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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Posts
    8

    Default New lathe, advice needed.

    Good Evening Gents, I am looking to buy a lathe to get into some wood turning. More specifically wood and resin. I haven't turned before and I really want to make a go of this so I am looking for a reasonable lathe to start with that will see me through for a fair while.
    I am looking at the following package deal, it seems reasonable, but I'd like some advice from those that have more experience than I.
    K021 - WL-20 Swivel Head Wood Lathe & Tooling Package Deal | Hare & Forbes Machineryhouse
    Basically its a Hare and Forbes HAFCO WL-20 with a few extras thrown in for around a grand... should I bite the bullet or run away!

    All advice and roastings greatly appreciated.

    Cheers
    Chris

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Rosslyn Park, Adelaide
    Posts
    166

    Default

    I don't know that particular lathe but it seems quite a reasonable buy and particularly with Tools and Scroll Chuck included at that that price.

    I think the 1 HP motor is important as is weight/stability.

    Personally I always prefer to buy second hand for the extra value, but it takes time and limits your choice, as well as potential risks.
    If you prefer to buy new, then this seems good value for the money.

    As a related aside, I visited our Botanic Gardens today and saw very intricate quality turnings on display that were done in the 1860's when I suspect the lathes and tools were fairly primitive, which reminded me that it is the person holding the tool, standing in front of the lathe, that makes the most difference.
    Unfortunately, that is where I let the quality of my gear down!

    Regards

    Bauldy

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Albury Well Just Outside
    Posts
    13,303

    Default

    When I wanted to get into turning I ended up with a second hand one that I had to restore to get running. I was not sure if I really wanted to get into wood turning.

    I am not saying that you should follow my path towards tuning but I think you would be better to get into a local turning club. That way you would have access to a lathe and do some turning. If you do not love it your expense is only the cost of the membership. If you love it, I am sorry but your expense could be massive, so be on the lookout for bargains that come up every now and then. No need to rush into anything you will not miss out.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Posts
    1,050

    Default

    We have that lathe, or an earlier incarnation of it at my Men's Shed, alright, but with some limitations.

    It runs a Reeves Drive, which in itself is not a problem. It is old technology and usually reliable but they do need a bit of maintenance, which is usually a belt change and a clean up. This is a Jet variable speed wood lathe with the covers removed YouTube

    One possible issue with this lathe is the minimum speed of 500 rpm, which is fine for small work and spindle work (stool or table legs) but can be a bit of an issue as you go forward and start to turn off balanced larger work. My preference is for a lathe with much lower possible speeds, my previous belt change lathe had a minimum of 178 rpm, which for bigger stuff was almost too fast. A minimum of 50-100 rpm is where most electronic variable speed lathes are these days, with many starting to work from zero revs. My current lathe has speeds starting at 50 rpm, which I have found to be very good, even with very heavy off balanced stock.

    Another issue, although not that great an issue, is the pressed metal frame. The lathe itself is built fairly well for its price point, but having a heavier frame is desirable for turning as you will find the lathe will be more stable, less prone to harmonic vibrations and so on. But it is not something that will stop you having a great turning experience.

    The package, as presented, is very appealing to someone in your position, the only thing missing is something to keep your chisels sharp, which is a must.

    The bed length is very good, you should be able to turn a bit over 1,000mm in length once you have a drive spur and live end in the tail stock. The swing over the bed will allow you to turn a 370mm bowl. I've helped someone turn a bowl of 350mm on the shed one.

    The best bit of advice I can give, is to find someone with a lathe and have a fiddle, or better yet, find a local to you turning club before you buy anything.

    Melbourne is a big place, if you give us your location, perhaps someone nearby could give you a yell, or we could direct you towards a local turning club.

    Mick.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Thanks guys for the responses. I've looked for local turning clubs, with no success. I live in Altona (west side of Melbourne.)
    I'm looking at this as a starting point, as I get better I could upgrade to something better. As far as other workshop equipment goes I am pretty well setup, bandsaw, tablesaw, grinder etc.
    I am looking at turning vases, bowls etc so not that fussed about a long bed length.
    Chris

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Once again thanks for the replies on this, I went away and thought about things for a while. Plus ended up with a new job, which has kept me way to busy...
    I lashed out and now have a Jet 1221VS sitting in the shed ready to play with, and I'm ordering an extension bed tomorrow. I managed to snag the last of carbatec's stock, as they are no longer bringing in Jet tools.
    Mick, your advice was invaluable, and really made me take stock of what I needed. Sorry, I haven't gotten around to replying to your last message.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Posts
    1,050

    Default

    Fantastic news, now you just need to start making shavings.

    Mick.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Loch Sport
    Posts
    64

    Default

    This may be of interest to you, I started woodturning with an old lathe and some how to books but found it hard going with lots of frustration and almost gave it away. It was suggested that I get some professional help so with advice I found that Neil (administrator on this forum) had a course happening at the time and I signed up and away I went. After this tuition I was on the way and then I heard of Vic Wood so signed up for a weekend with him. I must say these 2 guys set me up for what I do today, so I would recommend that if you can find the right people then it will save you much frustration and time and set you on the right track for your future in turning.
    Terry Keven: Retired Signwriter.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Prestons Sydney
    Posts
    5,253

    Default

    I owned this model for several years, design is good but the execution is rough. It shredded the first belt in no time, poor quality belt and rough castings. By and large if you dont mind a few hours fettling taking all the rough edges off etc. It would be a good lathe to begin with, the swivel head isnt much chop as it will loosen over time and the out board tool rest is useless as its far to flexible. I seriously modified mine in several places, but then I have extensive engineering background in design and manufacture, so its was a no brainer.
    But at the end for the day for the price its not so expensive and it will do very nicely for a beginner. Once you have had it for a while and get a feel for the process you will have a clearer idea of you need/want .
    Having said that, maybe you should seriously look at a second hand lathe, for the same money you could buy over time a far better lathe that will often come with tools etc. Because remember whatever you pay for the lathe that will be dwarfed by the cost of tools and ancillary gear and second hand will often get you much further along the path.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Adelaide Hills, South Australia
    Posts
    3,252

    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by hughie View Post

    ....seriously look at a second hand lathe, for the same money you could buy... a far better lathe that will often come with tools, etc.

    I agree with Hughie.

    Quality lathes rarely wear out.

    More often than not the secondhand lathe has come up for sale because it's the owner that has worn out...

    However, most would-be turners purchase their first lathe not wanting to spend too much in case it's not for them. But, if they are one of the ones who do take to it they soon realise they need a better lathe. So, both the less successful turner who is giving it away and the new keen woodturner are then selling their entry level lathes into a heavily discounted market. In hind sight the keen novice has paid a premium for an entry level lathe they want to move on from. It would have been more economical for them to have bought a secondhand quality lathe or a mid-range new lathe that has better resale value. Unfortunately hind sight only comes afterwards.

    There are several problems for the would-be turner going down the secondhand lathe pathway. The first is (understandably) their lack of expertise in selecting a lathe. The second is their apparent lack of patience in waiting for the right lathe to come up for sale, although we all suffer a bit from that. The price you pay for the discount you get with a secondhand lathe is the patience required to wait for the right one at the right price to come up.

    As others have pointed out, taking lessons from a very experienced turner or joining a turning club before you purchase anything is the way to overcome these two problems.

    • You will quickly get to find out if turning is for you.
    • It is likely to be the best money you will spend on woodturning.
    • It will save you much frustration and more than likely save you spending your money on the wrong things at the wrong time.
    • You will have access to expert advice on what lathe you might need for the type of turning you initially want to do.
    • You will be tapping into a turning network that may have lathes coming up for sale that come with trusted assessments.
    • You will also quickly find out about the other costs involved with woodturning so that you get the balance right in allocating your hard earned money to the best effect.

    I would have jumped at the chance to have had access to such a teacher or club when I began woodturning, but, unfortunately for me, neither of these options were available when I began.
    Stay sharp and stay safe!

    Neil



  12. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    767

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hughie View Post
    I owned this model for several years, design is good but the execution is rough. It shredded the first belt in no time, poor quality belt and rough castings. By and large if you dont mind a few hours fettling taking all the rough edges off etc. It would be a good lathe to begin with, the swivel head isnt much chop as it will loosen over time and the out board tool rest is useless as its far to flexible.
    I’m pretty sure you’re talking about the 1236 and not the 1221VS. The 1221VS doesn’t have a swivel head, and is in a different class quality wise than the 1236, which has plastic in places the better Jets have metal.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Adelaide
    Age
    63
    Posts
    50

    Default

    Hi cshacks.

    I wish you all the best with your Jet 1221VS. It should give you a pretty good run. I brought this lathe about a year ago and have been very happy with it. It's a quality unit. (Though it has just been relegated to a secondary lathe as I have udgraded again.) I actually like it too much to sell it.

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