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View Full Version : Much needed advice, HELP!!!!!



fozz
4th Jun 2010, 12:28 AM
Gday folks, after much thought I find myself very close to buying a woodturning lathe, the only problem is which one to buy.

I started off looking at the various MC 900's and MC 1100's but after reading alot of the threads here came to the understanding that maybe I'd be wasting my money. A friend has a Stubby and while even with my limited knowledge I can see why he raves about it but the budget just wont go that far.

I've been able to get the choices down to the Hare and Forbes W387, the Carbatec CT-25650 and the Woodfast C1000X.

My problem in deciding which to buy is simple, all three seem to be variants of the MC900/1100 and with the W387 being around $1600, the CT-25650 going for about $2400 and the C1000X topping the scale at $3000, I'm finding it abit difficult to work out just which is the best value for money.

I havent done any turning for over 30 years and am not really sure where my interest will be but as some have said, you can turn small stuff on a big lathe but large pieces just dont fit the small lathes hence the interest in this sort of lathe.

I'm leaning to ward the CT-25650 at the moment, solid build, swivel head and variable speed is what I'm after, the H & F offering sounds good for the price but my previous experience there has left a bad taste and the Woodfast while appearing the be very popular, the extra $600 would buy a number of chisels and other goodies.

Anyways, you can probably see I'm alittle confused so any help will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers for now,
Ross.

RETIRED
4th Jun 2010, 10:00 AM
A simple question first.

What do you want to turn?

Ed Reiss
4th Jun 2010, 12:05 PM
One that you might consider is the DVR from Teknatool...suposse to be top notch...right, Ern?

artme
4th Jun 2010, 01:01 PM
Firstly think carefuly about what asks.

Secondly the Teknatool lathes are very good. The DVR is a cracker, but a less expensive manual belt change Teknatool may suit you very well. I suggest you talk yo Jim Carrol.

brendan stemp
4th Jun 2010, 01:56 PM
Out of those three the only one I would go near is the Woodfast. But my concern is why you haven't considered a Vicmarc. Why Vicmarc?
1/ They are one of the best lathes in the world, period.
2/ They are made in Australia, unlike any of the others mentioned (except the Stubby).
3/ Re-sale value is good.
Yes, they also attract a decent price but if you don't go for the Electronic Variable Speed option then you can get VL200 for around the same price as the Woodfast. Worth considering.

Disclaimer: Yes I am an agent for Vicmarc. Yes I am biased. No, I am not biased because I am an agent. I am biased because I use them and know they are an excellent lathe.

Big Shed
4th Jun 2010, 03:53 PM
I don't think any of those lathes can be compared to the MC900/1100 lathes. I have just sold off my MC900 and bought a H&F WL-46 or 387. The difference between the 2 lathes is like chalk and cheese, both in rigidity, capacity, power and speed control. I could go on.

Like you I looked at all 3 of those lathes and in the end decided on the WL46, so far haven't regretted my choice at all.

Speed control on this lathe is far superior to the Woodfast, which needs 6 belt changes to go through the whole speed range, somewhat negating the "electronic speed control".

The Woodfast is a very good lathe and if you decided to go that way Carbatec have a run-out model (the no longer have them in the catalogue) on the floor for $2595, at least it was still there last Friday.

You're welcome to come for a drive and try the WL46:2tsup:

Ozkaban
4th Jun 2010, 03:56 PM
I agree with - what is it going to be used for? I bought a second hand belt-change VL200 as an upgrade from a MC1100 and it's light years ahead on quality, power (same power rating :doh:), vibration or lack thereof, alighnment, etc. Downside is it is not designed for bowls/platters without going outboard...

From my experience, a good quality second hand lathe will be tons better than a cheapie chinese new lathe. Then again, when I started I really didn't want to spend more than about $500 to get going and the MC1100 (also second hand) fit that criteria. It's worth noting that when I upgraded I sold the lathe for not a lot different to what I paid. If I had bought it new I would have lost a lot more.

Hope that was more helpful than useless :cool:

Cheers,
Dave

fozz
4th Jun 2010, 05:55 PM
Thanks for the replies folks, you've all been very helpfull :)

, what do I want to turn?, anything and everything, dont see myself just doing pens or bowls or big platters but a mixture of all.

Ed, I have looked quickly at the teknatool lathes at Carbatec but dont really know much about them.

Artme, another teknatool fan, hhhhhhhhhhhmmmm, something to think about there.

Brendan, I've looked at the vicmarks and until now had them in the same basket as the stubby, something to look at but dont touch, but will consider them too now.

Fred, I read your recent thread with great interest, just might take a drive up to see you :)

Dave, a second hand lathe would certainly be of interest, never been one to have the latest and newest.

I now have a couple more questions if you folks dont mind.

Is electronic variable speed control something thats a must have or something that just makes things easier and am I asking too much to want a lathe that will do virtually everthing?

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Cheers, Ross.

hughie
4th Jun 2010, 09:06 PM
I
s electronic variable speed control something thats a must have or something that just makes things easier



No its not an absolute necessity, you can turn mind boggling works of art that would rival the work of William Hunter with out one.

But they are a great option to have and have several benefits. I personally love em on all my lathes





and am I asking too much to want a lathe that will do virtually everything?


yeah, probably :U

NeilS
5th Jun 2010, 11:44 AM
Speed control on this lathe is far superior to the Woodfast, which needs 6 belt changes to go through the whole speed range, somewhat negating the "electronic speed control".



Not wanting to be an advocate for one lathe over another, but couldn't let this go by Big Shed without a comment. The electronic controls on the Woodfasts are European and my experience of them over many years of use is that they are highly reliable. Not sure about some of the other lathes. I expect the Vicmarcs also use top quality elelctronics.

Conceptually the belt changing is an issue, but in practice my experience is that it is infrequent and done quite quickly. I'd change chucks 50 timers to every time I change the the belt. But then, I don't alternate between finials and 500mm platters.

Like most things, we get what we pay for in a lathe. But, it's hard to convince the chancellor of the exchequer that you need to spend all that money, especially when you are just starting up. So most of us can't afford (or allowed) to have what we would really like and have to settle on second best or secondhand. I reckon secondhand quality always wins out over new lower quality at the same price.

BTW - anyone got a secondhand VB36 that they would like to sell?....:rolleyes:

.....

RETIRED
5th Jun 2010, 01:15 PM
Not wanting to be an advocate for one lathe over another, but couldn't let this go by Big Shed without a comment. The electronic controls on the Woodfasts are European and my experience of them over many years of use is that they are highly reliable. Not sure about some of the other lathes. I expect the Vicmarcs also use top quality elelctronics.

Conceptually the belt changing is an issue, but in practice my experience is that it is infrequent and done quite quickly. I'd change chucks 50 timers to every time I change the the belt. But then, I don't alternate between finials and 500mm platters.

Like most things, we get what we pay for in a lathe. But, it's hard to convince the chancellor of the exchequer that you need to spend all that money, especially when you are just starting up. So most of us can't afford (or allowed) to have what we would really like and have to settle on second best or secondhand. I reckon secondhand quality always wins out over new lower quality at the same price.

BTW - anyone got a secondhand VB36 that they would like to sell?....:rolleyes:You and I both wish. :sigh: :D

.....Neil has pretty well nailed it I reckon.

Big Shed
5th Jun 2010, 02:35 PM
.....


Not wanting to be an advocate for one lathe over another, but couldn't let this go by Big Shed without a comment. The electronic controls on the Woodfasts are European and my experience of them over many years of use is that they are highly reliable. Not sure about some of the other lathes. I expect the Vicmarcs also use top quality elelctronics.
Neil, I don't think I decried the quality of Woodfast electronics anywhere in my post, I simply pointed out that it required 6 (six) belt changes to go through the entire range of speeds. To my mind that is a strange design "feature", and that is what I pointed out.
AFAIK the Woodfast lathes come out of China, I would be surprised if they had European electronics, but I take your word for it.
Being European doesn't automatically make it better than Chinese, particularly in the world of electronics. After all we all have a lounge room full of Chinese electronics and most of it seems very reliable. Certainly my "One Hung Lo" Chinese LCD screen is giving excellent service.


Conceptually the belt changing is an issue, but in practice my experience is that it is infrequent and done quite quickly. I'd change chucks 50 timers to every time I change the the belt. But then, I don't alternate between finials and 500mm platters.

Yes, conceptually I have a problem with that. Not only that it requires 6 belt changes, but the belt changes are not very easy either. I know, I did them in the Carbatec showroom..
I do a lot of speed changes when I do my pen turning, I certainly don't drill my blanks at 3000+ RPM, but I do my final polishing at that speed. Having an electronic speed control that allows me to select any speed I want between 0 (Realistically 100) and 3260.


Like most things, we get what we pay for in a lathe. But, it's hard to convince the chancellor of the exchequer that you need to spend all that money, especially when you are just starting up. So most of us can't afford (or allowed) to have what we would really like and have to settle on second best or secondhand. I reckon secondhand quality always wins out over new lower quality at the same price.
Yes, most of the time that is true.

Suffice to say I am happy with my Chinese lathe at the price I paid. Would I have been happier with a $5000 Vicmarc, I'll probably never know.

rsser
5th Jun 2010, 04:25 PM
One that you might consider is the DVR from Teknatool...suposse to be top notch...right, Ern?

Top notch motor.

The castings and machining are Chinese and in the category where you have to fettle to get the machine sorted.

fozz
5th Jun 2010, 09:29 PM
Just a quick update and a big thankyou to all who responded to my plea for help.

I've spent the last 3 or 4 months looking at lathes, reading articles, talking to folks at wood turning demos and watching countless hours of youtube videos so the decision I've finally made hasnt come quickly.

When I started looking my budget was $1000.00 and I thought that would buy a good lathe and chisels and such then I started reading about the lathes at that price and realised the money could be better spent.

The budget then doubled to $2000.00 and I started looking again in that range. The Teknatool lathes looked ok and so did the others in that range but then I figured if I spent two to two and a half thousand I may as well go to three thousand and see whats there in that price range.

Thats when I started looking at the Woodfast, the Jet, the Vicmarks and the Stubby lathes, and got more disillusioned as I went.

I want a lathe to have some fun with, give some pieces away and hell, maybe even make a few dollars. As I'm sure the lathes and machinery you all have and that I have is relative to the available income, I finally came to the conclussion that the line had to be drawn somewhere.

As I said right at the start, if money was unlimited A Stubby or Vicmark would be sitting in my shed, unless I win lotto that aint gonna happen.

The Teknatool lathes, just something about them, not sure what it is but I've decided to pass on them. The Woodfast, if I had the finances right this minute I would have really considered the one at Carbatec in Springvale but again with some chisels its pushing $3000, just more than I want to spend.

Carbatec offered a good deal on the CT-25650 but still with some chisels its pushing $2500.

Thats left me with the Hare and Forbes W387 which after reading a number of articles on this forum and an american forum about the grizzly and laguna clones, I went to H&F this morning and put down a deposit for said lathe and out-rigger accessory. In speaking with one of their staff this morning, Robert, he made mention that there is none in stock at the moment but they will have stock mid july.

So while I've put a deposit on something sight unseen, in reading Freds thread on his purchase, his response on this thread and the conversation I had with another member of this forum, I believe I've made the right decision for me, time will tell I suppose.

Thanks again for all the responses, will post again when the lathe finally arrives.

Cheers, Ross.

Big Shed
5th Jun 2010, 10:09 PM
Ross, I'm sure you will be happy with this lathe. It took me almost a year to finally take the plunge, mainly because every time I made up my mind H&F didn't have stock. This apparently is the normal situation with this lathe, I was lucky and was able to buy the display model off the floor during their last sale. This allowed me to check it out thoroughly, even though I felt like a bit of a you-know-what standing in a showroom full of people putting dial indicators on shafts etc.

Every one I know of in Australia that has bought one has had to wait for the next shipment to come in.

This either because H&F stock control is RS (probable) or they sell them faster than they bring them in (more likely).

If you want a "look & feel" of this lathe, you know where there is one and my invitation stands.

fozz
5th Jun 2010, 10:37 PM
Fred, thanks for the invite, you're the first of two that have told me I could come and have a look at their lathe :)
While I take all sales talk for what its worth, Robert at H&F did say they had ordered 12 to arrive mid to late july and that 3 were already on hold, as I'd pretty well decided last night on this lathe I figured a returnable deposit to hold one wasnt the worst thing to do.

One question I do have that you may be able to answer for me, where lathes are concerned, the alignment issue, are lathes often far out and if out are they fixable with little effort or not?

I did read on another forum where a Nova lathe and a Jet lathe were out of alignment right out of the crate and it made me wonder.

Anyways, thanks again.

Ross.

Big Shed
6th Jun 2010, 09:34 AM
One question I do have that you may be able to answer for me, where lathes are concerned, the alignment issue, are lathes often far out and if out are they fixable with little effort or not?

I did read on another forum where a Nova lathe and a Jet lathe were out of alignment right out of the crate and it made me wonder.



Two very important criteria for me were run out and alignment of head to tail stock. I looked at so many wood lathes where the head and tail stock didn't line up that I got very disheartened. To the point that I seriously considered buying a second metal lathe and modifying it for wood turning. It was amazing to see that even the lathes at the top of the market fell down in this area. One of the worst I looked at was the Woodfast M305, one of the best the Woodfast M910, so go figure!

The WL-46 was one of the best, if not the best, in this department. Due to the design of wood lathes one will never get the alignment achieved on the metal lathe but this comes so close that it is certainly acceptable to me.

To a lot of people this alignment isn't as important as it is to me, I turn a lot of pens and you soon find out that alignment of head to tail stock is very important.

Pat
6th Jun 2010, 10:35 AM
Dunno about the M305, but my M910 was perfect out of the crate. If your lathe has alignment issues, get the Teknatool Morse taper acruline (http://www.cws.au.com/shop/item/2mt-acruline-system)to help sort it out. I could even lend you mine if you need it.

Fozz, which ever lathe you get, get some lessons, HSS chisels, plenty of cheap blanks to practice on (Cheap as in free:U) and most importantly have fun.

fozz
6th Jun 2010, 10:53 AM
Thanks Fred for the info, hopefully the one I get is a good one :)

Big Shed
6th Jun 2010, 11:12 AM
Dunno about the M305, but my M910 was perfect out of the crate. If your lathe has alignment issues, get the Teknatool Morse taper acruline (http://www.cws.au.com/shop/item/2mt-acruline-system)to help sort it out. I could even lend you mine if you need it.

Fozz, which ever lathe you get, get some lessons, HSS chisels, plenty of cheap blanks to practice on (Cheap as in free:U) and most importantly have fun.

Thanks Pat, but the acruline is really of no help here as it is the side to side "slop" in most tail stocks that is the problem and this can vary along the length of the bed.

Consider this scenario.

In the head stock spindle you have a pen mandrel mounted, you then slide up the tail stock which could be out to the left or the right by as much as 2-3mm (yes, I have measured that much on some lathes!). Where do you position the tail stock?
The acruline may be helpful in lining up the head stock on a swivel head lathe, which can then be clamped in place, the tail stock is a different matter. But perhaps I am missing something, I frequently do:doh:.

As I said above, I found the Woodfast M910 that I looked at just about perfect, obviously yours is as well.

I also found significant differences between examples of the same lathe. One that springs to mind is the Vicmarc VL100, looked at 3 of those, 1 perfect, 2 woeful.

rsser
6th Jun 2010, 11:57 AM
The DVR XP tailstock has a couple of adjustable plates that screw to the bottom and sit in the bed gap, so you can get some lateral adjustment. If I get mine accurate however the tailstock won't slide over the join in the standard bed.

artme
6th Jun 2010, 02:17 PM
Just athought. I have often wondered why the beds of wood lathes are not made like the beds of meatal lathes. Is accuracy considered more important in metal turning, or is it considered to be not important in wood turning?

bobsreturn2003
6th Jun 2010, 02:27 PM
short answer not needed as hand held tools .. and cost ..and it would trap so much sawdust cheers Bob

Big Shed
6th Jun 2010, 04:08 PM
Just athought. I have often wondered why the beds of wood lathes are not made like the beds of meatal lathes. Is accuracy considered more important in metal turning, or is it considered to be not important in wood turning?


short answer not needed as hand held tools .. and cost ..and it would trap so much sawdust cheers Bob

Accuracy not needed because using hand tools? I beg to differ, see what even a fraction of a mm out of round does to the match of your turned pen blank to the kit and then tell me accuracy is not needed.

Cost? I have 2 lathes in my shed, one is a metal lathe with EVS, heaps of gears, cross slide, a complex gear train, a gear driven lead screw, a very precisely machined bed that keeps the tail stock aligned with the head stock without any slop - cost me $1200. (oh, and it was supplied with a very good 3 jaw chuck, a 4 jaw chuck and a big cast iron face plate, a whole series of thread gears and various other tooling)

The other one is a wood lathe, EVS, 2 hp motor, basic banjo for tool rest, OK machined bed that is not nearly as precise as that on the metal lathe - Cost $1450. (supplied with a face plate, no chucks of any description)

If you put them side by side you would expect the metal lathe to be double the cost of the wood lathe.

Now, if you took a Vicmarc VL300 at $5000plus and looked at a similarly priced metal the difference would be even more startling, that amount buys you a serious metal lathe with lots more parts and lots more precision machining involved in its' manufacture.

bobsreturn2003
6th Jun 2010, 07:34 PM
could be some one is making a lot of money ? made in australia costs so much more too ,even transport costs so much more. most lathes are made overseas as well . whats the answer????:U

artme
7th Jun 2010, 02:50 PM
Just had another thought. If the bed was made like an inverted W and the bottom of the V part removed ( or not made ) then sawdust would not get trapped and the problems of accurate alignment ought to be no more.

bobsreturn2003
7th Jun 2010, 05:59 PM
never bought a lathe out of alignment but i take a couple off dead centres with me to check . the lathe i built , now getting that aligned and welding it true , that was a lot of time and trial and error . would bolt it next time and shim it . for adjustment . the older metal lathes had a flat bed , but the tail stock was adjustable side to side to do offsett turning and if you have a metal turning friend he may be able to make you an adaptor to recenter your tail stock . so it runs true . most bowl turning you can leave the tailstock in the cupboard though . cheers

fozz
7th Jun 2010, 06:50 PM
Its funny, as a complete novice where turnings concerned, I'm finding this discussion fascinating :)

Makes me feel alot less concerned with the lathe I'm buying and more frustrated that there's at least 30+ sleeps to go till I can use it :)

fozz
20th Aug 2010, 11:33 PM
YIPPEEEEEEE!!!!

I now have a lathe, not what I'd originally decided on but a lathe none the less. I ordered the lathe from H&F on the 5th of June and was told it would arrive by the 15th of July so I waited patiently for the delivery day to arrive.

The 15th of July came and went, still no phone call to say its arrived, starting to get impatient now, 2 weeks later the phone rings to say the lathe has arrived. Unfortunately the finances at the time were extremely tight so told H&F that I would not be able to purchase the lathe at that time. No problems I'm told, we'll keep it for upto 3 months for you but ring us before you decide to pick it up just incase we sell it in the mean time.

Being self employed and as winter had come with a vengence, I figured it would take at least 3 months to get the necessary funds but still wanted a lathe after the day at 's and having joined the Koonung Turners Guild.

Had birthday last week and one of the presents was enough cash to buy a cheap set of woodturning chisels, now my need, desire for a lathe was een worse than before. I had looked at the Woodfast midi lathe after using the one at 's and was very impressed with it so I rang the closest stockist and after already tentatively getting a quote on one was told by the sales person there is no way I can sell it to you for that price as the person you spoke to is not here today and you'll have to speak with him when he returns then hung up on me.

GRRRRRRRR, I wanted to buy a damn lathe today, not tomorrow, today!!!!!!!

So I rang one of the club members and an hour later we were headed up to Pop's to look at the midi lathe with variable electronic speed adjustment that they sell under their own branding. After abit of discussion on price and whether the purchase was a good thing, I drove away with a 3 speed electronic variable speed mini lathe and a set of chinese chisels.

Its not what I'd originally decided on but after the day at 's and talking to my fellow club members and reading many of the forums posts here I realised while the cheap chisels aren't ideal, I'm going to need to learn how to sharpen them and after pricing some handless P&N chisels at Pop's at over 3 times the price of the chinese chisels, I figured if I mess a grind up, 20 cents per grind instead of 70+ cents per grind while i'm learning is much better for my hip pocket.

I got the lathe home, took it out of the box and set it up on the bench then put the head and tail spurs in and slid the tail stock upto the head stock. Just by eye the two points met just about perfectly so tomorrow I'll make a proper stand for the lathe, set up the dust extraction and apply chisel to wood.

So at the moment I am one happy chappy :)

Sturdee
20th Aug 2010, 11:57 PM
So at the moment I am one happy chappy :)

I already knew that as I was there buying my new drill press when you rang Brian to tell him. :D

Good luck with your purchase.


Peter.

fozz
21st Aug 2010, 12:12 AM
HAHAHAHAHAHA, good one :)

fozz
21st Aug 2010, 12:16 AM
Hope your purchase is as good as mine

rsser
21st Aug 2010, 02:54 PM
Congrats Fozz; that's a nifty lathe.

fozz
23rd Aug 2010, 12:42 AM
Thanks Ern, much appreciated.

Got into the garage this morning and made my first pile of shavings from a few pieces of prunis I'd cut down a couple of months ago.

Its funny, cutting a piece of wood on the saw or running it through the thicknesser is all good and well but using the lathe..........................., the smile never left my face. :)

Cleaning off the bark with the roughing chisel then using the skew to make the timber nice and straight was a real hoot. I made a few beads then stuck the roughing chisel into the timber and began the process again.

Then I got adventurous and tried to see just how much I could take from the middle to end up with a small spindle between each end, got it to about a quarter inch then bang, the timber collapsed, came away from the tail stock and flopped like a dead fish onto the bench. I worked out two things from this, one, probably to much force trying to take too much timber off in one go and two, it had a gum vein a third the diameter that had little if no strength and it appeared to give way along the vein.

One of the things I got a real buzz from was getting the skew to cut just right and seeing a continuous fine shaving coming from the timber.

To say I'm hooked so far is an understatement, thanks again folks for all your help and advice.

Ross.

RETIRED
23rd Aug 2010, 08:42 AM
One of the things I got a real buzz from was getting the skew to cut just right and seeing a continuous fine shaving coming from the timber.

Aha, you must have paid attention at my place.:wink:

fozz
23rd Aug 2010, 08:02 PM
Certainly did , no more gardening tools for me :wink::saythat: