Mini/Midi lathe

I am almost an intermediate pen turner. I began using
the lathe part of a Shopsmith many years ago, dropped
the hobby because of some issues with my eyesight, but
picked it up again with a Harbor Freight mini lathe.
I found the HF lathe to be entirely adequate in terms of
turning the blanks. I had some problems with it - the
belt broke and it was a struggle to replace it (let alone
find a replacement). I just could not keep it going, so I
used the limited funds to purchase a lathe from Woodturner's
Catalog called "the Apprentice" last year. It was a similar
unit to the HF unit and a Chinese made item.
It too served me well turniung blanks, but when I started
to use a chuck and tailstock drill bit, it became more
inaccurate and had issues withthe tailstock quill advancement.
I talked to the tech support people at Woodturner's and learned
that the unit was not built for doing such blank drilling
operations because the motor was not capable of it over the
long haul (whichi n my case was about a year during the warm
months). He suggested that I could sill drill the blanks, but
with me advancing the tailstock withoit unlocked to the bed. Now
this works fine for all my woods except ebony and pink ivory.
These blnks blow out because I don;t have the physical ability
to carefully advance the bit when breaking through the end of the
blank. It is the same way, but not as severe with the acrylics I
turn. Given all this, I have decided to purchase a better quality
machine with a strongert motor and better accuracy with the
tailstock that is little to no side to sdie wobble.
I am looking at Jet, Nova, a Peenn State private brand, Rikon and
Grizzly. What are the experiences of other turners and what did
you look at when choosing your lathe?
Thanks for any and all responders.
John Carter
Reply to
John Carter
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John, I currently have the Laguna 1216 and love it. Over the several different shops I've had in the past, I've had both mini and midi lathes and have grown to prefer the extra size and horsepower from the midi lathes. They're a little more expensive but worth the cost and expand my capabilities. I've used and been quite satisfied with the Jet, and older Delta lathes. On this last purchase, I was looking at Nova, Jet, Laguna, and Rikon. I settled on the Laguna primarily because the tool rest has 1" posts and the clamp wraps around the post, not just a bolt jammed up against the post. They are all very similar and, for me, that was the deciding factor. I would have been happy with any of them. I'm an old fart now, but still remember the advise from my grandfather... "There's nothing so expensive as a cheap tool." He explained it's either quality of work needing a lot more effort to clean things up, constant repairs or replacement, or even injuries. "Do it right and you only have to do it once."
In reply to "John Carter" who wrote the following:
Reply to
Robert Barker
I've moved up to a 12, then 16" lathe, but the Jet Mini is a awsome lather for pen turning. I added a Talon chuck and turned hundreds bowls, vses, etc... I've had amny folks try to buy it, but I won't part withit... It's now my "buffing station" using the beale system..
Hop that helps, mac >I am almost an intermediate pen turner. I began using >the lathe part of a Shopsmith many years ago, dropped >the hobby because of some issues with my eyesight, but >picked it up again with a Harbor Freight mini lathe. > >I found the HF lathe to be entirely adequate in terms of >turning the blanks. I had some problems with it - the >belt broke and it was a struggle to replace it (let alone >find a replacement). I just could not keep it going, so I >used the limited funds to purchase a lathe from Woodturner's >Catalog called "the Apprentice" last year. It was a similar >unit to the HF unit and a Chinese made item. > >It too served me well turniung blanks, but when I started >to use a chuck and tailstock drill bit, it became more >inaccurate and had issues withthe tailstock quill advancement. >I talked to the tech support people at Woodturner's and learned >that the unit was not built for doing such blank drilling >operations because the motor was not capable of it over the >long haul (whichi n my case was about a year during the warm >months). He suggested that I could sill drill the blanks, but >with me advancing the tailstock withoit unlocked to the bed. Now >this works fine for all my woods except ebony and pink ivory. >These blnks blow out because I don;t have the physical ability >to carefully advance the bit when breaking through the end of the >blank. It is the same way, but not as severe with the acrylics I >turn. Given all this, I have decided to purchase a better quality >machine with a strongert motor and better accuracy with the >tailstock that is little to no side to sdie wobble. > > >I am looking at Jet, Nova, a Peenn State private brand, Rikon and >Grizzly. What are the experiences of other turners and what did >you look at when choosing your lathe? > >Thanks for any and all responders. > >John Carter
Reply to
Mac Davis

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