:01 AM 996 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Holbs

2373 posts in 2997 days


12-02-2020 08:01 AM

My master plan is to go full bore back into the wood working hobby (with the desire to do more than hobby eventually) around this coming spring time. I had put all wood working related stuff on hold last fall due to a security event that happened (have since learned/installed a lot with IP cameras and DIY home security systems) and also had to do home improvements since I’ve been neglecting that aspect for 7 years.
Knowing that I’ll be getting back on the saddle again, I upgraded a couple machines (not even assembled due to my 2 car garage wood working shop is inhabited with vehicles). 14” delta clone era bandsaw to a Laguna 14mband220 and delta unisaw 52” rail to a sawstop 52” pcs.
I have funds for one more machinery purchase. I would like that to be a lathe. Currently, I have a used older Rockwell 5 speed lathe and some Craftsman HSS chisels. Sadly, I only turned it on once to make sure the motor works and that’s about it. My financial wallet would allow me to initially sink around $1500 with the understanding that woodturning tools and accessories will eventually grow. With Christmas coming up, am hoping there will be sales to help out.
As when I purchased my first ever table saw (Bosch 4100, which I still have as it’s handy to cut MDF or stuff outside), I have no idea how far down the rabbit hole I will go. Wooden handles, chair legs, bowls, goblets, spindles…I can see myself doing all of that. That leaves me with a question mark at the size. Luckily, most midi-lathes come with extensions such as the Rikon 70-220VSR, Delta 46-460 and the JET JWL-1221VS . And yes, a VSR is mandatory. I assume (just like every other machinery in my shop) that bigger the HP, the better. Seems the Nova G3 chuck is the #1 chuck to go for. No idea why but that is because of inexperience. Will I need to upgrade above the Craftsman HSS chisels?
Would love to convert any 110v motor to 220v but it seems most midi lathes are 110v only.
I have read many reviews on the 3 lathes mentioned above (rikon, delta, jet). And it looks like I sadly missed out on that Amazon listing of the Jet for $399 Black Friday.

Does all this sound like I am on the right track?

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"


17 replies so far

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

2215 posts in 3761 days


#1 posted 12-02-2020 10:46 AM

Since you are not in a rush, look for used. I got a great powermatic 90 a couple years ago for less than $500. A beast. Reeves drive, so variable speed. And for what I saved, I can add a motor and vfd and still be money ahead. Only 25 percent of my machines were new. This has allowed me to purchase machines I could never justify new.

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2932 posts in 3103 days


#2 posted 12-02-2020 11:57 AM

I think you are on the right track with any of the three lathes & chuck mentioned. Recommend buying new versus use midi lathe. Those old craftsman tools will serve you well learning to turn and sharpen/resharpening those tools.

You will eventually want to upgrade those tools and recommend getting a catalog form these folks:

http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com

http://www.packardwoodworks.com

-- Bill

View mike02719's profile

mike02719

282 posts in 4754 days


#3 posted 12-02-2020 01:22 PM

Starting from scratch, can be a good place for some, but can also be very expensive. From your list of projects with the exception of bowls, a midi lathe will do fine for you. You should go the expense for variable speed whatever you buy. As for Craftsman turning tools, they are good. Not the best like Thompson, but worth keeping. They were my first set but still used very often and I have over thirty turning tools. Nova, Easywood, and other big name chucks all perform well,but I am partial to One Way chucks because I have jaws that fit my needs. Good Luck and let us see your progress.

-- Mike, Massachusetts

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Holbs

2373 posts in 2997 days


#4 posted 12-02-2020 01:25 PM

Opinions of Robert Sorby lathe chisels? I realize the Craftsman work. But would like to keep my eyes out on more stout brands. Never heard of Thompson chisels.
And yea.. I realize more chucks will be needed down the road. Figured the G3 would be a good place to start.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5913 posts in 4631 days


#5 posted 12-02-2020 02:56 PM

You cannot buy a better quality tool than a Thompson Lathe Tool. Doug Thompson is a woodturner himself who uses quality steel, fabricates the tools for many of the top professionals, and answers the phone himself when you call for help or to place an order.

I think you would be well-served to hook up with your local AAW chapter. In Reno, it is the Nevada Woodchucks ( https://www.NevadaWoodchucks.org ). This chapter has been around for 20+ years, and IMHO would be a valuable resource for you. You are asking a lot of the right questions … I just think establishing relationships with local, experienced turners is going to yield more useful answers.

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

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

6310 posts in 2356 days


#6 posted 12-02-2020 04:32 PM

If you think you might want to do bowls, don’t go smaller than a 12” swing. If you really want to do table legs and other long spindles, I would probably consider moving up to a larger and longer floor standing lathe rather than adding an extension to a midi. Another midi Lathe to consider is the Nova Comet II. You will sometimes see a deal that includes a Nova chuck and or some turning tools. You can’t go wrong with a Nova chuck but there are some others that have a quick/tool-less change option for the jaws. (I hate changing jaws). If you think you may want to eventually upgrade to a larger lathe, get a chuck with a replaceable adapter. Nova (Teknatool) may have the best selection in that regard? It may be a little more expensive that way but if down the road you upgrade from a 1” to a 1-1/8” spindle that larger lathes typically have, you only need to replace the adapter.

Sorby makes good tools and I have heard nothing but good things about the Thompson tools. My local Woodcraft regularly has sales on Sorby turning tools. When I started, I was trying to keep the cost down because I wasn’t sure how much turning I would actually do so I bought a set of Benjamin's Best spindle tools from PSI though you might not need that if you have those tools in your set from Craftsman. That BB set is actually cheaper on Amazon. I eventually bought some Hurricane bowl gouges. Both are very good tools, very reasonably priced, and I have never felt the need to upgrade to the Thompson tools. Note: I think that PSI will give you 10-15% off your first purchase if you register your email for their regular promotional email, at least they used to anyway. I have also added some carbide tools that I use mostly for hollowing vessels or in some cases when the HHS tools are a little awkward to use.

The other thing you will need is a good way to sharpen the HSS tools. You will often have to resharpen a gouge multiple times on a large bowl, depending upon the wood type and dryness, so ease of use is important. If it is a pain to sharpen, you will tend to wait too long to freshen the edge and frustration will ensue. A good slow or variable speed bench grinder is the easiest way to go but I prefer using a belt sander. You can use a full speed grinder but you have to use a lighter touch and you may want to replace the wheels that typically come with them. A Wolverine sharpening system is a good way to go for the bench grinder but there are some DIY versions out there if you are so inclined. I started sharpening on my DIY belt sander and this year I splurged for a Sorby Proedge system when Rockler had it on sale.

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

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

713 posts in 1588 days


#7 posted 12-02-2020 04:50 PM

Beware, turning is an expensive rabbit hole. If you have $1500 to spend, spend half on a lathe and use the rest for everything else mentioned above. Good chuck, sharpening system and jigs, turning tools, etc.. I may be a little pessimistic about turning, but it seems like whatever you spend on the lathe, you’ll end up spending that much and more on all the add-ons.

I’m still using my grandfather’s 1954 craftsman lathe and the tools that came with it. I did add a Nova chuck and used a free treadmill motor and controls to make it variable speed. I have learned to hand sharpen without jigs or a grinder. A little slow, but free.

BTW, my wife claims I suffer from male pattern cheapness. I tend to agree, but I’ve been having a blast turning for next to no cash.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

2373 posts in 2997 days


#8 posted 12-02-2020 04:52 PM

Ah…that is great info to know now about the consideration of starting off with a midi lathe that has upward expandability parts to a full sized lathe. Didn’t know larger lathes had 1-1/8” spindles. Yes, I forgot to mention the #4 lathe of the Nova Comment 2. My thinking (just like my Bosch 4100) is to have a midi lathe to start learning on. If I go larger down the road, will keep the midi lathe for smaller projects.

In regards to sharpening… oh yes. I gots all the necessary items. Diamond plates, worksharp, WEN wet stone grinder. Have sharpened millions and millions of chisels & plane irons already so that base is covered. Granted, will take experience to sharpen lathe tools with curves.

I mentioned Robery Sorby only because there is a 14 piece at an auction going on currently for $180. If that doesn’t pan out, I will look into the Thompson chisels.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5913 posts in 4631 days


#9 posted 12-02-2020 04:59 PM

Didn’t know larger lathes had 1-1/8” spindles.

Correction: The ‘big boy’ lathes in the U.S. (Robust, Powermatic, etc.) have 1-1/4” x 8tpi spindles … OneWay uses a 33mm spindle. AFAIK, nobody is currently using a 1-1/8” spindle.

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

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

6310 posts in 2356 days


#10 posted 12-02-2020 05:16 PM

At about $13 per tool that Sorby set might be a good deal but you might get a bunch of tools you never use, depending upon what they are. A lot of sets tend to come with more scrappers than I would ever use but it might give you some tools you can regrind into other configurations.

I kept my smaller lathe thinking I might use if for smaller projects but 2 years after upgrading to a full size lathe, I have never used it. My Laguna 18/36 is just so much easier to use and the while you cannot do bigger projects on the smaller lathe you can do small projects on the bigger one. I have thought about turning it into a dedicated buffing tool or perhaps mounting some sanding drums or disks on it but just haven’t gotten around to it so it is just taking up space.

EDIT: Yup, 1-1/4”.

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

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

2373 posts in 2997 days


#11 posted 12-02-2020 05:21 PM

ok… that was a question lingering in the back of my mind that has now been answered: can you use a larger lathe to do small projects such as pen turning or chisel handles? For some reason, I thought no.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View OldBull's profile

OldBull

309 posts in 264 days


#12 posted 12-02-2020 05:22 PM

My DIY security system shoots 5.56X45, 357 and 9mm.

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

2373 posts in 2997 days


#13 posted 12-02-2020 05:33 PM


My DIY security system shoots 5.56X45, 357 and 9mm.

- OldBull


for fun…one day I may try to put dual .50 cal barrel replica’s on a PTZ ip camera.
But yes… due to my “security” event, I have since purchased a glock & mossberg :)

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

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WoodenDreams

1219 posts in 879 days


#14 posted 12-03-2020 04:34 AM

+1 with littleShaver. I did the cash rabbit hole so I can turn segmented Urns. My guidelines for this was a lathe with a minimum of 1hp, variable speed, reverse and a longer quill travel on the tailstock for drilling. Since this last spring, I got a Rikon 70-220VSR (has a 3 1/2” quill travel on the tailstock), two Nova G3 chucks, Nova 6033 Cole jaw bundle, Nova chuck jaw bundles, cheap HF woodturning tool set (to practice with before buying Thompson chisels and making my own handles), Rikon 70-800 carbide chisel set, Grizzly carbide chisel set, Wolverine sharpening system, MT2 drill chuck, several project kits, Lathe dust hood, and I’m forgetting some. To make room in my shop, I gave away a workbench to a friend, and made a workbench to accommodate the lathe height. And I’m still wanting to get more lathe accessories and hollowing tools. The addiction has began.

Rockler, Woodcraft and others have 10%-15% off quite often (as if, 10% off on different brands is their regular price on lathes) So don’t pay list price. rockler.com often has sales with the Nova chucks and bundles. pennstateind.com also has some good prices, but I have not purchased anything from them.

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Holbs

2373 posts in 2997 days


#15 posted 12-03-2020 08:04 AM

outbidded on that Sorby chisel set. Which is now a good thing. Planning on going the Thompson tools pathway and making own handles. Looks fun :)

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

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