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I'm considering dipping into the lathe adventure and want to purchase a mini lathe. What features are necessary and what other specs should I be looking for? How good is Rikon products? Any name brand to stay away from? Any other info also appreciated.
Thank you.
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"Justin Time" wrote in message
I'm considering dipping into the lathe adventure and want to purchase a mini lathe. What features are necessary and what other specs should I be looking for? How good is Rikon products? Any name brand to stay away from? Any other info also appreciated. =============================================================================I have a Jet. Mine does not have a variable speed. The variable speed on a motor that small wastes to much power. Get a belt change type. I have not used a Rikon but have heard good things about them.
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I have a Jet mini w/o the variable speed and it works great. I used one in a few local classes and decided it was the best for the money. Most turners in my area have one and/or a larger model. Our local turning club uses them for all the meetings, demonstrations and gatherings. Very well made, IMHO.
That being said, it's looking like I am going to have to sell mine this year. I hate to part with it but between the economy and my personal health, I just can't spend much time in front of it. I've already given away a good deal of wood to some club members and, let me tell you, it's really hard to part with wood, especially stuff like 150 year old pear wood. <sigh> Oh well, life is what it is.
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Justin Time wrote:

It really depends on where you are in your desire to get into turning. By that I mean, "Does it just seem like a neat idea, or do you have friends who turn and have seriously caught the bug?" If the former, (heresy disclaimer inserted) catch Harbor Freight's mini on sale. You get to turn, find out if you like it and it does no hit the pocket book so hard.
Also, you will need a set of gouges, Harbor Frieght also has a very servicable set of gouges (oh, believe me, if you got seriouly bitten by the bug you will upgrade) that will do very nicely for you while you are learning.
http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?q=gouges
(In fact, if you catch the sale right, you can get their 12x36 lathe for a very reasonable price. Its a knock off of the Jet 12X36. - Again, if you really have the bug, you will upgrade, but this gets you in without selling your first born.)
Then a good book/video (I used Raffan's "Turning Wood") to give you some pointers.
Deb
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On 2/4/2012 10:21 PM, Justin Time wrote:

I would suggest as inexpensive as you can find and learn. Then upgrade and make a more educated choice.
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On Sat, 04 Feb 2012 23:21:45 -0500, Justin Time wrote:

My personal preference is the little General with the electronic speed control and swivel head, but it's expensive.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
When I worked at Woodcraft, we had 3 Jet minis and 3 Rikon minis in the classroom. The ones without electronic speed control. I liked the Rikon a little better because belt changing was easier for my large hands, but both proved they could stand up to heavy class use.
Your best be if you're patient is to look for a used lathe. Craigslist is a good place to look, Ebay has gotten overpriced.
I agree with another poster's suggestion of the high speed steel tool set from Harbor Freight. Great for a beginner. You might want to add a bowl gouge and maybe a larger spindle gouge as you progress.
For that matter, HF's mini lathe looks remarkably like a copy of the Jet. I have no idea of the quality, but HF does have a pretty good return policy. Just keep swapping till you get a good one :-).
http://www.harborfreight.com/5-speed-bench-top-wood-lathe-65345.html
Good luck. Try to find a turners club near you - you'll learn a lot quicker with some help.
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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I asked about Rikon since I have $300 worth of gift cards for Woodcraft and a Rikon mini lathe cost $399. Comparing it to the other three floor models yesterday (Two Jets and a Delta), it was cheaper, but had the same HP. The one Jet VS and the Delta were variable speed. The other Jet mini and the Rikon were not. The Rikon length was longer than the two Jets but an inch shorther than the Delta.
I may take the plunge since the overall cost for me is $100.
Thanks for the input.
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On 2/5/2012 2:10 PM, Justin Time wrote:

Ummm you will need turning tools, about $300 worth for starters.
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Indeed, he needs turning tools, but there's no reason they have to be *that* expensive.
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On 2/5/2012 7:31 PM, Doug Miller wrote:

Well, probably not but if he gets into it the good tools work better and he will probably want at least a few better tools. Especially if he wants a better chuck, calipers...
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On Mon, 06 Feb 2012 06:05:03 -0600, Leon wrote:

Don't discourage the poor guy, Leon. We all know the tool companies should give away free lathes :-).
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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On 2/6/2012 11:33 AM, Larry Blanchard wrote:

Not trying to discourage him, just prepare him. The Lathe is only the first installment to turning. :~)
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first lathe or the first set of tools, when he doesn't even know yet if he's going to enjoy it. I think his best bet is to look for a decent used machine on Craigslist. If he doesn't like turning, he can re-sell it on CL and get most, if not all, of his money back.
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On 2/7/2012 8:56 AM, Doug Miller wrote:

Correct and I did say to buy an inexpensive one in an earlier post to determine if he is going to pursue this further. But if he gets into this $300 is not going to look like a fortune in tools. Not saying that $50 would not get him going on a set with several tools. But an adjustable chuck is a nice thing to have and is going to put a sizable dent in $300 quickly and sharpening is going to figure in there somewhere.
I am more warning about the slippery slope.
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like you were saying he'd need to spend $300 on lathe tools *to start with*.
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On 2/7/2012 12:34 PM, Doug Miller wrote:

Nope. Just a warning of things to come after bitten.    LOL
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On Tue, 07 Feb 2012 21:48:33 +0000, Doug Miller wrote:

There's several turners in the local AAW-associated group that swear they've never bought a blank - they all have chainsaws in the trunk at all times :-). Not sure what they do about exotic stuff, do without or trade for it.
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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On 2/7/2012 11:56 AM, Leon wrote:

Ha! Ha! Ha! The slippery slope?? That's a good one!!! Who ever heard of such a thing? : )
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"Leon" wrote in message

Correct and I did say to buy an inexpensive one in an earlier post to determine if he is going to pursue this further. But if he gets into this $300 is not going to look like a fortune in tools. Not saying that $50 would not get him going on a set with several tools. But an adjustable chuck is a nice thing to have and is going to put a sizable dent in $300 quickly and sharpening is going to figure in there somewhere.
I am more warning about the slippery slope. =================================================================Yes, lathes are very expensive. The machine is the cheap part. At least it's incremental rather than all at once.
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wrote:

I have been doing lathe work for about a year. My total expense has been:
HF 12" Lathe 160 HF beefier HSS tool set 50 HF slow speed wet grinder 50 PSI chuck with jumbo jaws less than 100
I have done some spindle turning but mostly segmented bowls. I am running out of space to put them and people to give them to. I think I do OK work with minimal expense. When I show a bowl no one admires the tools I made it with. I am satisfied with my tools. I am a sawdust maker rather than a tool collector and don't feel like I am sliding down the slippery slope. I won the bowl contest at the local Woodcraft store. You can buy the HF set for much less than a few tools others recommend.
Some of my work is at
http://ray80538.home.comcast.net/~ray80538/SegmentedBowl/segbowl.html
Ray
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