View Full Version : Why do Oneway lathes cost so much???

Michael Ballent
04-10-2004, 3:12 AM
I have been researching lathes quite a bit... I feel the dark side pulling on me... I look at the various manufacturers and there is such a difference in price :confused: Like the Oneway 2036 costs $4500 but you can get a Powermatic 3520 for about $2500... both 2hp both 20" swing. I just do not understand why such a price difference. For the $2K difference you can get a boat load of accessories and still come out ahead. Heck 300 bucks more and you can have a Stubby S750 with much more swing. Is the Oneway that much better of a machine or is it the name that you are paying for... Anyone out there turn on either/both machines can you tell the difference. I do not want to start a brand war just curious.


Richard Allen
04-10-2004, 7:33 AM
While it is good to ask questions it is better to try out the lathes. Attend a meeting of your local woodturning club . Looks like:

Arizona Woodturners Association
<blockquote>Serving: Metro Phoenix
Meeting Date: 3rd Saturday
Chapter Web Site: http://azwoodturners.org
Tim Wadley
1295 N Ash #825
Gilbert, AZ 85233

Is the club to visit. Give Tim a call and see what he thinks about your quest for a lathe. There is a very good chance that you can talk owners of many lathes and arange to tryout the lathes on your short list. There are a lot of other benifits to attending a club meeting.

I wonder why you selected the 2 hp 2036 instead of the 3hp 2436 as the represenative high end Oneway.


Chuck Wintle
04-10-2004, 8:14 AM
The Oneway, if i am not mistaken, are manufactured in North America hnece the price of $4500. Anything Asian will be much cheaper.

Jim Becker
04-10-2004, 8:53 AM
OneWay and the other "high end" lathes are all made to order which is a somewhat labor intensive process. That's different than the machines that come off a line, such as the Jet, Delta and PM products. That doesn't mean the latter are "bad"...the PM3520A is a very well built and designed machine, for example. But it also only comes "one way" :D as opposed to OneWay, which offers you the ability to buy the machine configued exactly the way you want it; short or long bed, swing, motor horsepower, bed extensions or outboard support, etc., etc. When you buy a OneWay or Poolewood or Stubby or Nichols, etc., it is likely that the machine was made for you, or comes from a small inventory that the representative put out his/her own money to stock. John Jordan happened to have a Stubby available when I called so I didn't have to wait, but in most cases, when you buy a lathe in this class, you will wait 4-12 weeks to receive it.

Greg Heppeard
04-10-2004, 9:27 AM
Oneway lathes are built in Canada. Powermatic lathes are built in Asia. Powermatic is mass produced and shipped in quantity, therefore less cost to import. Oneway lathes are built one at a time for the customer, when you order your lathe, they start to build it from parts on hand. Oneway lathes take up to 3 or 4 months for delivery, where as Powermatic should only take 2 or 3 weeks. I've dealt with both from the dealers standpoint and the Powermatic is a good lathe but is has limited length expansion, the Oneway can be expanded to turn a telephone pole if you wanted. All the points that Jim makes are true.

Steven Wilson
04-10-2004, 3:55 PM
I have a Oneway 2436 and have turned on a Powermatic 3520A and Vicmark EL300, and have seen the Stuby 750 up close. First off they are all fine lathes but they all have different strengths and weeknesses. The Stuby is a different animal and gets it's large swing by breaking open the bed; not my cup of tea but the Stuby is a great unit for tight spaces. The Vicmark and Oneway have a couple of features that are very similar (massive head stock bearings and tail stock) and the point that made me choose the Oneway over the Vicmark was availability, flexability (in configuring it), and shipping costs (the shipping on my Oneway was included in the price). Now, the difference between the Oneway and the Powermatic. Hmmmm, the Oneway is 200lbs heavier than the Powermatic. The weight difference shows up in the bed material, tailstock and headstock assemblies, and banjo. The bed assembly on the Oneway is massive, if you see one next to a Powermatic it will dwarf it, the bed is huge. Also take a look at the two tailstock assemblies. The tailstock on the Oneway only accepts MT#3 fittings, overall it's just much more massive than the Powermatic. Not to say the tailstock on the Powermatic is small, it's just the Oneway is very much more massive. Lift the two; you'll see !!! On to the headstock. The Powermatics headstock slides which is one way of having a shortbed and longbed lathe in one, the problem is registration. The Oneway factory mounts the headstock, shims it if needed, then unmounts the headstock and ships it. When you assemble the lathe the headstock and tailstock match dead on and if they don't you can adjust this. You really can't adjust the headstock/tailstock alignment on the Powermatic; many lathes are like this, it's just that the design of the Oneway allows the headstock to be precisely aligned if needed.

The sliding headstock of the Powermatic does have one nice feature, it keeps the space requirements of the lathe down if you often turn off the end. On my Oneway I added the short extension and another banjo to the outboard part of the lathe. This increases my room requirements but it does allow me to use the tailstock while roughing and then I can unscrew the chuck or faceplate, mount it outboard, and then finish turning on basically a short bed lathe.

Finally the controls. The pendant on the Oneway is a very nice feature, you just move the pendant to a position you're comfortable with and get on with turning. I really like the moveable pendant.

So why the price difference? Labor, steel content, engineering, components, they all have an effect on price. Yes the Oneway is pricier but it isn't a "name thing", there are legitimate reasons why its more expensive than the Powermatic 3420A. See the two lathes up close and you'll know why. Having said that, the Powermatic is a fine lathe and if that's what you have the bucks for then get it.

Michael Ballent
04-10-2004, 9:54 PM
Thanks for the information.. when I get closer to actually buy a lathe I will go and visit the group...

I chose the 2036 as a comparison because the specs are closer... as far as swing and bed length, it was a closer oranges to oranges comparison and the HP rating was the "same". That was the only reason.

Michael Ballent
04-10-2004, 10:01 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful response. Again I was not intending to do any bashing I just wanted to know what was the differences between the two and your explanation did the trick.


Tim Wagner
04-25-2008, 8:56 PM
don't forget, david marks has one and endoses it. so that could have a bit to do with price also. Kind of like getting a haircut in beverly hills for 4 grand. just to use as an example.

I actualy did a search on the 2436, and this thread was second in the search results for "0ne way 2436" without quotes.


Jim Becker
04-25-2008, 9:41 PM
Tim, when you examine the construction of a premium (and custom) lathe, you'll be able to see many differences from even the best mass produced products. OneWay was one of the pioneers in the premium space and that's also why you'll see so many of them in well known folks' shops. I personally don't fine the big OneWay comfortable for the way I turn (the reason I bought a Stubby 750 for similar money back in 2004), but I can tell you that OneWay is not overcharging for what is essentially a custom made product. Their customer service is also outstanding. (I did own a smaller OneWay machine prior to buying the Stubby and it was an outstanding product)

"Gary Brewer"
04-25-2008, 10:41 PM
Hi Mike: I was just curious where you got the $4500 figure for a Oneway 2036? I just checked Highland Hardware and it is listed there for $5820 plus freight? Is there some cheap source for Oneways that you know? Just wondering

Matt Hutchinson
04-25-2008, 11:13 PM
From the standpoint of length, the Powermatic 3250 CAN have infinite bed lengths added. At least that is what I have seen on a certain pro turner's site.


Ken Fitzgerald
04-26-2008, 6:49 AM
Hi Mike: I was just curious where you got the $4500 figure for a Oneway 2036? I just checked Highland Hardware and it is listed there for $5820 plus freight? Is there some cheap source for Oneways that you know? Just wondering


This thread was started over 4 years ago. I doubt you can get a Oneway for the same price today.

Frank Drew
04-26-2008, 6:07 PM
But the Powermatic is still under three grand, isn't it ($2750 or something, right?)

Basically, any well-made lathe that let me turn faceplate work outboard would be swell. I so HATE turning bowls inboard.

Is the Oneway's left hand (outboard) spindle threaded the same as the inboard spindle?

Andy Hoyt
04-26-2008, 6:12 PM
Is the Oneway's left hand (outboard) spindle threaded the same as the inboard spindle? Yup, sure is.

Steven Wilson
04-26-2008, 9:00 PM
Yep, you just run in reverse. I like to run the Oneway multiextension outboard with another banjo. That let's me use the tailstock on the inboard side for roughing out bowls and then I just move the piece (still on the chuck) to the outboard side to finish up. The control stock and light stock (lathe light an aftermarket product, very cool for the Oneway, Powermatic, and a few others) move around freely for working outboard.

Jim Becker
04-26-2008, 9:31 PM
I so HATE turning bowls inboard.

If you don't do long spindles, you could do like I did and buy a Stubby. It's designed to be able to turn large things inboard...up to 30", in fact. And you can position your body in ways you cannot do with the big OneWay without spending all that extra money on an outboard setup.

Greg Savage
04-27-2008, 8:20 AM
But the Powermatic is still under three grand, isn't it ($2750 or something, right?)

I know that the price of a Oneway is the point of this thread, but I'd rather buy from a family owned, North American Company. Oneway's customer service is superb as are their machines and tooling.

Basically, any well-made lathe that let me turn faceplate work outboard would be swell. I so HATE turning bowls inboard.

If you have to turn over a bed, ride it like a horse! Ellsworth does! Oneway's design does allow you to turn out board with a counter-clockwise rotation using the same spindle threads.....motor is direction is reversed.

Frank Drew
04-27-2008, 9:00 AM
Thanks for the answers, everyone. I asked about the threading because both Woodfast and General, even after offering reversing controls as standard, continued to have different threading (L.H., and size) on their outboard spindles, which struck me as simply dumb. (This might be old news and no longer current; I don't know if they've by now gotten with the program and thread both inboard and outboard the same.)

Thanks for the advice on the Stubby, Jim; I'm aware of them but really don't know much about them yet.

Greg, I may share your sentiments about buying relatively local, and from a small outfit rather than a faceless international company, but the price differences are significant, and I say that as someone who made custom furniture for over twenty years and understands how small runs or one-offs are always much more expensive than mass production.

Steven Wilson
04-27-2008, 9:50 AM
Jim, there are a couple of ways of turning outboard on the Oneway; use an outboard tool rest (like the old Powermatic stand), use the Multiextension, or buy the rather expensive outboard extension. I looked into the outboard extension but Oneway recommended against it unless I was going to consistantly turn large bowls on it. My outboard needs are more modest so I chose the multiextension and picked up an outboard stand on Ebay a few years back. The stand let's me turn a 7' diameter table top, not that I've tried that, 4' was enough of a pucker factor for me. The multi extension and another banjo was around $600 at the time I bought my lathe and besides being a nice setup for turning outboard it's also handy for gental curves on long spindles. The multiextension can be mounted inboard which extends the spindle turning capacity of the lathe by 17". Having a second banjo inboard allows the use of very long tool rests.