11-30-2009 12:28 PM
My sister would like to buy a lathe for her husband for Christmas. He would like to use it to make spindles, lamps, possibly bowls and pens. I am a woodworker but do not use a lathe much at all and can't help her in what to buy. I sure would appreciate any help that you can provide as to which model would be good to get. She does not want to go cheap but does not need a Mercedez either. What would be a good lathe for a beginner? Any recommended sources?
11-30-2009 03:55 PM
As stated - the Delta 46-460 would be good. They can get a bed extension. Another thought is the Jet 1220 VS. They can also get a bed extension for that.
The nice thing about a mini lathe is that you don't really "outgrow" them. If you get really into turning later, they can be resold at a reasonable price - but many keep their minis - because they are handy.
11-30-2009 07:12 PM - edited 11-30-2009 07:14 PM
Here's another vote for the Jet Mini. I used mine for about five years before upgrading to a Jet 1442. Happily (!!) the 1442 had the same thread count and pitch as the Mini, so all of my adapters and accessories were a 1:1 fit.
I've still got my Mini. In a future time in life (read: when I move in a few years) I'll set up the Mini with the Beall triple polishing system and otherwise run it side-by-side as the 1442.
And why did I pick the Jet brand? I looked at the lathe demonstrators at the WW'ing shows over the course of several years and 100% of them used the Jet Mini. It spoke volumes to me about its long-term reliability.
Wood Online Moderator
12-01-2009 02:18 AM
The new Delta midi gets great reviews. It has a good low end RPM and weighs about 30 lbs more than the Jet. Weight makes a big difference when it comes to vibration absorption.
12-01-2009 06:49 AM
Thanks for all of your help! Both the Delta and Jet look really good after reading your comments and researching them online. I will have a happy Brother-in-Law come Christmas!!
12-03-2009 01:05 PM
Well here comes a different Idea. I have a Craftsman Professional 14" X 40 Variable speed lathe it is relatively new. It is solid smooth easy to adjust the speed comes with some nice accessories and will not cost an arm and leg the headstock rotates 90 so you can turn up to 22" platters and bowls. I have the optional outboard tool rest as well. I also have 3 small mini Craftsman lathes they sell for a little over a $100 and the kids love to make pens so I have them set up when they come. They do not like to wait for a turn very well. The come with a pen mandril to get you started. They are nice and easy for the kids to use and I find them really nice for my small work.
12-07-2009 03:05 PM
Go to PSI woodworking as they has cheap lathes, $130 or so, plus $50 for a basic set of tools and a additional $50 for a decent sharpener. And, if he likes lathe, then go for a better unit and tools. Otherwise, spend hundreds and even thousands on a lathe and the tools and sharpeners. Plan on a chain saw or several visits to a local lumberyard,,EBAY, Wood-turning associations etc for wood TO turn!
12-23-2009 11:25 AM
I agree with going with a full size lathe like the Craftsman and staying away from the mini. I took some classes on bowl turning and Mini's were being used and the lack of power was disappointing! For someone as a beginner this could become a real turn off for getting into turning. As noted in several responses is that people have moved up and either kept or sold the mini, so save the disappoinment and go with what works right away! Only thing is to stay away from the cheapest thing you can buy. You get what you pay for!