Question for the people with lathe experience.


I need about a dozen 2" x 18" solid maple spindles. How much lathe power (in terms of dollars) do I need to spend to turn this size stock?
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Probably most any of the lathes that fall into the "midsized" range will handle this. Generally speaking these are 12" to 14" lathes with three to four feet of bed length and around 3/4 HP. Lots of machines to choose from - Delta, Jet, Powermatic, Grizzly, etc.
Price range for new machines is in the $400 to $1,000 range. I also see a lot of these in the "Tools for Sale" classified in our local paper.
If you are a new turner, don't under estimate the difficulty in turning out a dozen spindles that look the same. I guess that is why God created the duplicator.
RonB
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PS - You might also post your question in rec.crafts.woodturning. Lots of woodturning and machine expertise over there.
RonB
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mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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That is so untrue. With a story stick and a little practice (by that I mean after the 4th in a set, they are acceptably similar).
One of my first lathe projects involved 18 maple spindles about 22" long. The design was simple, but I had no trouble duplicating the old fasioned way.
As far as power is concerned, (relatively narrow) splindle turning does not require much power at all. Basically any lathe will have enough power for that. It's large diameter work that requires horse power.
I'm not saying that you should run out and buy a cheapo lathe, just that your current project specs are pretty modest.
-Steve
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to produce a lot of one or two-off small components for other projects and much of this is face or chuck turning. My attempts to duplicate spindles have been pretty bad. My daughter suggested I could turn a hundred or so spindles for a victorian home they are building. I said fine. By the time they close on the house they will be in a new income bracket (probably would have been darned good practice though).
RonB
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Tom:
I turn all the time. But I am also a remodel/repair contractor. Unless you are trying to actually match a current installation, I agree with the guys here.
Buy 'em, don't look back. Unless you are taking up turning for a hobby, the price of the ancillary stuff (tools, quality grinder, calipers to match diameters and on an on) will kill you, not the lathe. Ask anyone that turns a lot... the lathe is the cheapest part of the deal.
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com said:

AMEN! And that doesn't even address the addiction aspects...
Greg G.
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Greg G. <<
Whew... no kiddin'.
Robert
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Hello Tom, A JET 1236 would do the job for about $500.00. The Jet Mini will only go out to 14" without an extension.

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On Wed, 2 Nov 2005 12:45:40 -0800, "TomWoodman"
[cross posted to rec.crafts.woodturning for your convenience]

I don't think there's anything special about a 2" spindle that is cause for concern as regards power. Except for the length, a mini lathe would do it just fine. And considering that both Jet and Delta (I think) now have bed extensions, adding one would solve even that problem (NB: there are other minis-Vicmarc, for one--probably even Harbor Fright--gag).
However, nice as the minis are, by the time you add a bed extension, you might be getting near the range of the low end full size lathes. With those you get some more power and no fussing with extensions (admittedly a one-time task), but if you aren't planning on doing a lot of turning, then the mini is probably your best bet.
Unless, of course, you're within 100 miles or so of Daytona Beach, in which case I can set you up with a Craftsman tube bed lathe, several extra centers, tool rests, face plates, AND a set of turning tools for just $150. It's a fine beginner lathe and all you need for the task at hand. Email me if you're interested.
Now, about duplication. The human eye is a wondrous thing. It'll pick up minor fractions of deviations in some things yet at the same time gloss over minor differences in others. Turned furniture legs fall into the latter category, and to a lesser degree, so do stair balusters. So long as you get the general shape (use a template to check) and the principal diameters close, they'll be "good enough." Maybe not what a perfectionist, anal retentive wrecker wants to hear, but how much time do you want to spend getting REALLY good at this?
Good luck.
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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Buy 'em. Commercial product will keep the kids from falling off the stairs while looking good.
200 for the lathe, another hundred for the tools will do it for spindles (HF). Of course, it's more than they'd cost from a restoration place, so you must be more interested in process than product. That probably means you'd like a lathe that could do more. Then the sky becomes the limit.
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I'd agree with buying them, but I'd probably have them turned to order. The cost is about the same (from the guy who makes my chair spindles).
The problem with taking up turning just to make these is the high failure rate when you're learning, particularly for duplication work. Long flowing curves on spindles means a skew, and lots of skew work for a newbie means catches. Now a catch is no big deal on a one-off, you just turn it down a bit further. But if you're trying to do duplicates, you don't have the spare diameter to loose. You not only have to turn out an attractive spindle, you have to do it with just one attempt on the correct diameter.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Depending on spacing, the eye won't pick up small differences in diameter between spindles. You will notice very slight vertical differences, though.
-John in NH
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TomWoodman wrote:

In Canada, you can get the King or the General (Approx. the same) for about $259 - $300 plus the extension for about $90 to $100 which will turn a spindle as long as 43". They were throwing in a set of carbon steel tools. All I have done so far is spindles and I am quite satisfied with the kit and the extension.
There is a link to their web site from my shop pages or the link pages. fwiw
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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Wed, Nov 2, 2005, 12:45pm (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (TomWoodman) did burble: I need about a dozen 2" x 18" solid maple spindles. How much lathe power (in terms of dollars) do I need to spend to turn this size stock?
I read questions like this, and they never cease to amaze me. Phrased like this, I have no idea what the Hell you are trying to ask. How big a lathe you'd need? How much would a lathe cost? What? Are you really serious? Or just trolling?
JOAT If it ain't broke, don't lend it. - Red Green
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) writes:

The question is rather clear: He wants a lathe but the prybar to get the money out of his wallet is not yet in his hands, so he considers cheapo lathes and wants the wreckers to urge him on to buy a decent one.
Just the same position that I am in. Are Delta lathes comparable in quality with similar sized JET models?
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
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On Sat, 05 Nov 2005 20:48:12 +0100, Juergen Hannappel

about how I read it too. either that or he was asking for a pointer to a workable cheapie.

probably so. at this point I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see jet's quality beating delta's.
consider old iron, if you can find it.
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snipped-for-privacy@all.costs said:

FWIW, I inspected both pretty thoroughly before purchasing a Jet. Fit / finish were better than the Delta, IMHO - at least on the midi. It has performed flawlessly so far, and I've turned some fairly large items - no pens or Christmas ornaments. It has an extended bed.
The motor, however, worries me a little - it emits a curious 'burnt insulation' smell - it's also Chinese... As was the entirety of the Delta.
Greg G.
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