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Hardenfast
12th Nov 2006, 01:23 PM
Afternoon Gents. I've been with the WW forum for a while, but first time in this venerable area.

I think it's about time I included some woodturning skills in my repertoire. I'm fairly well kitted out in other equipment and have good general woodworking skills (builder - carpenter by trade), but have virtually no experience in lathe work.

I would like to buy a nice lathe and associated paraphernalia, and thought I would turn to the vast assemblage of collective talent & experience herein for suggestions.

I don't mind spending a bit extra for something of good quality and extended application, even if my first efforts are somewhat modest & limited. I plan to start on a few posts for rocking horse stands.

I would therefore appreciate the comments of those that have the time to respond as to your suggestions and preferences, and would be quite happy to consider any equipment that may be available for sale from the assembled fraternity.

Thanks in anticipation. Wayne

LuckyDuck
12th Nov 2006, 03:56 PM
Wayne:

G'day mate. I have appreciated your posts in the past, regarding various other things, and so welcome you to the world of lathe turning -- not that I turn very much.

Opinions vary considerably regarding what is "good quality". For some people, GMC fits the bill. For many, it gets no better than Jet. For a minority, "good quality" means high end European brands.

As with all machinery types, you can spend an absolute fortune on a wood lathe. It will be important for you to determine not only the quality level you want, but the specifications you might require in the future.

Thus, unless you only want to turn bowls and other very short pieces, you will want a lathe with a capacity of 1000mm or there abouts. If you intend to turn larger items (e.g. split octagonal pedestals for a dining table), you need a heavy lathe, and one which has a decent sized motor (e.g. 2hp or more). Finally, variable speed control is a wonderful luxury (that I don't have) and would put on my "must have" list of specs. As any turner would tell you, lathe speeds are changed several times for every piece turned. Then there are other specifications to consider, including build quality, accessories, compatibility with accessories of other makes, etc.

I have an older model Woodfast MC908, which is no longer made. I upgraded it to a 2.5hp motor, and with a modest list of accessories and tools, it cost me about $3300 back in 1990. Adjusting for inflation today, that's a fair whack of money! I love it because it weighs a heap, is extremely accurate, and is beautifully made. The new Woodfasts are not made in Australia anymore and I wonder whether they can compare?

If I were to buy a lathe today, and price were not the deciding issue, I would buy a Vicmarc. The better specifications on these machines (yes, they do cost), have all the qualities outlined above. But I will leave it to other members on this forum, who own Vicmarcs, to comment on their machines.

Hope this helps in some way!

hughie
12th Nov 2006, 04:06 PM
Wayne,
welcome to the mad house of obsessive turners :D :D

It centres around a coupe of things, for one the budget, ie $250-10,000 is about whats out there at the moment. Also what would you like/plan to turn? Bowls, pens, spindle stuff etc.

Pens; you can get a good lathe for much less than a good bowl turning lathe.

Some of the brands to look at are as follows: Omega Stubby, Vicmarc, Teknatool and if you really want to spend some money and buy a extremely well engineered lathe try

UK made
http://www.hegner.co.uk/system/index.html
Aust or NZ made
http://www.vicmarc.com/
http://www.teknatool.com/
http://stubbylatheusa.com/cgi-bin/index.py US site but made here in Oz
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~kjeeves/leady/lathe/lathe.html
further links
http://cws-store.yahoostore.com.au/cgi/index.cgi/shopfront/view_by_category?category_id=1107144812
http://www.hareandforbes.com.au/sample_2/home.php
http://www.carbatec.com.au/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=300_14570


Tools: go for HSS steel, such names as Sorby, Hamlet, P&N, to name a few.
http://www.carbatec.com.au/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=300_13600_13610
http://www.robert-sorby.co.uk/turning.htm
http://www.ubeaut.com.au/beenainfo.htm

If your into bowls there are some ubeaut bowl hollowers and Bowl savers

http://www.rollymunro.co.nz/html/tools.html
http://www.shop.woodcut-tools.com/section.php?xSec=2&jssCart=36aed8a34aebd33134d151ae7ceaefcf
bowl savers
http://www.shop.woodcut-tools.com/section.php?xSec=11
http://www.kelton.co.nz/hollow.html

This is just to get you started. But it will give an idea. As your just starting the ''turnin' thingy'' you might want to look up your local Turner Guild and get along there, they will provide heaps of hands on info and help
ie http://www.sydneywoodturners.com.au/


see how you go. :D

Skew ChiDAMN!!
12th Nov 2006, 05:08 PM
And if you're of the darkside persuasion, ie. one of these people who lovingly spend hours lapping plane & chisel blades and honing micro-bevels, be prepared for a major rethink when it comes to sharpening; a 6" grinder with an AlOxide (white) wheel is really all that's needed for the basic turning tools.

Sharpening as for planes or firmer chisels is a waste of time & effort... a 10" dia. blank @ 600RPM means the chisel is cutting over 500 metres per minute, more than 30KPH! Thus turning chisels blunten quickly and need to be touched up a lot more frequently than other bladed tools; it just doesn't make sense to spend more time sharpening than turning. ;)

Hardenfast
12th Nov 2006, 07:42 PM
Maybe we're showing our age a little, Lucky..... or is Mr Duck? (actually, you're quite OK with Donald, aren't you?). I'm a bit like you in that I somehow equate great weight with good quality. It seems that the older stuff always tended to be on the heavy side and (nearly) always lasted forever. I also like the original Woodfast gear, but you don't see it for sale too much. Those that have it obviously don't want to part with it. I seem to remember that it was largely used by the schools and Tafes.

And yes, as with most things, price is everything. You and Hughie both mentioned Vicmarc, and they do seem to be universally respected - nice range of models too. I take your points re the projects intended. As I said, quite modest ambitions at this stage, so something 1.0m long should be fine.

I have a fantasy of trying a slim 1.5m x 50mm pole for a carousel horse with a nice barley twist on it and a hole right up the centre so I can make a lamp out of the carved horse, but I'm sure I'll need a week or two of practice before trying that one.

Many thanks for those links too, Hugh. Great research material there. I shall begin imediately. Although, having read Skew's warning on the speed of these things maybe I should stick to my Altendorf panel saw and spindle moulder - much safer.

I actually have a little collection of chisels already - mostly English stuff (really nice!) and a couple of Buck Bros (USA) as well. I will take the plunge shortly and keep you posted.

As usual this place has been a fountain of wisdom and knowledge, a pleasure to visit and while away an hour or two. I shall repay in kind where able.

Regards. ;)

baxter
12th Nov 2006, 07:58 PM
There is a Central Coast Woodturners Club.

I am not sure of the contact details, however I am sure that Steve Lindsay at The Lumber Bunker, 12a Pacific Highway, WEst Gosford, would be able to give you a contact.

This is a very good club and I am sure that the members would be prepared to give you hands on guidance and assistance.

Give them a try before you take the first plung and end up with something that may not meet your future requirements.

graemet
12th Nov 2006, 09:36 PM
Wayne,
Like they said.
I inherited an old Kity lathe from my Dad and did a course with John Ewart at Trend Timbers. It became very apparent in the space of two days, that the little Kity would turn chessmen and lace bobbins but not much more. I settled on a Technatool Nova (the belt drive, not the electronic speed one) as a good compromise between price and functionality. A Supernova chuck and a bed extension and so far I haven't been limited by equipment, only by ability.
Cheers
Graeme

rsser
13th Nov 2006, 05:43 PM
Hughie's mastery of WWW resources is clearly second to none.

May I modestly add the local Omega website:

http://www.omegastubbylathes.com/Front_Pagex.html

(and as some wag said, if you have to ask how much they are you can't afford it!).

satheger
13th Nov 2006, 07:07 PM
Wayne,
There is an on site auction with two Woodfast lathes up for grabs at the Kariong Juvenile Centre this Saturday (Nov 18). See Pickles On Site auctions for details

Gerard

Hardenfast
13th Nov 2006, 08:30 PM
You guys rock! Gerard - I'm onto it! Thanks! Checked out the Pickles web-site and I'm there on Saturday, baby. Guess I'll see you there? Kariong is about 3 mins from where I live, and they seem to have heaps of interesting goodies in the sale.

How does everyone seem to know about these things but me?

Had a look at the Omega web site Ern. They look great. A locally made product holds tremendous appeal to me, so if there's no joy at the auction I'll follow up for a quotation on the S1000.

I think I know where the Lumber Bunker is, Baxter - opposite Noble Holden as you drive in to Adcock Park, right? I'll call in to see Steve to get a lead on the CC Woodturners Club. Cheers!

Graeme, I also find my limitations are generally ability, not equipment, but I'm learning all the time.

Well done, gentlemen! Thanks.

SawDustSniffer
14th Nov 2006, 06:42 PM
I bought a second hand cheap lath , one of the one's with 2mm tin chuck housing , 40mm square tube chasie , and chuck that when you do it up tight the chuck tool wont come out or go on , I wont bag China coz it cost me AU$75
the chuck and tail stop move when tighning up , when tuning large timbers ( 300mm dia x 400 long ) the chasie worps back and forth , and starts walking around , so i clamped it to a 450mm I beam i had laying around ,
all that said and done , it works , it was enough to get me hooked on turning and now im ready to up grade to a $3000 lath ,

all though ive spent more $ on chisels and gouges a cheap lath is good enough to get some won spinning timber and learning to love making saw dust

as for sharpening chisels when turning , give "carbide inserts" ago on the end of a chisel , never have to sharpen them :-)

TTIT
14th Nov 2006, 09:13 PM
Hughie's mastery of WWW resources is clearly second to none.

May I modestly add the local Omega website:

http://www.omegastubbylathes.com/Front_Pagex.html

(and as some wag said, if you have to ask how much they are you can't afford it!).OK Ern, ya got me sucked in... What model have you got ? Is it as good as it looks? How much are they (ballpark figures! I think I can afford it)? Are they any good with small work? And anything else you can tell me about em'?. Thought they were some obsolete old thing - never seen the site before.:o

rona
14th Nov 2006, 10:12 PM
Hi,
I have spent the last three weeks trying to decide which lathe to buy!
With the Woodwork Show on in Melbourne, I thought this would be the go, so I
gave Carbatec a ring and to my surprise they were more than eager to do a deal.
Vicmark VL300EVCM was the final choice; they had one in stock for over four months and were keen to move it, so they offered that to me for over $500.00 off. (ended up at $4,300.00). Arrived safe and sound last week, so have installed it and will put it to use in the next couple of days. I have just been diagnoised with bone cancer to 95% of my body, so I have gone all out and not worried about the cost. I purchased almost another $2,000 worth of
bits and pieces last Friday and they gave me a good discount again. I would suggest that anyone wanting to purchase items give them a call!
Cheers,
Ron.

rsser
15th Nov 2006, 07:38 AM
OK Ern, ya got me sucked in... What model have you got ? Is it as good as it looks? How much are they (ballpark figures! I think I can afford it)? Are they any good with small work? And anything else you can tell me about em'?. Thought they were some obsolete old thing - never seen the site before.:o

Vern, for a rundown see

http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/showthread.php?p=357496&highlight=omega#post357496

I haven't done anything so small as a pen but can't see any prob.

Mine came 2nd hand and I can only recall some offhand comments about new prices from my turning teachers. Mentions of $7000 for the 1000 were in the air but the guys may have optioned them up.

The only significant diff btwn the 750 and 1000 that I can see is the swing.

Ron, best of luck with the Vicmarc. It'll prob keep you sane.

TTIT
15th Nov 2006, 08:48 AM
Vern, for a rundown see

http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/showthread.php?p=357496&highlight=omega#post357496

I haven't done anything so small as a pen but can't see any prob.

Mine came 2nd hand and I can only recall some offhand comments about new prices from my turning teachers. Mentions of $7000 for the 1000 were in the air but the guys may have optioned them up.

The only significant diff btwn the 750 and 1000 that I can see is the swing.

Ron, best of luck with the Vicmarc. It'll prob keep you sane.Thanks Ern. I like the features and the way it's set up - would suit my turning style very nicely. Might call them for a quote (unless you know of another used one on the market???);):D

rsser
15th Nov 2006, 11:59 AM
Only ever seen one Vern and I snapped it up!

Rob Caddaye is the boss down there and as I said they can be optioned to some degree.

Some web resources:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stubbygroup/
http://140.247.184.244/bin/view/stubby

Most are sold to the US as you'll see from those sites.

arose62
17th Nov 2006, 01:55 PM
I think I know where the Lumber Bunker is, Baxter - opposite Noble Holden as you drive in to Adcock Park, right?

I'll call in to see Steve to get a lead on the CC Woodturners Club. Cheers!


I'll give a thumbs-up to the Lumber Bunker - nice people, and keep you informed about what's going on with your orders.

Not the same for the CC Woodturners - I consider the joining fee my biggest waste of money related to woodturning. (But I think it was just because I was too young for them).

PM me, and I'll drop their newsletter in your letterbox on my way home from work at Gosford, so you have all the details. (They seem quite averse to the new-fangled idea of a website).

Cheers,
Andrew

Scouter_IM
29th Mar 2007, 01:49 PM
Wayne,
Like they said.
I inherited an old Kity lathe from my Dad and did a course with John Ewart at Trend Timbers. It became very apparent in the space of two days, that the little Kity would turn chessmen and lace bobbins but not much more. I settled on a Technatool Nova (the belt drive, not the electronic speed one) as a good compromise between price and functionality. A Supernova chuck and a bed extension and so far I haven't been limited by equipment, only by ability.
Cheers
Graeme

Hi Grame,
I also inherited an old Kity lathe which my father bought nearly 40 years ago. I quite like it for some stuff. What did you do with yours? I could use some assecories.
Ines