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Oddy
29th Mar 2015, 08:55 PM
I'm thinking about taking the plunge and adding a lathe to my workshop but know absolutely nothing about wood turning yet.
What are the quality lathes on the market at the moment? (I prefer to avoid Chinese machinery and tools wherever possible - had enough experience there :no:). I'm seeing Vicmarc and Nova getting mentioned a lot in various forums.

How much do you need to spend to get fully setup with decent quality gear (lathe, chucks, jaws, tools, essential accessories)? I would like to be able to turn very small stuff for models and toys, up to bowls about 40-50cm in diameter. Don't see myself ever needing to turn anything long (turned furniture legs aren't my taste).

Pat
30th Mar 2015, 04:05 AM
Oddy, depends on how deep your pockets are. Vicmarc, Leady and Stubby are the only Australian made lathes, that I am aware of. I would actually start with a second hand lathe to test the waters as new, the above mentioned lathes with capacity you want are not cheap.

BobL
30th Mar 2015, 10:03 AM
Oddy, depends on how deep your pockets are. Vicmarc, Leady and Stubby are the only Australian made lathes, that I am aware of. I would actually start with a second hand lathe to test the waters as new, the above mentioned lathes with capacity you want are not cheap.

I agree, and like anything it is very easy to go overboard when setting up.

At our mens shed we recently picked up an almost complete woodturning setup from a deceased estate.
The haul included a Tough lathe, a well made custom bench, many dozens of tools, chucks, two grinders, and dozens of accessories.
Many were in original boxes/packets and looked like they had never been used.
In one bench drawer there were about a dozen handles that had been turned and the accompanying HSS chisels had been shaped but never fitted to the handles.

The story was the owner had bought everything after he retired and got fairly seriously into turning but after a few years developed a wood dust allergy so was limited at to what and for how long he could turn. It appears he did not install any wood dust collection although according to his wife he did use a mask. Eventually his allergy became so bad he had to call it quits and the lathe sat in his shed for more than 10 years until he passed away.

The lathe had a patina of rust on all the exposed steel surfaces but with some TLC it has come up a treat. I will post some pics when I GRTI.

During our collection of tools and machines from deceased estates this is the second case we have seen of wood allergies in retired wood workers that have prevented them from maintaining their hobby. In both cases they appear to have done nothing about dust extraction.

In a comprehensive study of wood workers in the USA it has been clearly demonstrated that wood turners have the greatest consistent exposure to wood dust. All this points to the need to include a serious wood dust management system in any setting up. Masks, including full face masks air powered masks, are generally inadequate as a first line defence against dust as allergies can be developed through constant skin contact.

Standard OHS protocols call for engineering solutions well before any PPE is relied on. Masks can be used as supplementary protection but a well setup dust extraction system will not require a mask.

It baffles me that someone can afford to spend $3000 on a lathe but spend next to stuff all on protection against developing a dust allergy which will prevent them from using the lathe.
One excuse I often hear, oh I just turn small stuff like pens. In case anyone is not aware a 2mm layer of dust in the bottom of a thimble is sufficient to contaminate a 6 x 4 x 2.7 m shed above the recommend OHS levels for woo dust.

Oddy
30th Mar 2015, 11:16 AM
Thanks for the feedback Pat and Bob.
Mechanically there doesn't seem to be all that much to a wood lathe and so prior to looking I was sort of expecting to be able to find something really decent for around the 2k mark. But a bit of online window shopping shows stuff like the Vicmarcs can be considerably more than that, and then you still need to buy chucks and stuff that also looks to be quite pricey.
As you suggest Pat I think I will spend the next few months at least looking out for quality second hand equipment. I'm still interested in new options, and it doesn't have to be Australian - I just refuse to buy stuff like this if it is manufactured in China. I can't afford a 5k Vicmarc though either, so if there are no quality options out there I will just go without until something used pops up one day.

Bob - whole heartedly agree with the dust issues. I take dust control very seriously and have had my workshop setup with a Clearvue cyclone for a couple of years now - plus anything I can take outside to work on gets worked on outside - especially sanding. I am sure working with a lathe however is going to introduce some serious dust collection issues....

artful bodger
30th Mar 2015, 07:18 PM
In case anyone is not aware a 2mm layer of dust in the bottom of a thimble is sufficient to contaminate a 6 x 4 x 2.7 m shed above the recommend OHS levels for woo dust.

Wow! How things have changed.
Where I did my apprenticeship starting in 1980 I could not believe how filthy the working conditions were. Reckon there would have been 2mm of dust settle on every square mm(per day) inside the asbestos shed that had 15 tradesmen and apprentices in it.Not only wood dust but bog dust(car filler). Spray painting fumes with no extraction. Heck in the winter they even had fires inside 44 gallon drums with no flue's.
Funny thing was that apart from me there was only one other bloke who wore one of the paper masks the company supplied. The other guys who did not wear them thought we were strange wearing them.
Sorry to change the subject ...... Woodfast is also a quality Australian made lathe.
Any of these good brand ones can be picked up for a good price(2nd hand) if you are patient.
Sometimes an add in the "Wanted to buy" section of your local newspaper can come up trumps. It's worked for me on various occasions for various things.

Paul39
31st Mar 2015, 04:14 AM
How much do you need to spend to get fully setup with decent quality gear (lathe, chucks, jaws, tools, essential accessories)? I would like to be able to turn very small stuff for models and toys, up to bowls about 40-50cm in diameter. Don't see myself ever needing to turn anything long (turned furniture legs aren't my taste).

Below is my 20 inch swing short bed Woodfast that I bought for $850 US. It has variable speed fitted here in the US in addition to step pulleys. It came rusty with head and tail centers and face plate frozen in place. A week end of soaking with penetration oil, heat and gentle and not so gentle persuasion, along with a lot of polishing put everything in working order.

It would be good for you to have some experience with turning on various lathes before buying.

Except for 1 chuck and my first bowl gouge, everything I have for turning was pre-owned.

Be patient and keep looking. If you overlook cosmetics there are some bargains to be had.

Over several years I have about $2500 - $3000 in three lathes, four chucks, dry grinder, grinding jigs,Tormek, and about 100 gouges, scrapers, skews, etc., etc.

You don't have to buy it all at once. A lathe with a face plate, bowl gouge, and scraper will let you make bowls.

I have seen on this site whole turning set ups sold because of a death of the turner or moving to a retirement home. Put some cash aside and spread the word that you are looking.

This is a good book: http://www.amazon.com/Woodturning-Foundation-Course-New-Edition/dp/1861081146

Richard Raffan has some good books and DVDs.

Bluegum
1st Apr 2015, 03:50 PM
I'm thinking about taking the plunge and adding a lathe to my workshop but know absolutely nothing about wood turning yet.
What are the quality lathes on the market at the moment? (I prefer to avoid Chinese machinery and tools wherever possible - had enough experience there :no:). I'm seeing Vicmarc and Nova getting mentioned a lot in various forums.

How much do you need to spend to get fully setup with decent quality gear (lathe, chucks, jaws, tools, essential accessories)? I would like to be able to turn very small stuff for models and toys, up to bowls about 40-50cm in diameter. Don't see myself ever needing to turn anything long (turned furniture legs aren't my taste).


Hey Oddy

i own a nova 1624 lathe and while it's a good lathe, it's not a vicmarc. I've had mine for just under 3 years and I had a problem with the spindle slipping out of alignment with the motor. It's been repaired under warranty and I've had no problems since. I have a mate who's 1624 lathe is just starting to do the same thing. I ended up having a new head fitted to it when mine played up. I think carbatec has them on special at the moment. I bought mine after careful consideration. In 2011 we like a lot of Ipswich flooded. I wanted a lathe I could move fairly easily. 2013 we had to empty the shed again because it looked like it could happen again. Three of us were able to move the lathe without too much fuss. I don't think I could have gotten a Vicmarc out so easily.

mattm82
1st Apr 2015, 04:05 PM
I picked up an ex-tafe Woodfast in great condition of $300.

There are bargains out there if you're patient. Will help to work out what you want to do with it, mine is great for bowls and larger projects but not that great for pens due to lower speeds. Will still do them but not as well as a more purpose orientated lathe... Just my 2cents.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Oddy
1st Apr 2015, 07:09 PM
Thanks everyone for all the helpful replies. I think I am sold now on the idea of a 2nd hand Vicmarc (ideally), given the great reputation they seem to have everywhere online.
A member of this forum has contacted me with a 2nd hand Vicmarc VL200 for sale - about 20 years old and has the mechanical variable speed. Anyone have good or bad experiences to share with regard to the mechanical variable speed? Anyone converted one over to standard pulley setup with electronic variable speed?

hughie
1st Apr 2015, 08:36 PM
Thanks everyone for all the helpful replies. I think I am sold now on the idea of a 2nd hand Vicmarc (ideally), given the great reputation they seem to have everywhere online.
A member of this forum has contacted me with a 2nd hand Vicmarc VL200 for sale - about 20 years old and has the mechanical variable speed. Anyone have good or bad experiences to share with regard to the mechanical variable speed? Anyone converted one over to standard pulley setup with electronic variable speed?

Mechanical variable speed drives are usually a type of Reeves Drive using expanding pulleys and vee belts. Simple to operate and maintain, with one proviso you must change speed with the lathe going. They are not hard to convert to electronic later if you wish, but I would probably stay with the system it has and put the money into accessories.

Mobyturns
1st Apr 2015, 09:54 PM
I picked up an ex-tafe Woodfast in great condition of $300.

There are bargains out there if you're patient. Will help to work out what you want to do with it, mine is great for bowls and larger projects but not that great for pens due to lower speeds. Will still do them but not as well as a more purpose orientated lathe... Just my 2cents.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Good SH lathes come up from time to time and should seriously be considered vs the Chinese/Tiawanese imports. HQ electronic variable speed after market kits are available from both Vicmarc & Woodfast. Not difficult to retrofit EVS so it is possible to get all the benefits of an M910 or VL200 etc at a fraction of new price - if you are prepared to search them out.

dougturner
4th Apr 2015, 09:14 PM
I'm thinking about taking the plunge and adding a lathe to my workshop but know absolutely nothing about wood turning yet.
What are the quality lathes on the market at the moment? (I prefer to avoid Chinese machinery and tools wherever possible - had enough experience there :no:). I'm seeing Vicmarc and Nova getting mentioned a lot in various forums.

How much do you need to spend to get fully setup with decent quality gear (lathe, chucks, jaws, tools, essential accessories)? I would like to be able to turn very small stuff for models and toys, up to bowls about 40-50cm in diameter. Don't see myself ever needing to turn anything long (turned furniture legs aren't my taste).

Oddy, while I agree with all (nearly) of the other comments, I am surprised that no one has mentioned that in a lot of people's opinions, the best thing you can do before you spend a dollar, is to join your local (Kiama I know of) woodturning club, where you can talk with many owners of many different lathes, use the club's different lathes, and maybe visit other members' sheds and have a look at their setups. Then you will go into the expensive side of our hobby with a much better impression of what you are actually looking for. I originally bought a near new Elu lathe 27 years ago, then traded it up to a Teknatool TL1500 about 20 years ago, still have it, and have also bought a Nova Comet which I take to the several local demos I do at schools and charity days each year. Don't rush into your purchases, and you may even find a great bargain at the club you (might) join, when another member is selling up, or upgrading his gear. Whatever you do, have fun! Doug:U

Pat
5th Apr 2015, 07:10 AM
Oddy, I just want to clarify something Doug mentioned. The Illawarra Woodworkers Group at Fairy Meadow Primary School would probably be closer.

I am am one of several turners there, ranging from beginner to experienced.

Our website: Illawarra Woodworkers (http://illawarrawoodworkers.org.au/)

The workshop is open Saturdays from about 0800.

Evanism
6th Apr 2015, 02:30 AM
Oddy, this is one sport where you find every excuse in the book to buy more and more and more stuff!

Chisels still in their shipping baggies, chuck accessories, sharpening jigs and doodads, chucks, a few more chucks, a longworth, a few more chucks so you aren't swapping out jaws....ooooo some chisels at an auction. Look! More jaws!..... Another 5 calipers....

Eeeeeeee!

bobL and everyone is dead right about dust. Almost every woodie I've met has never been serious enough about dust. My mates here in Happy Canberra are pretty serious, but it seems the exception. I always have the extractor on while I work..... It makes the sanding look nice with the vapour trails....

Wyckerman
6th Apr 2015, 07:26 PM
bobL and everyone is dead right about dust. Almost every woodie I've met has never been serious enough about dust. My mates here in Happy Canberra are pretty serious, but it seems the exception. I always have the extractor on while I work..... It makes the sanding look nice with the vapour trails....


I'm looking to buy a lathe shortly and have better dust collection added into the budget. Is a high-pressure/low-volume dust collector better suited to turning than a low-pressure/high-volume setup?

Cheers

Oddy
6th Apr 2015, 09:36 PM
This is a good book: http://www.amazon.com/Woodturning-Foundation-Course-New-Edition/dp/1861081146
Richard Raffan has some good books and DVDs.
Read a bunch of book reviews for lathe/wood turning books on Amazon, and looks like you picked a winner here Paul. Ordered from Book Depository, so should have some good reading ahead in a week or 2.

Oddy
6th Apr 2015, 09:50 PM
Oddy, I just want to clarify something Doug mentioned. The Illawarra Woodworkers Group at Fairy Meadow Primary School would probably be closer.

Hi Pat, thanks for responding to this thread. I have been searching online for somewhere that might offer wood turning lessons but have not come up with anything close and specific to wood turning. I did stumble across the Illawarra Woodworkers site, and also Corrimal Men's shed but wasn't sure if they cater to a casual visitor just dropping in to check out the wood turning. If visitors are welcome, I wouldn't mind dropping in for a sticky beak.

Pat
7th Apr 2015, 04:57 AM
Visitors are welcomed.

Pat
11th Apr 2015, 02:33 PM
I had the pleasure of meeting both Berwick (Wyckerman) and Troy (Oddy) at the club house today.

Ron Rutter
12th Apr 2015, 03:28 PM
I'm looking to buy a lathe shortly and have better dust collection added into the budget. Is a high-pressure/low-volume dust collector better suited to turning than a low-pressure/high-volume setup?

Cheers

You want high volume. A large pick-up area gathers up the fines much better. For example a 2" diameter pipe pulling high CFM just tunnels & doesn't pick up the small dust floating around.
For extensive information on dust collection go to the Bil Pentz website. Excellent info!! Ron.