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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
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    69
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    259

    Default Considering buying a Woodfast Australian made lathe

    As a newcomer to woodturning, I'm considering purchasing an Australian made lathe and exploring the possibility of buying a "good oldie" for my first lathe. Having just refurbished a 24 inch Italian bandsaw - refurbishing a lathe is not a big issue - providing parts can be found eg bearings.

    Woodfast appear to have made some excellent lathes in the past and are well regarded, but finding out which models are the pick, even which models Woodfast produced is a challenge.

    (And yes a used Vicmarc is even more desirable - but much harder to find. If someone wants to sell their VL200 at a good price please let me know!)

    I notice the the Woodfast website seems to avoid the rich history of the company and focuses pretty much on the new Asian imports that do not seem to favour particularly well in reviews - see last edition of Australian Wood Review on midi lathes.

    For people trying to discover some Woodfast product history it's hard to find any information at all on previous wood lathes.

    Yes I know it would be easier to just buy a new Teknatool, Woodfast or Jet and these modern lathes seem good value for money on the surface... but I have discovered that older machines can provide more substance, build quality and ultimately woodworking satisfaction - even if some hard work is required to restore their former glory.

    I would interested if this forum could advise which Woodfast lathes were the pick for general purpose turning, ie a bit of spindle turning , the occasional bowl and their specification and availability of spare parts.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    Grovedale, Victoria Australia
    Posts
    3,800

    Default

    The older Woodfasts and Vicmarcs are well worth a look at

    They dont come up too often and generally get snapped up quickly.

    Some seem to be missing tailstocks and banjos.

    Other parts are generally available, belts bearings etc

    You dont find any disgruntled owners
    Jim Carroll
    One Good Turn Deserves Another. CWS, Vicmarc, Robert Sorby, Woodcut, Tormek, Woodfast
    Are you a registered member? Why not? click here to register. It's free and only takes 37 seconds!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Avoca Victoria
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    10,502

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Carroll View Post
    The older Woodfasts and Vicmarcs are well worth a look at

    They dont come up too often and generally get snapped up quickly.

    Some seem to be missing tailstocks and banjos.

    Other parts are generally available, belts bearings etc

    You dont find any disgruntled owners
    Hi Jim, thanks for the encouragement!

    I just saw the post from Groggy earlier this year of a beautifully reconditioned Woodfast lathe - not sure if it's still available(!)

    Can you recommend specific models, eg mc 908 or were they all equally "desirable"?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    Grovedale, Victoria Australia
    Posts
    3,800

    Default

    All equal

    If it is still available it will be at Get Woodworking in Williamstown

    Maybe Greg can answer that question
    Jim Carroll
    One Good Turn Deserves Another. CWS, Vicmarc, Robert Sorby, Woodcut, Tormek, Woodfast
    Are you a registered member? Why not? click here to register. It's free and only takes 37 seconds!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    2,269

    Default

    =warmtone;lathes.
    Yes I know it would be easier to just buy a new Teknatool, Woodfast or Jet and these modern lathes seem good value for money on the surface... but I have discovered that older machines can provide more substance, build quality and ultimately woodworking satisfaction - even if some hard work is required to restore their former glory.
    I absolutely agree with the above. I bought a not much used but rusty 20 inch swing, short bed 1995 Woodfast with Leeson variable speed drive last year for $850 US. I make bowls.

    I am absolutely thrilled with it. Heavy, stable, easy to operate. I also have a 350mm swing German Hegner which cost more than the Woodfast, The headstock and motor are fine, but it is not as stable, the square tube bed flexes and rings like a bell, controls not as convenient.

    Even if you have to do some work on a Woodfast, you will have much more lathe for your money than any new Asian lathe.
    So much timber, so little time.

    Paul

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northern Sydney
    Age
    44
    Posts
    2,764

    Default

    I bought an old Vicmarc VL200 (belt change one), and I couldn't be happier wuith the quality and accuracy of it. you're right though, they don't come up often and they aren't usually very cheap...

    I'd recommend and old Vicmarc or Woodfast over a newer cheaper lathe pretty much any time.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Victoria
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    3,191

    Default

    If my memory serves me right, mine is a 1964 model. They do turn up usually ex-tech school machines. You can't go far wrong with an old Woodfast.
    Cheers,
    Jim

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Melbourne
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    69
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbur View Post
    If my memory serves me right, mine is a 1964 model. They do turn up usually ex-tech school machines. You can't go far wrong with an old Woodfast.
    Cheers,
    Jim
    Hi Jim and others who have responded to this post. Thanks for the encouragement - I have just purchased a Woodfast MC908 on eBay (deceased estate). It needs a bit of TLC but is basically sound. Happy to update the post once I have the machine home.

    My next challenge is figuring out how I transport the beast from Caringbah NSW to Ivanhoe - Melbourne. I may end up driving up and transporting in the back of my Landcruser partially dismantled.

    Any suggestions for cheap interstate transport?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Victoria
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    Default

    If you need a manual I have a pdf version.
    Cheers,
    Jim

  11. #11
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    Jun 2004
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    Melbourne
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbur View Post
    If you need a manual I have a pdf version.
    Cheers,
    Jim
    Hi Jim, yes a manual would be most appreciated. I need to quickly get a handle on dimensions for transportation.

    I understand this is a 98 model

    To avoid towing a trailer from Melbourne to Sydney and back (Caringbah)) I am trying to figure out whether I can actually fit this lathe into the back of my 80 series Landcruiser with back seats removed?

    To facilitate this I was thinking of removing the bed from the lathe frame to make it easier to load - without special lifting gear.

    Any suggestions re logistics for transport appreciated!

    I plan to head off tomorrow
    Last edited by warmtone; 24th Apr 2011 at 07:52 PM. Reason: Add date

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Victoria
    Posts
    3,191

    Default

    You can take the headstock, tailstock etc off the bed as well as taking the bed from the stand. The manual isn't marvellous definition but is much better than nothing. Pm me an email address and I'll forward it on.
    Enjoy the trip
    Cheers,
    Jim

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    2,269

    Default

    I brought my short bed Woodfast 410 home by taking off tailstock and banjo. Then 6 bolts for the headstock & bed, then rolled full size cabinet with motor into back of van.

    At home I had a two wheels dolly and used that for the headstock and bed. I secured the motor in the cabinet and slid it down two timbers on to the street. I put down cardboard on the sidewalk and rolled it end for end onto the grass, then continued to the back yard.

    The headstock and longer bed may be too much for one person to handle, The headstock should separate and go back in the same place without difficulty.

    I think you will be most pleased with your lathe.
    So much timber, so little time.

    Paul

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Langwarrin
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Hi I have just purchased a woodfast lathe model number M408H. Would love to hear from anyone with information on this model. Requires a little work but is generally in good condition

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    123

    Default

    I have an M408S and love it. Came with a 3phase motor. Hooked it up to a VFD I already had and I have a variable speed lathe.
    Hasnít needed any work as yet. Brilliant machines

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