View Full Version : HAFCO WOODLATHES

3rd Sep 1999, 10:19 AM
I wish to purchase a lathe for myself, I am a beginner and I would like some words on this brand of lathe.
Stats: 350 mm swingover bed
1000mm between centres
full cast iron bed
variable speed
1 hp motor price $895 plus tax
They have a smaller one at $419 it has a swivel head and 900mm between centres with a 3/4 hp motor and light wieght stand.
Help please.


7th Sep 1999, 02:30 AM
G'Day Lushy

Don't know those particular lathes from experience but I have seen some of the Hafco
stuff advertised in magazines, these ones sound like any one of a number of Taiwanese
lathes on the market that are rebadged here with any brand name you can think of.

Firstly look at the size of the motor on the lathe then have a look at the motor on a
Teknatool, Woodfast, Vicmarc or other good lathe. If it is lots smaller you will probably find that it is under powered and most likely over rated in the HP. http://ubb.ubeaut.com.au/ubb/frown.gif Most of these lathes are only designed for reasonably light work and will fall in a heap if you put a big job on them.

They also have a habit of being a bit suspect in the variable speed mechanism and usually don't have a very wide seat in the drive spindle. i.e.. the spindle is supported by a
couple of bearings only an inch or two apart with the variable speed mechanism hanging
off the end. Most reasonable lathes will have at least 5" - 6" between the bearings with
the drive pulleys between them.

I may be barking up the wrong tree with this one but I doubt it. Tread warily.

Personally I would go for something more substantial, either Teknatool or Vicmarc.
However if all you want to do is light medium sized work and you are on a budget then
maybe one of these will be the ideal thing for you. You can always sell it later and
upgrade to a better machine if the need be. Again this is a personal preference but I
would probably buy a Jet (similar lathe different badge and colour) they seem to
have a bit of an edge on the others. Available from Crab Tec and others.

This is just my opinion.

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

8th Sep 1999, 09:32 AM
Thanks Neil I shall be asking the questions about the things you have stated to the suppliers, the one I have in mind is on a cast iron bed, head and tailstock and stand so it would be ok for a beginer to start with, I am staying away from the the light weight framed type that just use RHS as the bed, and I think a one HP motor would have to be minimum, concidering I would want to do some heavier stuff when I get the experience level up. Again thanks for the comments and I shall keep them in mind when making the final
passing of the cash.

8th Sep 1999, 06:54 PM

If you can wait 3 weeks until The Melbourne Working with Wood show you can compare all the lathes and probably negotiate a better price.

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

15th Sep 1999, 05:23 AM
Further to my investigations HAFCO are made by the same guys as JET lathes and gear. Yes I shall wait for the wood show before doing anything else.

9th Nov 1999, 10:15 AM
I too am looking at the Hafco Lathe (around the $500 mark)The Hafco motor is made in China although Hercus say that the lathe is made in Taiwan. The Jet (twice the price) is made in Taiwan.

The Jet seems to be finished off better and "perhaps" a better motor, but is it worth double the money?

Any Further thoughts on this would be appreciated as I just want a good lathe for a fair price!

9th Nov 1999, 07:40 PM
Regards the Hafco & Jet lathes, Jets are made in Taiwan the Hafco is Chinese, there used to be a vast difference in quality between Taiwanese and Chinese, there is now not too much difference. We sell both brands, probably in the ratio of about five Hafco to one Jet.
The Hafco has a one horsepower motor the Jet 3/4 Horsepower, the Jet has a wider speed range, both have a rather maintainence intensive variable speed arrangement. With either lathe the first thing you do when you unpack the box is take the stand out to the garden, put some pot plants on it (cause thats all its good for) and build a good solid lathe stand for yourself.
Either of these lathes are best regarded as entry level machines, most buyers trade up after about six to twelve months.
P.S. We have more warranty claims with the Jet machines.

Graeme Bensley
Southern Woodturning Supplies

10th Nov 1999, 12:44 PM
Thanks for your words - it seems that there are many unintentional porkies being told about these lathes. Oh, by the way the importers of the Hafco (Hare & Forbes)say that it is rated at 3/4 hp, but that they have smaller horses in China - equivalent of a 1/2 hp in Australia! Does this fit with your experience? Or does it have enough power?

I am interested in the maintainence required on the variable speed mech. Are we talking major work or just regular check/lube type stuff?

I am more into reproduction furniture than being a dedicated wood turner so I don't want to spend more than I have to.

On the other hand I don't appreciate a poorly engineered machine (such as the smaller chinese drill presses) am I going to want to do bodily harm to the importer of a Hafco lathe? Or is one of these going to be OK for infrequent, mainly spindle turning use?

I really just want to buy once, but not spend more than I have to....

For all of the purists out there... I am aware that a Woodfast or similar would be a great machine, I would love to have one...but can I justify spending $1000-$2000 on something that might average 5-10% use in the lineup of my shop equipment when a cheaper machine may work just as well?