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Farnk
30th Apr 2006, 09:33 PM
G'day all,
Firstly, thanks to everyone for providing a really positive and informative forum. This is the first port of call when I run into a problem.

Anyhow, The father in law is approaching his 60th in a few weeks and is keen to do some turning, especially having a go at turning pens. He doesn't have a lot of room, so a mini lathe seems to be the best option. I'm shopping for a suitable unit and am interested in people's feedback on the following: Carbatec MCE300, Jet or the delta midi

Budget is relatively open, within sane limits that is!
I'm looking to set him up with a whole package, lathe, basic chisel set, scroll chuck, etc.

The irony here is that He was the one who started me into turning when he bought me a GMC lathe! And yes, I know that it's crap, but a sturdy heavy bench, a vicmarc chuck, some replacement bearings and a bit of scrap steel welded here and there has improved things markedly.

I'll do the lathe upgrade for myself later on, (too many other jobs to justify this to SWMBO)

Skew ChiDAMN!!
30th Apr 2006, 09:57 PM
I'm shopping for a suitable unit and am interested in people's feedback on the following: Carbatec MCE300, Jet or the delta midi

Budget is relatively open, within sane limits that is!
I'm looking to set him up with a whole package, lathe, basic chisel set, scroll chuck, etc.

For pens, I wouldn't look further than the JET 708351B/JML-1014 14" mini, the Ledacraft MC-1018 mini or the Delta Model 46-350/LA200 midi. These are all variations of the same basic bed and in practise there's really not much to choose between them, they're all in about the same price range too. I'd choose the Leda first, as it has the longest bed-length of the three, about 24" as compared to 14", although you can buy bed extensions for the others. They all have about a 10" swing over bed, so they're good for a lot more than pens. I've turned a couple of cheese platters on mine. :)

I'm sure he'd be happy with any one of 'em... (I know I love both my JET & Leda. :D)

BTW, I'm not overly impressed with the Carbatec MCE300, IMHO the JET, Leda & Delta offer far better value for money. That being said, I don't own & haven't used one; I'm only going by what I've seen on the shop floor.

Dendot
30th Apr 2006, 10:03 PM
Farnk,
Just off the top of my head, when I read your post I couldn't help mentioning that My club, The Barwon Valley Woodwrights inc., have just bought a JET mini lathe for the use of the club, and so far we have been more than happy with it. It has variable speed and is really great. Perhaps you could contact Vic Willmott, who was the member who handled the purchase etc. His number is 03 5278 7324. I am sure he would give you some feedback, although I haven't asked him about it.

Farnk
30th Apr 2006, 10:07 PM
For pens, I wouldn't look further than the JET 708351B/JML-1014 14" mini, the Ledacraft MC-1018 mini or the Delta Model 46-350/LA200 midi. These are all variations of the same basic bed and in practise there's really not much to choose between them, they're all in about the same price range too. I'd choose the Leda first, as it has the longest bed-length of the three, about 3' as compared to 14", although you can buy a bed extensions for the others. They all have about a 10" swing over bed, so they're good for a lot more than pens. I've turned a couple of cheese platters on mine. :)

I'm sure he'd be happy with any one of 'em... (I know I love both my JET & Leda. :D)

BTW, I'm not overly impressed with the Carbatec MCE300, IMHO the JET, Leda & Delta offer far better value for money. That being said, I don't own & haven't used one; I'm only going by what I've seen on the shop floor.

Thanks for the feedback! and from a fellow croydonite as well!

Skew ChiDAMN!!
30th Apr 2006, 10:17 PM
Thanks for the feedback! and from a fellow croydonite as well!

Croydon's a dangerous place; you never know what sort of weird people you'll meet. :D

Farnk
30th Apr 2006, 10:22 PM
Croydon's a dangerous place; you never know what sort of weird people you'll meet. :D

ROFL
But seriously, I've lived in croydon for about 15 years, and I have to ask what proportion of the tradesmen in melbourne live here? I'd reckon that every 2nd or 3rd house in my block is a tradie!

soundman
30th Apr 2006, 11:30 PM
I had a look at all the small lathes and ended up buying the jet mini (not variable speed ) and a nova precision midi chuck and the extension bed.

If you look at swing and distance betwwen centers once the extension bed is attached, the jet mini isn't far behind many of the bigger lathes.

The only thing you wont do on it( within reason ) is swing big bowls.

I'm very happy with mine & its a thing you can easily bring out and put away if that suits.

all you need the is a set of economy chisels and a tralier load of fire wood and you have a whole heap of cheap fun.

Give garry pye a call I know he has a deal together on these for the brisbane wood show & will be doing the southern shows too this year.
Garry ships anywhere.

cheers

fxst
30th Apr 2006, 11:45 PM
I have the timbercon sherwood elctronic vari speed mini lathe and for pens I found it to be excellent.
If its pens he wants to do maybe look at jim carrols site or go visit him he's a vic too :D for the pen starters kit has the mandrel (M1 or 2) pen mill etc.
I bought (a couple years or so ago) at the Adelaide ww show a robert sorby pen turning set and find it bl**dy excelent. it had a 1/2" gouge a 1/4" parting tool and a fingernail skew(?) chisel in it
Pete

lubbing5cherubs
1st May 2006, 01:45 PM
I just bought a ledacraft mc-1018 after a gmc she is just gorgeous. Love it
Toni

Greolt
1st May 2006, 04:11 PM
The Mini lates are what I would recomend, Not the "pen" lathes, just too small and limiting.

Timbecon MC-1018 $249

Jet Mini $359 (Gary Pye)

Ledacraft MC-1018 $296 (Jim Carroll)

These are pretty much all the same lathe.

I have the Jet mini with the variable speed which is nice but not necessary.

I also have a "grown up lathe" but if what I want to turn will fit I will always use the mini. Just nice to use.

The Jet is no better quality than the others IMHO. I had to remachine a couple of sufaces on mine to get it spot on.

I would go to Jim Carroll and get the Leda and he will have averything else you want and good advise too. And fairly close to home too.

Greolt

CameronPotter
1st May 2006, 04:19 PM
I would say that a variable speed lathe would be quite important. A few people here said it isn't all that big a deal, but having just had troubles with boring some holes in a pepper mill since my lathe won't slow down enough (and he will end up wanting to do things other than pens given time) I would say get a variable speed lathe.

Cam

ss_11000
1st May 2006, 05:58 PM
i would reccomend varible speed lathe too. i've used a four speed and a variable speed and found the varible better for changing speeds and it means you have a greater range of speeds to choose from, which i find better,

hooppine
1st May 2006, 06:17 PM
There is a Ledacraft on ebay at the moment in Victoria pick up only. The present price is $61 so it may be useful to someone

rsser
1st May 2006, 06:21 PM
The trouble with mini/midi turning is that ambitions grow faster than the lathe ;-}

Skew ChiDAMN!!
1st May 2006, 06:31 PM
The trouble with mini/midi turning is that ambitions grow faster than the lathe ;-}

Oh, I wouldn't say that. I've two midis, two MC-900s and 1/2 an unmentionable. Big stuff on the biggies, but small work I always do on the midis. Pens, bobbins, detail work on goblets, anything pernickety the midis do better. Can balance a coin on the headstock and it'll stay there until I knock it over. :)

Now, if I had a a VL175 or a stubby I might be thinking otherwise... ;)

Greolt
1st May 2006, 06:41 PM
The trouble with mini/midi turning is that ambitions grow faster than the lathe ;-} My thinking is yes you may very well want a bigger lathe in the future but it is
still good to have the small one as well:p

Lets face it in amoungst all the stuff you will buy on the way to outgrowing it,
the cost of a mini is not much.:)

Greolt

rsser
1st May 2006, 06:48 PM
lol

I was thinking if you had to settle for only one lathe ...

The trouble with a Stubby is that it can turn something a metre in diameter, and do you know how hard it is to find something of that size, just to try her out?!

CameronPotter
1st May 2006, 06:52 PM
The trouble with a Stubby is that it can turn something a metre in diameter, and do you know how hard it is to find something of that size, just to try her out?!

I have some big eucalyptus burls I want to make into small table tops. I was afraid that I would have to go darkside, but if you send me your lathe I will "try it out" for you. ;)

Greolt
1st May 2006, 06:59 PM
There is a Ledacraft on ebay at the moment in Victoria pick up only. The present price is $61 so it may be useful to someone Had a look and coudn't find it:confused:

Do you have a link, or what is it listed under?

Greolt

Skew ChiDAMN!!
1st May 2006, 07:35 PM
The trouble with a Stubby is that it can turn something a metre in diameter, and do you know how hard it is to find something of that size, just to try her out?!

Winged bowls with really big wings? God help you if you stuck your fingers in the 'grey' area though, the doctors probably couldn't. [shudder]

I almost feel sorry for with his 40 footer... except I'm sure that trying it out is something he hasn't looked forward to in a looong time. :D

Farnk
1st May 2006, 09:40 PM
Again, thanks everyone, great input.
His available shed space dictates a mini/midi lathe, so I'll take your feedback on board and go shopping this week.

Pity it's not for my shed, but at least I'll get to use it too!

Farnk
2nd May 2006, 09:26 PM
There is a Ledacraft on ebay at the moment in Victoria pick up only. The present price is $61 so it may be useful to someone

Gawd I Love this forum!
Not only am I sorted out with a turning club or two to check out, but I got the Ledacraft previously mentioned on ebay for $102.00 WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!:)

But you'll remember the thread title here, shopping for the Father in law.
Well, I proudly showed SWMBO my Ebay success, she queried the ledacraft saying 'but you were after a mini lathe, weren't you? Why don't you keep this one and keep shopping for dad?'

So I got a new lathe! WOOOOOOOO!:D

ss_11000
2nd May 2006, 10:09 PM
lucky you. have fun with your new toy ( not tool:p ;) )

ozwinner
2nd May 2006, 10:15 PM
Shopping for the Father in law

I must say what a strange way to go about it.
I shopped for a wife and got the father in law that came with her???:confused:


Al :confused: :confused:

ss_11000
2nd May 2006, 10:25 PM
Shopping for the Father in law

I must say what a strange way to go about it.
I shopped for a wife and got the father in law that came with her???:confused:


Al :confused: :confused:
shopping for THE father in law

not shopping for A father in law


:p :p :p :p

soundman
2nd May 2006, 11:06 PM
There is a lesson here.

A womans desire for a bargin will often overide her desire to supress your spending.:D File this and remember for future reference.

I have observed this occurance with my swmbo but there seems to be a randomising factor.

cheers

Farnk
4th May 2006, 10:02 PM
So, I picked up the leda yesterday, got to say that the seller was definitely expecting to get a better price for it! Lots of muttering, etc.

Overall it's in great nick, he told me that he used it a few times, then left it in the shed and never went back to it. This looks to be true as the drive belt looks new and there is very little dust, etc under the drive cover.

The bed and a few bits and peices had a bit of surface rust, but this was easily sorted with light oil and some steel wool.

The only thing I didn't get was a manual. Everything looks to be pretty much self explanatory excepting one thing, hopefully someone can tell me.

Next to and below the speed change lever there is a handle attached to a long bolt that goes through a small block, into the headstock, through and into another small block at the rear. What is this for? Is it to remove the headstock from the bed? It's very difficult to turn, so I haven't forced it.

Would someone please cure my ignorance?

Skew ChiDAMN!!
5th May 2006, 01:25 AM
I think you're talking about the headstock locking lever. You should be able to undo that and then rotate the headstock by 45°, 90°, etc. from the lathe bed to do some outboard turning. :)

Errrmmm... don't forget to retighten it after you've moved the head into the new position. ;)

Farnk
14th May 2006, 12:04 AM
Well I finally got some time in the shed to put the new (to me) lathe through it's paces. This was my first time spent actually turning stuff rather than just cleaning and setup.

First was a 'commissioned' peice, that being a small rolling pin for my 2 year old to use with her Play-doh. This was also the first turning I've done in months.

I know that this is old news and nothing surprising at all to you, but the difference between turning even a small piece on the leda and the GMC is staggering.

After that, I dug out a largish peice of pine branchwood (from a friend's garden a couple of years ago, nothing special as wood, but I got a few pieces that have heaps of knots and interesting grain in them) and produced a nice vase shaped tall bowl. This gave me a good opportunity to try some deep hollowing and also to borrow the chuck from the drill press and try a forstner bit to start the hollowing process.

The comparative ease in which the leda handled the heavy hollowing, the higher speeds when sanding and roughing out what was a very eccentric piece of branch was just amazing.

So I am sitting here feeling very pleased with my $102 lathe and looking forward to making lots of shavings in future!

2 year old was very pleased with the rolling pin and immediately put it to use, the bowl? well, SWMBO thought it just the thing for the kid's crayons.

Farnk
28th May 2006, 02:03 PM
Well, I thought that I'd close the loop on this one and thank you all for your input.
We made the trip up for the FIL's 60th birthday.

The mini lathe was a hit, not just with him but with the dozen or so of his mates from work. (FIL is a chippy and general handyman)

Within an hour or two, it was setup and there were shavings everywhere!
He's very happy with it, and if he ever needs to turn something bigger, he can use the leda.

All in all a great result.

So thanks again everyone!

TEEJAY
28th May 2006, 02:37 PM
Nice story - great thread? Congratulations on the Leda ;) :)

Skew ChiDAMN!!
28th May 2006, 08:20 PM
It's always nice to hear a story that has a happy ending... for both sides. :D