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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019

    Question New lathe advice

    When I was a youngster, I wanted a lathe. Sadly, I got into IT instead. 30 years later I still want that lathe. But I need help in determining what I need. I've looked through quite a few of similar posts, but, well, thought I'd ask again.

    Basically I'm a beginner, but don't want to get the cheapest there is only to have to upgrade in a few months time. Also not too keen on package deals, as in most cases the 'quality' of items in the package aren't the best.

    So I need some help in working out what lathe to get, what chisels (brand) to get, and what other accessories I would need; eg chucks. Even what sharpening equipment.
    Of course I want the lathe to be able to do everything , spindle work and bowls. And ideally not be of some obscure brand that parts/accessories are hard to come by.
    And it would need to come with a stand.

    My budget is around $2000, don't want to go much above that for now.

    What I've come up with so far for the lathe is either:

    Carbatec WL-110P $1100 inc stand
    My concern here is min rpm is 500.

    Nova 1624-44-2 $1849 inc stand

    WL-20 $759 inc stand

    Any thoughts on the above would be appreciated, or other recommendations are most welcome.

    Thanks for any replies.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Caringbah, NSW


    My two bobs worth is join a club, try the club lathes, have a few lessons, talk to members about their lathes, look at quality second hand ones after you learn what to look for, and then get serious. Welcome to the addiction.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Paynesville victoria


    Joey, more than happy to help, Gary,s suggestion is a good one. BUT the varied questions you ask would I feel be best answered by a phone call, if you want, you can ring me on 0429060581 and ask as any questions as you like

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011


    I see you're in Melbourne....
    Another great option is to go to pops shed (Chirnside park) and do one of their introduction courses. Really helpful, dips your toe slightly in and you get to have a play with some machines.... Going down to a local club woukd also be perfect as the knowledge and experience around the club's is amazing, but if it's a little intimidating then pops introductory classes could be the way to go
    "All the gear and no idea"

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Melbourne, Australia.


    Gary H offers good advice, if there is a turning club near you, approach it and see what information you get there.

    Gabriel suggests Pop's Shed for their short course and the ability to actually try a lathe or two in their turning studio.

    The Carbatec WL-110P lathe and the H&F WL20 are both Reeve drive lathes, I would suggest these are not the greatest technology these days for variable speed. My Men's Shed has the earlier H&F unit and the drive system is alright, but it is always the last lathe left standing.

    See how a Reeves drive system works:


    The Nova 1624-44 is a very good lathe, I know as I had one for years, but you will soon be wishing for variable speed drive. My experience with this lathe and heavy(ish) bowl blanks, is that it is perfectly doable, but really variable speed at the touch of a finger is pretty much where it is at. I also had the bed extension and with that it becomes a really nice lathe for long spindle turning. The legs of the 1624-44 as sold, are alright, but a bit on the light side. Upgrading to cast iron legs is doable, but rather costly.

    You will also need to get the outboard attachment to utilise the swinging head to the maximum, it works quite well; this was mine.


    I myself went down the second hand route to figure out what I needed in a lathe. Joining a wood turning club was definitely the best thing I did, I had access to knowledge and machinery I could only wonder about. Roughly five years after buying my first lathe, I decided to purchase something else, more or less knowing what I required from a lathe.

    If you give us your approximate location, we may be able to direct you to local turning clubs.


  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    North Carolina, USA


    I also advise doing some turning before you buy anything. You may find you are strongly attracted to bowls, or the same to spindles, or to both. if bowls short, large swing lathes are most convenient. If long spindles, long bed with small swing. If both LARGE $$$$.

    Also, lathes are like cars, what fits one person may not fit another. Best to try a few before spending a lot on highly regarded lathe that just doesn't feel right. If you sell and buy the one that does feel right, you will lose 1/3 to 1/2 of your new price. Most serious turners will go through 2 - 4 lathes before finding the two that they really like.

    I also read of a person here who bought a complete outfit, did some turning, and was so frightened by the whole experience that he sold everything. Tiny percentage, but possible.
    So much timber, so little time.


  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Kyabram, Victoria, Australia


    As everyone has suggested, go along to a short course or club. Being in Melbourne, head to the timber and working with wood show, I think the Record stall are doing turning classes this year.

    And although nice to have, variable speed at the touch of a button isn't essential, especially on your first lathe.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013


    2 grand should get you a lot of lathe plus who knows what if you buy second hand.
    A lathe is a pretty hard thing to wear out.
    Seeing you are in Melbourne you should have a smorgasboard of second hand units to choose from.If you keep your eye on the classifieds it is surprising what can turn up, For example,
    Wood Lathe | Power Tools | Gumtree Australia Frankston Area - Seaford | 1208341963

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    These early Woodfast variable speed lathes are getting pretty old now.
    The belts are no longer available as far as I know.
    Fairly small capacity if you want to turn bowls.
    We have been given several from schools up here in Sydney as they’re no longer a practical unit.
    These were dumped by the men’s shad as they got better ones.
    Jimcracks for the rich and/or wealthy. (aka GKB '88)

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    Quote Originally Posted by artful bodger View Post
    2 grand should get you a lot of lathe plus who knows what if you buy second hand.
    That depends if you need to factor in decent dust extraction, plus maybe a chuck or two, plus, plus. . . . .

    I do agree with trying some turning before you buy via clubs, a friend etc.

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