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Thread: shopping for a larger lathe

  1. #1

    shopping for a larger lathe

    In the never ending vortex of lathe upgrades, I am always looking at something bigger. When I upgraded to my 16" nova 7-8 years ago, quickly learned that a 16" swing isn't going to produce me a 16" piece, because I need to fit the too rest under the piece... plus add in the fact that my started piece is rough shaped and needs to be rounded, my 16" lathe will do a about a 13" max. I would like to have the option to go bigger. I'm sure a 20" would work fine, but if I'm spending the money, I would want to go to a 24".

    The issue is that 24" lathes are expensive! A oneway, powermatic, or Robust are $6,000-$8,000. They next step under that is grizzly at about $4500 and finally the Laguna a few hundred cheaper then the grizzly. I look for used ones, but they are few and far between to be that size and in my driving radius.

    Are there other ones that I should be considering? I would plan to make large open forms, and not just bowls, so I need a long bed too.

    Thanks,
    Derek
    Not allowed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Lummi Island, WA
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    489
    There's also the VB lathes now made by Steiner, the Magma lathes (Austrian ?) and Vicmark...the bottom line is that going to 24" or larger swing is going to cost. One way to look at it is that after you've parted with that much cash, there is no where to go if you get the bug to 'go larger'. Nearly all the lathes in this category with the exception of the laguna/grizzly/Powermatic asian imports are basically custom made pieces of equipment. Not only do you not need to worry about going larger, but they are in general built like tanks. That's what you're paying for.
    I pulled the trigger on a Robust AB nearly 7 years ago. It's still my dream lathe. Best of all the price includes the best, most personal customer service found anywhere in any industry. It was a serious stretch at the time but has paid dividends ever since.
    If you can figure it out, just go for it. I doubt you'll be disappointed...and if you are you can generally unload it for about what you paid.
    Last edited by Jeffrey J Smith; 05-15-2019 at 8:16 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    San Diego, Ca
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    1,161
    If you are a professional turner and plan on doing a lot of 20 plus inch platters or bowls or architectural columns, then Oneway, Powermatic, Robust are all good choices.

    If you are not a professional but still plan to do a bunch of big things, then consider the Laguna or Griz G0800.

    If that is still above your budget, consider the Griz G0766. It'll do 22 x 42. I own one. Interestingly, I had a large 24 to 26" blank and contemplated making a large platter. But I would need to trim it to 22". Because of the form factor, the height of the banjo didn't enter into the equation. But then I thought about the practicality of having a 22" platter. I decided that it would be impractical. I ended up making a 17 or 18" platter (still large) plus a couple of other smaller pieces.

    I've read posts from professional production turners that the larger platters don't sell very quickly but that there is a bigger market for perhaps 10 to 12" bowls and platters.

    I actually have two banjos for my G0766. So, if I ever wanted to turn a large bowl or hollow form at the full capacity of my lathe (22"), I could locate the banjos at the ends of the piece and insert my long double-stemmed tool rest. That way the banjo would not be under the piece and taking up valuable space.

    When you eventually decide on what you're going to get, come back and share.

    A last thought - - YOLO (you only live once) - - go for the Powermatic or Robust. You'll probably never regret your decision.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    sykesville, maryland
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    262
    Also consider the bigger lathes with extensions, like the laguna. The drop-down extensions gives you 24+" of capacity off the end. You could do the same with others off the end using a floor or leg-mount tool rest. The G0766 gives you 22" and is the best bang for the buck, as is the G0800 at 24". But, if you have the money, Robust, Oneway, or Vicmarc will give you top-of-the-line performance and you'll never want for another.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Geiger makes some very serious lathes for turning. I’ve been eyeballing them for other purpose, but thought I’d mention.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coshocton Ohio
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    You will never regret purchasing a 24" swing lathe. I own the previous generation Laguna 24-36 lathe with 24" bed extension and swing away, which is comparable to the Grizzly G-800. Wonderful lathe.
    It was a very good deal prior to the tariffs, still not bad.
    Mine will be up for auction on June 1st. in Coshocton Ohio, as we have moved to Oregon.
    This was my 3rd lathe as I made the mistake of buying what I thought would be adequate the 2 previous times.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Cuero, Texas--Not too far from the third coast.
    Posts
    53
    I too like turning bigger things--and right that 14" and bigger don't move fast--still fun to make though.
    in my trek through the vortex I've owned ~8 lathes. Most all were a "step up" from the one before. One was an old iron Oliver that I got on a whim to refurb/sell. The only really new lathe I've bought was my Nova1624--that I still have. I watched CL and got what I thought was my "end" lathe-- a pristine Laguna 18/47. The variable speed is a really nice thing to have. After a year, I still watched CL and a Robust AB came up near me with some extras and my lovely bride let me pull the trigger on it. No more upgrades here.
    Last edited by David Hill; 05-16-2019 at 5:37 PM.
    Using Texas woods--especially Mesquite, the "Queen" of woods.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by carl mesaros View Post
    You will never regret purchasing a 24" swing lathe. I own the previous generation Laguna 24-36 lathe with 24" bed extension and swing away, which is comparable to the Grizzly G-800. Wonderful lathe.
    It was a very good deal prior to the tariffs, still not bad.
    Mine will be up for auction on June 1st. in Coshocton Ohio, as we have moved to Oregon.
    This was my 3rd lathe as I made the mistake of buying what I thought would be adequate the 2 previous times.
    Where are you auctioning it off through? Online or in person?
    Not allowed

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coshocton Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Voigt View Post
    Where are you auctioning it off through? Online or in person?
    It will be held in Coshocton ohio.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by carl mesaros View Post
    It will be held in Coshocton ohio.
    That’s about 4 hours away from me, a little far to travel with the hopes of it being in my price range. Why are you auctioning it instead of just selling it?
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coshocton Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Voigt View Post
    Thats about 4 hours away from me, a little far to travel with the hopes of it being in my price range. Why are you auctioning it instead of just selling it?
    I have a whole shop full of tools, just easier to sell by auction as we have already moved. Will be a sad day however.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Flower mound, Tx
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    If you’re serious about a high-end, large, heavy duty lathe, you should consider a VB36 from Steinert made in Germany. For turning large bowls and hollow forms, there is no comparison in terms of build, ergonomics, quietness, and stability.
    I have turned on a Oneway and a Robust. Both fine lathes, but turning hollow forms on a VB is a luxury experience.
    Due your own research, compare shaft sizes and builds. The VB’s bearing system is similar to a turbine engine. The massive shaft rides in a micro film of oil. When the lathe is running, it is nearly silent. The offset design of the bed allows unrestricted access for hollowing. I also like that there is not the typical steel hollow tube that resonates sound to (for me) uncomfortable levels when banging out large chainsawed logs.

  13. #13
    I’ve only see the vb36 as a bowl lathe. Never considered it for hollowing. That is a mountain of a lathe
    Not allowed

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Geiger makes some very serious lathes for turning. I’ve been eyeballing them for other purpose, but thought I’d mention.
    Don Geiger is a dealer for Robust lathes. He's not the manufacturer.
    Bill

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Boehme View Post
    Don Geiger is a dealer for Robust lathes. He's not the manufacturer.
    I think Brian was talking about Geiger the Lathe produced in Germany.

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