View Full Version : SYMTEC LATHES (a carry over)

28th Sep 1999, 07:34 PM
Gooday all.

I have started this thread so that all who wish to have their say on Symtec lathes can confine it to this thread.

For further info and background read the post "Robbos tip" posted on the 4/9/99.
ubb.ubeaut.com.au/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000042.html (http://ubb.ubeaut.com.au/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000042.html)

Then read Symtecs' reply on 28/9/99.
ubb.ubeaut.com.au/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000045.html (http://ubb.ubeaut.com.au/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000045.html)

I do not wish this to become a slanging match so please a little decorum.

The staement that started it all.

Hi Shane
Ever seen a shaving come off a Symtec lathe. I'll warrant you haven't. If you know what woodturning is all about, I rest my case.

One of the claims to fame is that they are used by blind people. This is absolutely
wonderful and I concede that there is a definate use for it in blind schools sheltered workshops etc. Great for making shapes, but not a machine for a serious woodturner, even a lazy one. The frightening thing is that Woodfast who have spent years putting down these machines are now trying to out Symtec, Symtec, with the introduction a
couple of years ago of their copying tools.

I am sure that there are dozens of Symtec owners who will tell you they have the best lathe on the market, and I'll bet there are just as many who have regretted their

Believe me, if this lathe was as good as the claims made about it by the manufacturer, all of the lathe manufacturers would be making their lathes to work the same way.

This is just my observation. I must admit that I have observed these lathes at many
shows over the years (even had them on the stand next to us at Melb. WWW Show
last year) and I am still to see one work safer or better than a traditional lathe. I and many others have however, observed a number of pieces of timber being torn to
shreds and thrown out of the lathe at shows. Not a good trick when the favorite part of your selling spiel is it to tell how many people are mamed and killed each year by
conventional lathes.

This is just my opinion, long winded as it is.

Neil http://ubb.ubeaut.com.au/ubb/smile.gif

Reply by Symtec.

Today 27th September1999 I was emailed some extracts from the bulletin board about the Symtec Woodlathe.


Constructive criticism is most welcome and acknowledged, but basis untruths are neither helpful or desired by anyone. I reply to a statement put forward by a Neil Ellis on the 5th September, who if he hasnít seen a shaving from a Symtec lathe is either blind or too stubborn to see, shavings is what the lathe gives all the time.


We would also like those so called people who Neil 'bets' have regretted their purchases of Symtec lathes to contact us (in 16 years their has not been one that has come forward, Mr. Ellis certainly assumes a lot.).The Symtec woodlathe has no limitations, at the very worst it is still a traditional lathe to be used with chisels. So why would one regret purchasing a very high quality wood lathe which has more facilities and uses than any other wood lathe in the World??

Further it is obvious Mr. Neil Ellis is either ignorant of PATENT Laws or incredibly naive about business and manufacturing or both, otherwise he would understand why other manufacturers cannot get their lathes to work the same way as Symtec

As the only person who demonstrates these machines at the WWW shows I CAN GUARANTEE YOU THIS, again in writing that I have NEVER thrown a piece of wood out of a Symtec lathe. I do not know Mr. Ellis' reason for his

It is also amazing how one can deliberately change the meaning of a statement by adding or taking a word. My actual statement is that "many people have been maimed and even killed by chisels being flung out of the users hand." It is not each year as stated by MR. ELLIS and it is not the favorite part of my selling spiel, IT IS JUST COLD HARD FACTS.

To you Mr. Ellis, if you wish to make a comment, please get you facts straight.


To Shane Watson, Please don't be pressured, if you don't wish to. YOU HAVE A TRADITIONAL LATHE AS WELL IN THE SYMTEC.????(YOU ALREADY HAVE THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS) Remembering also that we back the product and if you have any questions please feel free to call us.

To whom ever answered you, donít know if it's or Neil Ellis or Doorstop, but they obviously have NO IDEA how to use the Symtec Woodlathe, when they talk about having to use a lot of abrasives to sand the work. We once again will GUARANTEE IN WRITING A SMOOTH FINISH STRAIGHT OF THE SYMTEC CUTTER.

And by the way Symtec is obviously far far quicker than the antiquated methods with chisels.


Well I've said my bit HONESTLY and will GUARANTEE all the facts. There is not much more to add except ..... WE WILL TAKE THE CHALLENGE ON ANY OF THESE GUARANTEES.

I just feel sad for those people who will make decisions based on statements made by BIASED, ILINFORMED people who CANNOT and will not back any of their statements.

We recognize and admire the skills of a professional wood turner who takes years to hone their gifted skills however these are few and far between.

Many of these professionals and education facilities all over the world recognize the benefits, safety, speed and advantages of symtec and have welcomed them gladly to enhance their work. We do not expect everybody to do the same but with progress comes technology to give to the masses enjoyment and safety with equipment they may never otherwise master.

Only those with limited foresight and wishing to stay in the dark ages will always fear change.

What more can we say?

Thank you for your time.

Always at your service,

Les Geyer......Managing Director.

Ian () Robertson
"We do good turns every day"

[This message has been edited by (edited 28 September 1999).]

Great Poo Bear
29th Sep 1999, 12:27 PM
A well known Demigod of woodturning (Richard Raffan) recently did a 4 page article
on purchasing a woodlathe for the Australian Wood Review (Issue 24 page 77). A
noticeable omission from the article was the Symtec Lathe. I guess it is not one of Mr
Raffan's favourites either.

It would be interesting to get his views on the subject. If he has any.

From the 10 acre wood this is the Poo, signing off.

Farewell. http://ubb.ubeaut.com.au/ubb/smile.gif

4th Oct 1999, 03:21 PM
Makes purchasing your first Lathe a real problem doesn't it, when you think that we are in the same hobby it amazes me how many different ideas on things there is. I ride a bike it is a Honda. Honda have won the most GPs but does this make it the best bike? I ride on the road every day so the Honda you see at the race track has bugger all to do with my bike. Honda put a v 4 in mine and at the gp they are totally different configeration and smelly two stroke. Might I state that the gp donk does not have a road going version so it doesn't count. I am typing this slow so that I do not liable meself as I gots no money anyway. Hi Ray will contact u soon reference a lathe we spoke about.
David Lush
Rye Vic


Neil Ellis
6th Oct 1999, 03:08 AM
G'day folks

I said I would take the camera to the WWW Show and photograph the shavings etc on the Symtec lathe. However, unfortunately I did not have a chance to talk to Mr Gayer alone and in person as I would have liked to. Unfortunately running a stand at one of these shows means a rather large time commitment from all involved. (Both Les and myself.) It is hard to find a time when both can meet alone.

I did however get a chance to go and see a demonstration of the lathe by the man himself and will gladly admit that the tool being used did indeed produce shavings from the timber it was presented to. Les went to great pains to show fact, even putting them on the headstock for all to see.

However these shavings were nothing more than any sharp tool in a scraping cut would produce and the ultimate finish in the piece I saw was still reasonably rough surface that would have needed more than a fair amount of sanding to clean up prior to finishing.

Admittedly this was all done in a quick demonstration, and could possibly have been cut cleaner with less speed and more care but I still cannot see this happening with a fixed tool in the tool holder. YES a good crisp clean cut could be done by putting the toolrest on and using conventional tools and cutting methods, but this is just what Les says is the problem with other lathes.

I have no problem with the Symtec lathe, I think it is a truly amazing and brilliant concept, it is designed to be the answer to a dozen different prayers. It can copy a form exactly, can be used with a router to produce fluting, spiral twists and many more decorative finishes. It even has its own inbuilt sharpening stone to sharpen the cutter to the right angle in a few seconds and can be used as a conventional lathe (with some limitations).

For a newcomer to turning who has neither the desire or ability to learn how to use a conventional lathe it is a god send, it will enable them to make copies of spindle work, so long as the shape is not too complex, and turn out fair bowls, etc. (the one I examined was pretty rough, but in all fairness could have been a quick demo. If my demonstrator cut that badly he or she would get the sack on the spot)

In my opinion there is still no substitute for a traditional lathe when it comes to fine woodturning. I saw no way that this lathe could handle large diameter bowls and without knowledge of traditional woodturning the operator would have great difficulty in doing a clean finishing cut or making a prototype of spindle work to copy. The operator from what I can see is also limited in the complexity of the turning. eg. The cutter will not fit into 2 deep touching beads simply because of the design of the cutting tip. I would be fearful of doing small diameter work down to 1 or 2 mm diam. with the Symtec cutter. It is impossible for the cutter to do miniature work and because of the width of the bed I would think it also hard to do them and a number of other spindle and face plate jobs in the conventional mode.

The only way that this lathe can give what I consider to be a fine finishing cut is by conventional methods, the methods that Les condemns in other lathes and says can be harmful to the operator. No one has yet been killed or maimed on a Symtec lathe (YET) but that could be just sheer good luck. The fact that there are many millions of conventional lathes in sheds and workshops around the world and virtually no Symtecs by comparison could have a lot to do with this. As I said before there have been plenty of pieces fly off the lathes in demonstrations, and for Les to deny this would be an out and out lie. It may not have been him as the operator who lost the pieces but the fact remains that they have been lost just the same.

Don't feel bad about losing demo pieces from the lathe Les almost every one who does demonstrations or public turning has done it or will do it at some time. They usually don't destroy part of their own sign though.

In conclusion I feel that the Symtec cutter has limitations however if I had to choose between it and the clone being made by Woodfast I would choose the Symtec, no questions asked. If I had to choose between a Symtec lathe and a Woodfast I would choose the Woodfast (then go and trade it in on an Omega Stubby).

Cheers all.
Neil Ellis http://ubb.ubeaut.com.au/ubb/smile.gif

Great Poo Bear
6th Oct 1999, 12:54 PM
Hello Mr Lushy

I ride a trike called a Hardly Dagison and it is good cos when I pedal fast it goes fast and when I pedal slow it goes slow and when I go round a corner I don't fall off and my donk (called heehaw) he follows along behind and some times he gets on the badk step for a ride and when I go round a corner too fast he falls off and if he falls off he can get hert one sometimes he gets a cut on him and his stuffin fall out cos he wasn't on a real bike and it wasn't real safe and stuff and if I had the my choice to have a Honda like yours and one of them GP thingies then I would choose one of them and trade it in on a nother Hardley for the donk and then he wouldn't have to get re stuffed all the time anyhoo I gota go now cos Chris is lookin for me.

From the 10 acker wood this is the Great Poo Bear signing off.

Love and peace to all the Hardley peeple owt there, keep on triken.