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Thread: Best lathe out there

  1. #1
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    Best lathe out there

    Those of you without the financial restraints most others struggle with, what would you recomend as a good, solid wood lathe and chuck without wasteful options.
    Ok, how about a budget of $3,000.

  2. #2
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    Sorry Bill,
    $3000 won't get you even close to "the best lathe out there".

    You can certainly buy a lathe, chuck, and some turning gouges for under 3k, but that would be a different title.

  3. #3
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    Ok, understood.

    What would be the best investment under 3k? 4k? 5k?

    No frills. Just a good solid machine.
    Last edited by Bill Jobe; 08-24-2016 at 2:29 AM.

  4. #4
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    The new Jet 18" over the bed for under $3,000 and Powermatic 3520b for under $4,000 on sale. That is as far as I go as I am a cast iron person.

  5. #5
    I love my Laguna Revo 1836. You may want to take a look at this review - http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...guna-Revo-1836

  6. #6
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    IMO, with a $3000 budget, the Jet 1642 for about $2300 leaves you $6-700 got accessories. Good solid lathe with 5 year warranty.

  7. #7
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    Definitely not within your 3k-5k budget but you said "best". Check out "Robust-American Beauty" lathe and talk to folks who own one.
    "When the horse is dead, GET OFF."

  8. The warranty period is longer for the Powermatic and Jet. They are both good lathes....I have turned on both numerous times. I owned the Grizzly G0698 18/47 and sold it to our club, it is still going strong, no issues for 7 years now. They upgraded that model with the G0733 18/47.

    I have the Grizzly G0766 22/42 in my shop now, and have put it through its paces with some heavy use for nearly a year. Not a single mechanical issue with my unit, and it is a horse of a lathe. Grizzly did upgrade the banjo to a much larger and beefier unit, but all the 0766's come with that upgrade now. There have been a couple who had to replace the speed control pot, but Grizzly took care of that. Mine has never had a problem. Would I recommend the G0766? You better believe it! At $1575.00, there is not a better value for a large lathe out there.....then you have the cash to get accessories.

    My G0766 performs superbly......power, features, size.....it has a lot going for it. My G0766 performs as well as any PM 3520b I have ever used.
    Remember, in a moments time, everything can change!

    Vision - not just seeing what is, but seeing what can be!




  9. #9
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    Hello Bill.

    You don't give much to go on. Best for what? What do you want to do with it? How much space do you have? Do you have good 220v power? Do you have fork lift access into your shop or have to carry everything down a flight of stairs?

    There are lots of capable lathes and almost any will work. Deciding on the perfect one is usually a matter of balancing the limitations. Some limitations are the swing, the bed length the size and weight, the horsepower, the controls, and always, the budget.

    A good lathe for someone who wants to make pens in an apartment might be useless for someone set on turning big green wood. You will be unhappy with a 16" lathe if you want to turn 20" platters. (Remember you can always turn miniatures on a huge lathe but you can't turn big things on a small lathe!)

    Whether an option is "wasteful" depends on whether you need or want it. Some expensive options, like a bed extension, might be unnecessary unless turning long things. Almost nobody that has used it thinks electronic variable speed is a wasteful option.

    Also, keep in mind that people will generally recommend what they have in their shop unless they are unhappy with it. In my shop I have a Powermatic 3520b with bed extension. It is a "perfect" lathe capable of turning "almost" anything. I have a couple of Jet 1642s. They are wonderful, one was my primary lathe for years. I also keep some Jet mini lathes. Hate to be without one if I want to demonstrate where I have to take a lathe with me or want to lend one out - excellent if space is a problem and you are happy making smaller things. There are many other great lathes that I can't possibly recommend since I have no experience with them.

    When budgeting, be sure to consider a good way to sharpen tools, even before buying a chuck. And I'm sure you know you can easily spend another 3-5K+ on lathe tools and accessories. I would hate to be without a bandsaw. And both electric and gas chainsaws. And...

    Setting up a turning shop is discussed fairly often in forums like this one. You might get good ideas from several recent threads if you want to do a little research. If you don't have time for research, few people I know are unhappy with a Powermatic 3520, even a well used "A" model. I have seen the 3520B model at turning schools and that's the one often supplied for the pros at symposiums.

    JKJ

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Robust has a new lathe at about that price point. http://www.turnrobust.com/lathe-overview/scout/

    Personally I had a Jet 1642 and it did all I wanted but I decided on a Robust Liberty and I'm a happy camper. IMO you can't beat Robust for an American made small shop product.

  11. #11
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    I am in the boat with the g0766 more bang for your buck. they got the bugs out now so it should be good to go.

  12. #12
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    I have no interest in turning pens....at this point.
    I would like a lathe that can turn big bowls and tall large diameter vases. Nothing less than 1 1/2 hp. I would prefer to stick with 110 but I have a son-in-law with an industrial electrician license.

    A couple of you mentioned a 14". I'm not sure I'd be happy with that after the new wears off. Don't get me wrong, I've been using a HF 10" and a 14" would feel great for sure. But I think I'd prefer something a little bigger.

    Thanks for all the great feedback so far. I'm willing to listen to as many opinions as I can get. I have the money for a high dollar piece but nether the room nor means of moving a big lathe around. There have been several suggestions that don't weigh a ton and I'm going to take my time and do lots of research before I buy. Also there's a turners club in my area. I think I'll get involved there, perhaps even be able to try out the machines you guys have suggested.

    Thanks again. Bill

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Blasic View Post
    The new Jet 18" over the bed for under $3,000 and Powermatic 3520b for under $4,000 on sale. That is as far as I go as I am a cast iron person.
    You mean you turn cast iron? I did that for most of the 34 years I spent in the shop. I ran CNCs for quite a number of years but the old Gisholt manual was my favorite of all machines I ran. Loved the angled indexing handles..and there was just something about the way they snapped in place when you'd index them hard.
    Although, the freedom to write my own programs on the CNCs was fun, too.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Chandler View Post
    The warranty period is longer for the Powermatic and Jet. They are both good lathes....I have turned on both numerous times. I owned the Grizzly G0698 18/47 and sold it to our club, it is still going strong, no issues for 7 years now. They upgraded that model with the G0733 18/47.

    I have the Grizzly G0766 22/42 in my shop now, and have put it through its paces with some heavy use for nearly a year. Not a single mechanical issue with my unit, and it is a horse of a lathe. Grizzly did upgrade the banjo to a much larger and beefier unit, but all the 0766's come with that upgrade now. There have been a couple who had to replace the speed control pot, but Grizzly took care of that. Mine has never had a problem. Would I recommend the G0766? You better believe it! At $1575.00, there is not a better value for a large lathe out there.....then you have the cash to get accessories.

    My G0766 performs superbly......power, features, size.....it has a lot going for it. My G0766 performs as well as any PM 3520b I have ever used.
    I will definitely give that one a close look. If I can get a good solid machine with that much swing for under 2k, there's no reason to spend more. And I lack a bandsaw so the Grizzly would leave me plenty of $s to get a solid saw as well.

    While I'm on the subject, what is a reasonably good band saw and at what price range considering the size bowls I want to turn?

  15. I have the Grizzly G0555LX 14" saw, which is the best 14" class saw I have ever used. I also have a big Jet 18" bandsaw as well. I use the 14" Grizz most of the time. With a good blade, and the riser block kit, it will cut most bowl blanks with ease. The LX has the cast iron wheels, but the regular 555 has aluminum cast wheels. I advise on the Cast iron wheels, more torque in the cut, and very smooth. Cost about $549
    Remember, in a moments time, everything can change!

    Vision - not just seeing what is, but seeing what can be!




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