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Thread: Lathe and bowl question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Oconomowoc, WI

    Lathe and bowl question

    As you can see, I am new to this forum. I only discovered SMC a few days ago. I usually just browse and read other threads over on Woodnet or BT3central but I've been really impressed with what I've seen on this forum.
    Quick background: I've been turning pens and bottle stoppers for about two years. Started making bowls this past November, just in time for Xmas. Turning on a Jet Mini (non-vs).
    I love the bowl turning and want to upgrade to a full size lathe with electronic variable speed to turn bowls bigger than 10". I also want this purchase to be my last lathe. Looking to spend as high as 2k, or thereabouts. I've been eyeing the Jet 1642 EVS. Not sure about the sliding headstock but I have enough room that I could work with that if that is the route I go.
    So first question - what would be your pick of a lathe for around 2k?
    Second question: I have a few bowl blanks in the vincinity of 20" round, courtesy of the friendly wooded area behind my house. What I am curious about is when I turn it, it will have to be outboard turning assuming I get lathe with only 16 or 18 inch turning over the bed capacity, do you true-up the bottom of the bowl to chuck it up after it has dried?? Since you can't true it up between centers, I'm all confused. I've yet to see or read anything to give me direction.
    I hope this question makes sense. Forgive if not, or if it is dumb question.


    ps - I had no knowledge of bowl turning; Ordered video from Bill Grumbine; Watched video; Turned 5 out of 6 bowls (one exploded on the lathe). In other words - the video is that darn good. Took a no-nothing about it and turned me into an amateur bowl turner. Thanks Bill!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    East of the Mississippi
    Welcome to the Creek. You won't find a better place to hang anywhere! I can't help you with a lathe choice but I think you will be led toward the PM as thats what most of the "Big" turners seem to use. Grizzly has a new 20" out for about $1500 but I don't know anything about it but I think it would be worth a look.

  3. #3
    I'm not experienced enough to give you any insights on your upcoming purchase decision. But I can speak to your choice of Hangouts. Welcome to the Creek Jason! Pull up a chair and sit a spell!
    "There's nothing wrong with Quiet" ` Jeremiah Johnson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Arlington, Texas
    The PowerMatic 3520 is a great machine for the money. If you can still find a 3520A then it will be just a little over $2K. You will need 240v current. It has a 2 HP reversable variable speed motor. The sliding head is a very nice feature, especially if you want to make bowl. It lets you get to the end of lathe without having to lean over to preform any hollowing. Good luck in your search.
    Much Work Remains To Be Done Before We Can Announce Our Total Failure to Make Any Progress

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Benton Falls, Maine
    I'll second the vote for the PM 3520 A. Do it, and don't look back.

    And all your questions will be answered when you watch Bill's dvd.

    And Welcome!!
    Only the Blue Roads

  6. #6
    Hi Jason,

    I'm like you I hang out and read the posts and learn all I can cause its a good place to do it. I've been turning for a few years. I watch and see what most are buying and what most have. I see more PM's (powermatics)bought. I also see or hear alot of Grizzlies that go back for repairs, Although the newone for 1500.00 seems good so far but its only been on the market about a month. I would give that one time to prove its self. You can never go wrong with Jet or Oneway. The PM 3520B will run about 2789.00

    Now to answer the second part of your question. How do you ruff out something to fit it on to a lathe?

    I turn on a 16" swing Delta. So on the 20 stock I take my protractor out and measure 7" from the pointy end to the pencil then I draw a big circle on the flat side of the wood (where the pith use to be). I then take that to my 18" bandsaw and cut out a blank. The protractor already marked my center so I take that to the lathe and set it between two centers and go.
    I hope that helped

    Good luck in your search I'll be doing the same thing in a year or two.

    Still burning and turning
    the candle from both ends.

  7. #7
    One more vote for the PM 3520A. Add just a little more $ to your budget now and you'll be Andy said, don't look back!
    Welcome aboard.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Dayton, TX
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Burns
    Welcome to the Creek. You won't find a better place to hang anywhere! I can't help you with a lathe choice but I think you will be led toward the PM as thats what most of the "Big" turners seem to use. Grizzly has a new 20" out for about $1500 but I don't know anything about it but I think it would be worth a look.
    I own several Grizzly tools and am very happy with them, so this is not a Gizzly bash. Being a Grizzly 1495 (lathe) owner, I just looked at this new one and there are a couple of things to think about. The new one like mine starts at 500 rpm. Not sure I'd want to start off a 15" to 20" sixty lb. chunk of wood at that speed I can't tell from the picture, but it looks like it has the same problem as mine having a short banjo. My Grizzly is the 14" swing, but the banjo only allows a 9" swing. It has outboard turning capabilities, but you have to think about double cost on faceplates and chucks. You can buy inserts that are interchangable on the chucks, but having done it once, to me it wouldn't be worth it. The shipping weight is 633 lbs but the machine is only 484 lbs, so you would have to add a bunch of weight if roughing out a big bowl.

    I now have the PM 3520A for $2299 at Amazon. I like it very much with the 0-3000 rpms and the long heavy duty banjo.

    Oh, and welcome to the Creek Jason.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Houston, Texas
    Jason, welcome to the creek. Like Travis and Ernie, I am also a 3520 fan, having moved up to it from a Jet 1442. Ernie nailed it about speed. You can really walk your lathe when you start a large blank that is only slightly our of balance at 4-500 rpm. No one needs that kind of excitement. You are also lucky to get the "cleaned up" Ernie, a month ago he looked like Santa Clause.
    Good, Fast, Cheap--Pick two.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Dayton, TX
    [QUOTE=Cecil Arnold You are also lucky to get the "cleaned up" Ernie, a month ago he looked like Santa Clause.[/QUOTE]

    Heeeeeey... I am Santa Clause. I just have a full skin mask on.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Yorktown, Va

    turning bowls + lathe recommendation

    If you really want that lathe purchase to be you last I would vote for the Powermatic. To turn large bowls: First rough turn them wet, leave the walls about 1" thick come back in about 6 mo to a year and finish after storing the rough blank in a dry place. I store them in my outside work shop and bring them in the house about a month before turning. To get the bottom perfectly flat isn't necessary if you use a face plate and screw the blank on securely. I have a large outboard faceplate that has about 16 holes in it for screws and the holes are angled toward the center of the blank, unfortunately, I don't know where it came from, but a big faceplate with lot of holes and big screws should work - leave enough scrap at the bottom of the bowl to cut if off the blank with a parting tool when done. I'm not sure I completely understood your question, but hope this helps.

    Trying to dry the entire blank before turning is probably going to get you a cracked blank.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Gainesville, Florida
    Welcome to the Creek Jason. It is always good to have another cheesehead with us. I'm a transplant from Waukesha and still get back at least once a year. We had some friends down over New Years and went to the Capital One Bowl. How 'bout dem Badgers!!

    I just bought a 3520A to replace an entry level lathe. I can't begin to tell you the difference it makes. I was working on it again earlier this evening and it is an absolute joy to use. I bought mine from Amazon for $2300 delivered but I think they are currently out of stock. You may have to hunt for one. It is very similar to the Jet 1642 just much more massive.

    I put a 40 pound or so 18" bowl blank of very punky southern Live Oak on it just after I bought it. That was before I built the ballast box and added another 150 pounds to the 650 or so the lathe weighs by itself. I didn't think I would like the safety cage that comes with the lathe but I sure learned to love it when I started spinning that monster. The lathe worked perfectly and as long as I kept the speed low it didn't walk a bit. Once I had the blank completely rounded off I could spin it about as fast as I wanted with no problem. Since it was such a large diameter, I didn't need to spin it very fast to get the edge speed where I wanted it. I did, however, end up soaked from all the water in the wood. I think Powermatic should add a snorkel to its safety equipment for turning wet wood.

    You can do a search for "Poermatic 3520A" and you will find a wealth of threads on the topic. A couple are mine and you'll see that I was on the fence like you are about the 3520A or the 1642. I'm glad I listened to my fellow Creekers and bought the Powermatic.
    Kent Cori

    Half a bubble off plumb

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Eastern Shore of Virginia
    Jason, I have not read all the replies so forgive me if someone has already answered your question. Use a faceplate, turn the bottom and your tenon, remove the faceplate and mount the tenon in your chuck to complete the bowl. Leave the dimple in the bottom of your tenon from the tailstock. It will help you align the bowl when you reverse it the final time, using a friction chuck, vacuum or whatever, to turn off the tenon and finish the bottom.
    PM is a good lathe. I happen to have a Nova DVR.

    Oh yeah...welcome to the Creek!

  14. Welcome! And here's another vote for the PM... but it's the only lathe I've turned on, so I have limited experience. But I don't see me buying another one for a long time...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    South Alabama
    I think everyone missed your question about outboard turning, or at least hit around it.
    The only 2 ways i could see to do this would be to use a decent sized forsner bit and put a spot on it you could get your chuck expanded into or just screw to a face plate. You could possibly screw it to a faceplate and then turn your tendon on the oposite side then reverse it also. I have been scared to try any outboard turning so far. Blanks that big Worry me I am sticking to blanks under 30 pounds for the time being.
    I have been tempted to try glueing up a nice platter to try outboard work on but have not tried so far.

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