Looking for advice for purchasing a wood lathe and tools

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Hello all ...
I am new to this group(s) but have been woodworking for over 30 years and am seeking advice about purchasing a new wood lathe
I used to work with old single speed ... stationary head ... 1.5 hp Rockwell 12 inch lathe I realize how much I miss it
Info that may help with your advice
* My budget is about $1000 (for the lathe itself)
* I have searched Usenet looking for recent similar postings
* I have been to woodcraft and they advise the Jet VS Pro (JWL-1442VSK)
* I have compared features ... but it has been so long since I have worked with a wood lathe ... I really feel I need the advice of professionals
* At present I have no particular project in mind ... but in the past I have done things such as bowls ... pedestals ... table legs ... and stair rails ... so I am looking for something sturdy and versatile
What features should I look for?
* 360 degree swivel headstock?
* Variable speed (how variable)?
* Reversible turning direction?
As to Lathe tools ... Like any cutting tool ... the better the quality ... the longer the edge will hold ...
Any advice as to brand would also help here ... I personally use CASE or Miller Falls wood chisels and find them both to be excellent
What is your advice as far as which tools to start out with?
I looked at the Sorby tools at Woodcraft and liked the heft of the tool ... but the handles seem a bit cheap
Thanks for your time ... sorry for all the questions from a newbie ...
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

180 degrees is more than enough, if any. 90 is more typical of the swivel-heads. 0 is generally fine.

Nice, but can be retrofitted, too.

As usual, I'll suggest that the best bang for your buck will come from a used unit. There is little to go wrong on a lathe.
The classified ads. If you have an "all classified ad paper/website", that, too.
craigslist for your area (start at craigslist.org if you are not familiar with it, find the one closest to you.
Any realtors you can find (they are often interested in getting large tools out of houses before sale.)
Estate sales.
In most cases if the prior owner has either passed on or gotten out of woodturning, the tools and accessories are either part of the package, or available at quite reasonable cost if you ask.
Morbidly yours, with 2 big lathes that came from the estates of folks who won't be needing them anymore. I expect that they would be happier to have them being used than getting scrapped.
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wrote: <SNIP>
Thanks for the advice ... I never thought of used
Any advice as to what to look for?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Unless you are in a very lathe-rich area, start with what you can find. Be aware of what the recent cheap Chinese versions look like, and some of the various names they might be called, and what they can be had for from Harbor Freight on sale. Whether or not you choose to buy one, paying too much for it stinks if you do. Likewise with Sears (there's someone local to me that's been trying to unload one at more-or-less list price for months - either daft, or patiently waiting for a sucker.)
But if you have a choice, avoid them in favor of (generally older) North American iron - Delta, Powermatic, General, Yates-American. There are some nice british Myfords running about - not too common on this side of the pond, but quite good. I personally have veered into much older, but that may not be for everyone (3 of my lathes are more than 100, and perhaps 125, years old - 2 FE Reed's and a Faye & Scott). Now, if someone happens to be selling off a One-Way, and the price and condition suit, buy it - but that's a much less common find, simply because they are much newer.
Unless & until you know more than you presently do, avoid metal-working lathes - they are set up somewhat differently than wood lathes, and modifying one for woodturning is a project best engaged in when you have a lot better idea of what you are trying to do.
If you find a lathe, typically from either a "serious" shop or a school that has a 3-phase motor, don't panic. Do try to negotiate a lower price. Then go buy a 1 phase in, 3 phase out VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) for about $100-$200 - you get a lathe that has a nice variable speed system, and you don't have to have the power company rewire your house, or go find a new motor.
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A grand will get you (at least for a while) one of these. http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID 011 Have to say, as others are bound to, that it's only the beginning. If you recal the definition of a boat as a hole in the water into which you pour money, you'll get some idea of what we mean.

As mentioned, 90 is plenty. Anything else complicates things.

You want good low end to keep your options open on out-of-balance stock. How many speeds you want differs from how many you need.

Why? Are you left-handed? Otherwise, you're into a lot of accomodation like locking faceplates and such for "benefits" best described as marginal.

M2 is the common alloy. Lots of sources. You can get other, more exotic types for big bucks, but I'd rather have a wider assortment than a million-dollar baby.

I like the Sorby handles all right, though the Crown/Hamlet/Taylor round end handles are my favorites. When I make handles for unhandled tools, they generally look like the Crown. Start with a set and learn enough to be able to make decisions as to which tool you need next. Even the same name won't get you the same contour between manufacturers.
Use every tool you can beg or borrow from other turners to see what you think. Can't buy 'em all, and sometimes you end up jointing with a Jack and rabbeting with a shoulder plane, if you know what I mean.

It's only the beginning.
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Just a couple tips on the used lathes.
Grab the spindle and try to move it up and down and left and right. There should be zero play. If there is, bearings may be shot.
Turn on the lathe and listen. Any odd sounds coming from the motor or the spindle?
If it has a rotating head stock, rotate it 90 degrees and lock in place. Turn on the lathe and again listen.
Rotate the lathe back. Put a drive spur in the headstock and a live center in the tailstock. Run the tailstock up to the headstock. Do the points of the spur drive and live center meet or are they off a bit?
Run through all the available speeds with the lathe on (if possible.) Some lathes require that you move the belts with the lathe off. Does the lathe run smooth in all speeds?
On Nov 4, 8:19 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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ALL
Thanks much for the advice ... Hope you dont mind a few more questions / bits of info
INFO
* I did a good bit of turning back in the late 70-mid 80's ... so I am not a complete newbie ... but am just looking for what technology changes have occured that I can take advantage of ... now that I have a larger budget
* I tried craigslist (use it all the time here in Colorado Springs) ... most of the stuff were shopsmith (which I tend to avoid) ... there was one really old (1950ish) Powermatic that looked in sad shape ... I even tried the want adds ... which had none for sale
* Now that I am making enough to purchase decent quality tools ... I tend to purchase new (which isnt always better) ... but if used isnt available I have to resort to new
QUESTIONS:
* Why should I consider the Nova ( http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID 011 ) over the Jet ( http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyidR25 ) ?
* With regard to "As mentioned, 90 is plenty. Anything else complicates things." can you elaborate on this? ... as it seems all units now have 360 ... <personally I dont see much use for more than 90 ... or even 45 ... from my experience >
COMMENTS:
Kevin (my name as well) ... thanks for the 'kick the tires' primer on lathes ... it is always good to know what to look for when buying used
Ecnerwal - I live 1 block from a Harbor Freight ... and I use it often ... but never for power tools from past experiences with Chicago Machinery ... they just dont last ... wore out the bearings and fittings on my variable speed drill press ... replaced it with a Delta Industrial ... Wore out the slide mechanism on my 10 inch sliding chop saw ... replaced it with a Delta 12 inch ... I wont even mention 18V cordless drills
Darrell - thanks much for the primer and sharpening tips ... I used to do my own sharpening ... but have lost the skills ... hopefully this will help bring them back I was going to pull out the 3 grades of Smiths stones I use for all my blades :)
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I have had my Jet 1442 from Woodcraft for about 10 months and am very satisfied with it. Cost a little less than $900. One very important recommendation---If you get the Jet make sure they furnish the nylon washer that goes between the shaft and a faceplate or chuck. If you use the lathe without it, you will have problems removing those items without damaging the internal pulley. Other than that it has served me well. As far as tools, I was pretty well equipped because I had been turning bowls for over 10 years on my Shopsmith. Just make certain that you get HSS tools. Mid-priced ones are fine for a starter (Crown or Pinnacle, etc.)
Bob
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ALL
Thanks much for the advice ... Hope you dont mind a few more questions / bits of info
INFO
* I did a good bit of turning back in the late 70-mid 80's ... so I am not a complete newbie ... but am just looking for what technology changes have occured that I can take advantage of ... now that I have a larger budget
* I tried craigslist (use it all the time here in Colorado Springs) ... most of the stuff were shopsmith (which I tend to avoid) ... there was one really old (1950ish) Powermatic that looked in sad shape ... I even tried the want adds ... which had none for sale
* Now that I am making enough to purchase decent quality tools ... I tend to purchase new (which isnt always better) ... but if used isnt available I have to resort to new
QUESTIONS:
* Why should I consider the Nova ( http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID 011 ) over the Jet ( http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyidR25 ) ?
* With regard to "As mentioned, 90 is plenty. Anything else complicates things." can you elaborate on this? ... as it seems all units now have 360 ... <personally I dont see much use for more than 90 ... or even 45 ... from my experience >
COMMENTS:
Kevin (my name as well) ... thanks for the 'kick the tires' primer on lathes ... it is always good to know what to look for when buying used
Ecnerwal - I live 1 block from a Harbor Freight ... and I use it often ... but never for power tools from past experiences with Chicago Machinery ... they just dont last ... wore out the bearings and fittings on my variable speed drill press ... replaced it with a Delta Industrial ... Wore out the slide mechanism on my 10 inch sliding chop saw ... replaced it with a Delta 12 inch ... I wont even mention 18V cordless drills
Darrell - thanks much for the primer and sharpening tips ... I used to do my own sharpening ... but have lost the skills ... hopefully this will help bring them back I was going to pull out the 3 grades of Smiths stones I use for all my blades :)
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The Nova has a a lower min RPM and a larger swing over the bed.
The Jet has a larger capacity between centers (you can get extension beds for both) and is quite a bit heavier if you get the cast iron legs.

I think headstocks either rotate or they don't. The 90 vs 45 vs 360 is a non-issue. I don't think I have ever been past 90 on my 1442 (with which, I have been very happy). I rotate the headstock often. It allows me to get a more comfortable stance. That said, most, if not all higher end (pro) lathes do not have a rotating headstock, and the pros get along just fine.
I have never touched the Nova. Had it been available when I was buying, I would have looked seriously at that model. FWW liked it in a recent review.
-Steve
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Note the 450 low speed on the JET. Can get a bit dicey if you've got an unbalanced design in mind or you've cut a piece of green wood that's been laying on the ground wrong, dividing it into two half-dry half-soaked pieces instead of one of each. At 180 rpm you can turn some strange stuff if you've the patience, and at 360 you're still well below the 450 on the JET. You also get the 2" extra swing with the possibility of tail support, a real boon. The cheaper versions of the Reeves drives have some problems you never encountered with the old-style monster Reeves types. Lot of possibilities for misalignment and oddball stresses.
http://www.teknatool.com/products/Lathes/1624/Downloads/Fine%20Woodworking%20Heavy%20Duty%20Lathe%20Test_April%2007.pdf Is a pretty good writeup.

are more or less equal. Turning without a tail support would allow you larger pieces, but you certainly want to look much harder at low speeds if you're planning 20" stuff. Faceplates, too!

I turned for years on a 46-204 Delta, a cast-iron monster with a low speed of ~600. It was a pucker factor eight or above on some pieces, I can tell you that. Especially outboard (180 degrees) with the left-hand threaded faceplates and chuck. Now I'm on my third year as second owner of a Nova 3000, the predecessor of the 1624 44. Several hundred pieces later, I'm happy to say he's doing just fine. I too lusted after "Big Arn," but decided to take a fling with this guy at an attractive price. Got it from a guy who wanted ALL the bells and whistles, who was replacing it with a Oneway. Not sure how he's doing with it, but I know the one I got from him turned a lot better after I aligned and snugged things in accordance with the directions. Bet he still thinks he sold me a dog! Paid off the purchase price at the first show where I was able to offer 15"+ salad bowls at premium prices.
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You asked about the difference between the Jet and the Nova. As you may be adding to your collection of tools (nay may but WILL be adding) it's a good idea to think about the spindle threads, at least for the moment. I have a Jet 12-36 and it has a 1 X 8 spindle thread. Inserts for my chucks are readily available in that size. I am uncertain of the easy availability of inserts in the 1.25 X 8 size on the Nova. Just another datum to add to your growing list.
On Nov 5, 11:04 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Well, this week, or today - sometimes patience pays off. If you have to have it now, dealers (new, and probably also used) await you.
I'd look at the Powermatic in person, if I were you (perhaps you did, not clear). Depending on price, an old Powermatic and a new set of spindle bearings (if needed) might be a very good investment. (Just looked - price somewhat high, but condition looks good to me in the pictures. Don't expect shiny paint and no rust in 50 year old tooling). That will be a very solidly built lathe - much moreso than anything in that price range from the last 20 years. A small amount of rust on the ways is not a problem - some folks end up piling wet oak shavings on their shiny new lathes for a few hours to get enough traction that the tailstock stays put. If not severely worn and dinged up it would be a good value, though not a low-price gloat. It is three-phase, so budget in a VFD, and you'll have electronic variable speed and reversing ability.

Swiveling is a way to put stuff "outboard" without putting it on the back of the spindle. Allows turning slightly larger bowls than is possible over the bed, and means the bed is not in your way. 90 degrees is about as far as is useful - you're looking straight into the bowl as you face the lathe. Going further, at 180 you have the bowl at the back of the lathe, in the traditional outboard position (but with no more access than you had at 90), and then (270) the bowl behind the lathe, which is utterly useless, as far as I can tell.
Being used to the bed being there, I'm not bothered much by it, so non-swiveling works fine by me. I gravitate towards plenty of room over the bed to turn what I want to turn when shopping, though I do have a 2-1/2 inch outboard spindle that will swing over 6 feet on the Faye and Scott. Given 20 inch inboard capacity, I have not used it so far, particularly since I need to machine a custom LH faceplate for the old non-standard large spindle. But it offers some possibilities in round tabletop production...
I think the best outboard setup is what (so I understand) One-Way uses - the outboard end of the spindle is also right-hand-thread, and the motor reverses.

While some folks claim to be happy with them, I was more suggesting that you be aware of what you were looking at when you went shopping than suggesting that you buy one - though a Horrible Fright lathe beats none at all. When cheap enough, it can be a handy way to get a cheesy machine to dedicate to buffing, or the like, if you have space for that - keeps the main one free for turning.
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WOW ... what response ... this is a great set of group
So ... if purchasing new ... it seems to come down to a choice between
Nova ( http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID 011
And the
Jet ( http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyidR25
Any other candidates?
Regarding the Nova vs Jet
From my experience ... heavier is more stable ... and as I have all of my tools (with the exceptions of a POS Craftsman radial saw) on wheels ... weight is not really a factor ... other than moving it from the curb :)
I did notice the notice the difference between the 215/3630 rpm (Nova) ... vs the 450/3000 rpm of the Jet ...
What about the HP difference ... 1.5 hp (Nova) vs 1 hp (Jet)?
Has anyone heard of durability of Nova's? ... I know and trust Jet for sturdy durable tools
At present I am leaning towards the Jet ... if for no other reason than the stability ... and known durability ... but that lower low and higher high of the Nova are quite attractive
As for purchasing used ... I will have to see what comes along ... as this is a actually my Christmas present from my dad :) ... so this isnt an IF ... it is a WHEN :)
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

That's a huge factor if you're not turning square-dry blanks. Low speed is good for dealing with rough blanks.
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Yea ... which I used to do a good bit ... start with a 4 X 4 (for legs etc)
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No, not really. You're comming at it from a spinde point of view. 450RPM is plenty slow for a 4x4 between centers. It's the 10-14" diameter bowl blank of green wood that gets scary

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On Nov 5, 11:35 am, "Stephen M"

Yikes ... yea ... I can imagine that would be scary
BTW ... I did find http://www.forums.woodnet.net/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Number (12491 ... which discusses the 2 models in question ... and there are of course pro's and cons to each ... I was hoping for more choices within the price range ... but it seems there really arent any ... even Grizzly doenst have something comparable until about $1300
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

In that case, the Nova wins. As you can keep extending the length. I've see a 5 ft bed on a Nova 3000 (basicly the earlier version of the one you are considering)
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Extension beds are available for the Jet. I don't know if you can add multiples theough :-)
From: http://www.southern-tool.com/store/jet_jwl-1442_lathe.html
WMH708347 $493.12 "BE-57L, Full 57"" Bed Extension with Leg ---->>
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