View Full Version : new at this advise please?

7th Oct 2004, 10:24 AM
hi guys first post on here. I am in the market for a wood lathe and was wondering if any of you experts could advise me on what pitfalls to look out for.
Any machines to stay well away from?
New vs Second hand etc?
Swivel head 4/6 speed???
I have alot to learn!!!!!!!
Any older machines that you can not get parts for?
Anyone selling a fantastic machine at a bargin price?
Thanks guys

7th Oct 2004, 12:21 PM
Read these and you will go into information overdrive



7th Oct 2004, 12:44 PM

Heaps on info and controversy available on this Forum. Before everyone starts in on you, this is an oft and hotly debated topic, and to prevent reinventing the wheel, do some searches on the BB, using keywords like "Record" "GMC lathe", Vicmarc, Teknatool, Nova, Leady, MC900,

The general wisdom on the BB seems to be that one of the best options for a beginner, looking for an entry-level lathe, is to look at one of the Chinese "MC900" type machines. These are available in variously badged form from Carbatec and Hare & Forbes etc in Sydney. Depending on the current deals, they can often be offered with a chuck and set of turning chisels included, for around $400. I am sure the knowledgeable many on the board will be able to expand on my basic info.

Good luck


7th Oct 2004, 02:14 PM
Welcome to the board Peter.

A tip that we've all been through is that up the top where you see your name and forum thread there are handles - User CP etc. The one that says Search is very important. If you look on there it will tell you what to do and if you research a little first, some things will happen

1 Your going to learn a whole lot of valuable information from people with a combined experience you'd be absolutely staggerd by.

2 You'll possibly answer your own question. :p

3 If you don't find all you need, chances are you'll at least pose a question that will reflect what you have learned and you'll start to get responses that are far more informative.

Now I'm not having a go coz I asked the same question 1st up and was staggered by the silence when I thought I'd be swamped in replies. End of lesson one. ;)

Alastair & PAH have got you going with some great advice. When you've worked out where you want to go feel welcome to come back and everyone here will encourage you along ;)

7th Oct 2004, 02:18 PM
Aw Barnsey, you do have a soft side. :D

7th Oct 2004, 02:43 PM

As a rule I do not like telling newbies on here to do a search because everytime we have a discussion on things we seem to have new, different and interresting input. It would be a sad day if everybody just searched and we had no new threads. However in this case, nothing much has happened in the market place since the last discussions. So search by all means, get the archived information and then ask if you still unsure.

PAH1 has given you very good leads, but also search for a thread on GMC lathe. You will find one by Smidsy when he asked the same question and some responses by myself and others. Read those and then when you read the two links PAH1 has given you to threads on here, you'll notice that Smidsy is now a converted Carbatec MC900 user, not without teething troubles I must add.

Welcome to the world of woodturning, hope your association with turning will be long and happy and am looking forward to help you clear up questions you may have.

On used lathes: Have a look what is available new first and the prices, then you can make an informed decision on the used gear on offer. As far as turning tools go, the set of 6 on offer from the suppliers at about $95 (not more usually) makes a very good entrance set. Use them and practice your sharpening skills on them before paying more than the above for one good Hamlet turning tool. That way you'll get value for money. Next is tuition. The best lathe, best tools and no skills is a bummer. Get tuition from your supplier and later join a woodturning club. If you are in Perth, I can't remember your locality, you are welcome to pm me on places for tuition and clubs.

Happy reading and ultimately.....happy turning


7th Oct 2004, 02:47 PM
Yeah - must have been listening to SWMBO too much goin' on about her psychology stuff. :eek:

Besides I thought I'd get in quick before he copped the left right combo followed by the upper cut :D :D

7th Oct 2004, 06:21 PM
Lotsa good advice above Peter.

I can only add: figure out what kind of turning you want to be doing in the first year or two, and figure out a budget for machine and turning tools etc (then add at least 50% cos you'll get hooked and want to do more :-} ).

8th Oct 2004, 01:04 PM
Thanks guys for your advise ---so far!

Spoke to a few shops etc and decided on a second hand myford.
Im generaly a fan of older sturdy machines. I think this is a good machine very heavy cast bed head etc looks like a 50s model based on colour and style.
My only fear is the age old parts availabilityissue!
The nice old guy selling it threw what looks like about $200 worth of tools(Marples Etc) and a wet stone grinder and some timber for $650 so I hope I baged a bargin!
Any one know much about myford lathes?
Have I done well or done me dowh???
Thanks Peter.

8th Oct 2004, 01:42 PM
Hey Peter,

By what you have said I'd say you got a pretty reasonable deal ;)

If you put average 2nd hand prices on the accessories you mention you did well and you didn't say whether you got chucks, centres etc. :)

In any event welcome to the world of turning :D

You are right, Myfords have enjoyed a worthy reputation over the years as a robust and reliable piece of equipment. The parts issue shouldn't be a problem - back in those days they used standards in bearings and threads so most suppliers should be able to help you ;)

Tell us how you get on :)


8th Oct 2004, 02:34 PM

As far as the maintenance of the Myford go there shouldn't be any problems. A lathe is essentially a motor turning a spindle. The difference in lathe quality is the preciseness of the alignment of the tail/headstock, robustness etc etc etc. The only real wear that one has on a lathe unless you butcher and break bits of it, is the bearings in the headstock, belt and the motor bearings. All the bearings and the belt will be no problem replacing. The Myford will probably have a #2 MT ( maybe a #1 MT ) so getting drive and live centres etc should be no problem. The spindle nose thread should be one of the standard Brittish imperial threads so that face plates and scroll chucks with the correct insert will not be a problem. Myfords from my memory are very solid, especially if it dates back to the 50's.
I don't know what kind of wet grinder you got, and because of that it makes appraising the deal a bit difficult. The tools you got being Marples and the era of the lathe makes me think that they could be carbon steel. If you got a heap of them you could probably take the value at about $40-00 as they are ok for starting and grinding away. They will not hold an edge for long. Unfortunately the shape of the gouges will be different to today's high speed steel gouges so they do not really teach you the grinding angles that you will need on modern gouges. Take into consideration that a set of 6 HSS turning tools cost around $95-00 here in Perth from our supplier. I covered the pros and cons of those in the previous post.
I would say that $650-00 is a bit on the high side unless the wet grinder is a good electric one and not one of the old hand operated ones. However that be as it may and we all place different monetarey values on things....you have bought it and you sound happy with what you have bought. At the end of the day that is all that matters.I am sure you will have many years of very good service out of that Myford....from memory they are pretty indestructable.

Welcome to woodturning mate! I hope you get the enjoyment out of it as I have gotten and may your turning career be a long one. Do not be afraid to experiment. On this bulletin board there is an incredible wealth of turning knowledge not only in woodturning but in lots of areas............search and use it.

The only other advice I can offer at this stage is to get professional tuition as that can help you achieve in 12 hours, what will take you a few years on your own to achieve.

If you have a question, feel free to ask it................there are always somebody on here with a sensible reply............some may be just pulling your leg but you'll soon learn how to diffrentiate.

Take care, get some cheap wood (.......the fire wood bin is a good place to start as the not so good projects still burn well ) and start turning away.

Have a good weekend all


8th Oct 2004, 02:42 PM

I would say that you have got a good deal. It will also retain its value better, I think.

A friend of mine some years ago had a Myford metalworking lathe, and he always swore that it was better than sliced bread. At our TAFE course, we used mainly older lathes, like Goldie, etc, and there is a lot to be said for the solidness of the older equipment.

You may have to be a bit inventive in adapting some of the modern accessories to fit, or shop around to find those that do, but that should not be an insurmountable problem.

A few suggestions on how to proceed from here:-

Join the Sydney Woodturners' Guild. I think your nearest region would be Peninsula, who meet at the (under the) Narabeen RSL on the second Sunday of the month. Phone Alex Bendeli 02 9416 1976 for details. This is the best way to meet like minded blokes, and get advice, ideas and support.

Learn to sharpen your tools. You will get invaluable advice from above, and will bypass years of frustration.

Either through the Guild, or Community colleges (like Macquarie) or privately, get some instruction. This will greatly shorten the learning curve.

Get some inspiration. Show and tell at the Guild; Galleries; surf the web; read woodturning publications. Then copy unashamedly, adapt and expand etc. Your own style will emerge in its own good time, and in the meantime, you will be impressing your family at least.

Turn. Turn. Turn again. Turn some more. Keep turning. Use logs off pavements, branches off trees, offcuts from other projects, scrap pine. Oh and some good purchased blanks from time to time as well :D . Nothing beats practice for improving your turning.



8th Oct 2004, 06:14 PM
the tools are new HSS marples and some other generic branded stuff maybe 20 pieces in all.
I also got about 20 odd blanks of different sorts some pepper grinder meccy's and a box of WA Banksea nuts!!!
The wet grinder is a no name but new eletric 8" one.
I will contact the guild but Im off to Melbourne for 8 months with work so Ill have to stall.
All up im happy enough just need to get it set up and im off.....yahoo!!!!!! :rolleyes:

8th Oct 2004, 09:07 PM

Considering the new info that you posted, let me congratulate you on a good deal. Enjoy.


9th Oct 2004, 12:42 AM
Hei Peter,
Welcome to the world of turning, and because we're such nice guys we'll still talk to you even though you didn't buy an MC900 :D

Sounds like you got a good deal there - I wouldn't mind seeing a pic of the lathe if you've got a digi camera.

It might be worth checking out turning clubs in Melbourne as you could probably still have a lot of fun.

17th Oct 2004, 11:02 AM
Hi guys got the machine set up in my workshop (aftre some machine shuffiling and lots of re routing of dust extracter ducts).
I had a few play turns on some suger pine legs and a campher bowl. Im happy enough with my new machine. Motor seems a little light on as I can slow it down when Im being heavy handed, and the throw is a little small maybe 5" radius max but it fine for what I do.
I also discovered a Vicmark 4 Jaw chuck and about 4 base plates so Im happy I spent my money well.
Thanks for all your help guys.