Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 51

Thread: Best Full-Sized Lathe / Upgrade Help

  1. #1

    Best Full-Sized Lathe / Upgrade Help

    I'd like to ask the forum for help researching and deciding on a full-sized lathe.

    The best unit for me within my budget of $4500. I'm a fairly new turner, retired at 50yrs old, and have decided to invest in woodturning as my primary hobby moving forward. I love it! The reason I say "best unit for me" is I also have a significant back issue which is a factor in deciding on some of the features I think I'll need. A swing-away tail stock or similar feature is one I feel strongly about. While in 5 yrs I may have the funds to move to the top of the class (Robust), I don't think I can make that happen within the next couple of years and am already bogging down and outgrowing my Laguna 1216, which I really do like. So, please help give me some experience and perspective on what might be the best choice and why.

    I was very tempted by the new Rikon at it's price point and capacity, but think being able to work off the end of the lathe (sliding or pivoting headstock) could make things more physically enjoyable for me. Outboard turning similarly could accomplish the same task. How much are folks using outboard turning or working off the end of the lathe regularly? I enjoy bowls and platters and have access to any size lumber (capacity?) in my area and like to turn green wood (steel beds?). I don't plan a need to do long spindle work.

    The Powermatic 3520c seems like a reliable, hard to find fault with machine in this price range, and, a somewhat easy choice based on my reading/research, but I want to explore all the options and learn from you folks. I really like the look of the Laguna machines but are they really only a 1yr warranty? Is that a deal-breaker? Seems everything else it has going for it. The Harvey has a strange servo motor I know nothing about. If doing coring or hollowing is a 3HP choice leg up over the Powermatic? I haven't turned on any of these other machines and am sure there are some alternative I haven't yet considered. I hear Powermatic resale value is good. The used market is dry as a bone in my area (Portland/Vancouver, WA). Thanks in advance.

    Laguna 2436
    $3900
    3HP, sliding headstock, steel beds, outboard turning, 1yr warranty, swing away tailstock


    Rikon 70-3040 $3400 (on sale now)
    3HP, 5yr warranty
    No sliding headstock, no outboard turning, unproven, no swing away tailstock.


    Powermatic 3520c $4000~$4500
    2hp, sliding headstock, 5yr warranty, proven workhorse/reliable, swing-away tailstock


    Harvey T60 $3800
    Sliding headstock, relative unknown to me, swing away tailstock


    ------
    Grizzly G0800 - not making anymore, recent reports of poor shipping/damaged machine(s)
    Jet 1840 $2700, few features, am I missing something?
    -------
    Out of price range:
    Robust American Beauty, etc ($6800+), Oneway, Vicmarc.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    sykesville, maryland
    Posts
    683
    The safe bet is the Powermatic.

    But that Harvey sure is a beauty. A lot of features for the money. I wish several would buy it and report back on the performance of that servo motor. As far as I know Harvey is the only one using a Servo. BTW, the G0800 is basically the same lathe as the Harvey except with it had a 3HP induction motor rather than a servo motor. And as I understand it, Harvey makes the Powermatic lathes.

    The Rikon is an interesting space saver, but I think the lack of a sliding headstock would keep me from buying it. Still a pretty nice lathe.

    The Lagunas are kind of hit or miss on quality control and customer support. A nice lathe if you get one of the good ones. I've recently read there is a long backlog to get one too. Not sure if that's all models or not.

    I thought there was a Vicmarc in the $4k range. No?

    Have you looked at Record?

  3. #3
    We just went through this thought process regarding a lathe for our retirement community's woodworking shop. We'd settled on a Powermatic 3520C after considering Robust (out of our budget), Laguna and Grizzly. But, we then started thinking about whether we really needed that full 35" spindle to spindle turning distance. After consideration, we've ordered a Powermatic 2020B. It has the same swing as the 3520C at 20", the same massive cast iron bed, the same cast iron legs, and nearly the same weight at 559lbs. Overall, its the same lathe as the 3520, just shorter from spindle to spindle. We took the $800 savings and invested in some good quality chucks and turning tools.

    Good luck in your search.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    sykesville, maryland
    Posts
    683
    Oh, and Oliver has a new lathe in this price range.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Gresham, Oregon
    Posts
    400
    Iím thinking powermatic. I have been extremely happy with the 3520B that Iíve put to the test for the past 15 years with only 1-$15 switch fix. The 3520C is a nice looking machine that I would jump at purchasing. The full length bed comes in handy when you need it and if your shop space isnít limited. Powermatic has a 10% off sale a couple times each year so watch for that.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by tom lucas View Post
    Oh, and Oliver has a new lathe in this price range.
    Interesting... This one? https://olivermachinery.net/18-classic-lathe
    Last edited by Allen Mattsen; 03-17-2021 at 1:28 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Tropical North Queensland Australia.
    Posts
    100
    Allen, I can't help you with your choice of lathes as we get other different ones downunder, but if you are concerned about the bedway rusting, I use a product called Corrosion X. I think it is made in the US and I use the Aircraft grade spray, smells horrible, but it is the best protection I have ever used. Do a google search as I can only access Aussie sites.
    Hope this helps,
    Rgds,
    Richard.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kapolei Hawaii
    Posts
    3,136
    I'd be careful about buying too big, since you have a significant back issue, the weight of the blank will be a problem. I have a 16" lathe and trying to get a 14" log, 30" long on that was extremely challenging. I am older than you. Even a hardwood blank 16 x 6 inches is pretty heavy.
    Be careful live long.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    10,692
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Mattsen View Post
    I'd like to ask the forum for help researching and deciding on a full-sized lathe.
    ...within my budget of $4500. ...
    A new lathe would be exciting! But have you considered a good used lathe? For example, the Powermatic 3520b is a reliable workhorse widely used in shops, clubs, and schools. For your budget you could get the lathe and a lot of extras.

    JKJ

  10. #10
    I would opt for the 3520C. I turned on an A for about 10 years before getting a Robust. I do have a Vicmark 240 which has a pivoting headstock. I just don't like turning bowls on long bed lathes.

    Rush, I would have opted for the longer bed lathe. Main reason is to turn table legs. It was a bit of a squeeze to fit a 30 inch leg onto my 3520A, but since I am a furniture maker as well. that is essential.

    robo hippy

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Mesa, Arizona
    Posts
    1,637
    Allen -- Given your budget, I think I would go with the Harvey T60. With shipping, it costs about as much as the PM 3520C (when both lathes are on sale). However, since you need the swing away, the PM will cost you an additional $270. I have the PM 3520C and I really like it. However, I don't believe it's a better lathe than the Harvey T40.
    David Walser
    Mesa, Arizona

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    A new lathe would be exciting! But have you considered a good used lathe? For example, the Powermatic 3520b is a reliable workhorse widely used in shops, clubs, and schools. For your budget you could get the lathe and a lot of extras.

    JKJ
    I have considered the used market which I'm continually exploring, however, there has been nothing in my area I'd touch with a 10-foot pole up to this point. There is nothing or a Shopsmith from 20 yrs ago - and this is months of monitoring the local markets. That said, I'm still networking with new people and joined one of the local woodturning clubs (so far) so maybe more will be revealed. I'm making arrangements to run through a member's 3520C and get a feel for it. I've seen a 'B' already in person. Maybe if I stall long enough I can just get an AB 😅.

    As tempting as that is, I'm still acquiring tooling and part of wanting to jump into a new machine so soon is I don't want to waste funds on tooling for my midi just to duplicate costs later. Plus, I have funds now. Who knows which car will break down or what remodeling home project will come up and sap my lathe money later 😉

    Side note: I got to scrub my lathe beds (which were waxed) twice yesterday after leaving some green walnut out for a break or two. There is something attractive about stainless steel - but I probably just need to pay more attention and not rely so much on the same thing that has been working so well for my other cast iron surfaces - that don't ever see wet wood!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Lummi Island, WA
    Posts
    581
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Mattsen;[URL="tel:3108070"
    3108070[/URL]] That said, I'm still networking with new people and joined one of the local woodturning clubs (so far) so maybe more will be revealed. I'm making arrangements to run through a member's 3520C and get a feel for it. I've seen a 'B' already in person. Maybe if I stall long enough I can just get an AB .
    That's the smartest thing I've read so far. Get some time on the equipment you're interested in. As has been often said, opinions are like (insert favorite body part/orifice). Soliciting them only gets one truly valuable thing - a list of what's available that often includes frequently overlooked options. Still, in depth research often turns up something omitted.

    In the end, get what works for you...ergonomically and financially and fits your shop and the work you hope to do. The only way to know for certain is to lay hands on one.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    10,692
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Mattsen View Post
    I have considered the used market which I'm continually exploring, however, there has been nothing in my area I'd touch with a 10-foot pole up to this point. ...
    That's a problem. I was fortunate to be contacted by someone who thought I might be interested in his 3520b in almost perfect condition and drove 600 miles one way to bring it home! Included a bed extension, wood, and extras.

    Involvement in a club is an outstanding way to proceed. I've had people come to my shop to try out tools and things before they purchased.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    sykesville, maryland
    Posts
    683
    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    That's a problem. I was fortunate to be contacted by someone who thought I might be interested in his 3520b in almost perfect condition and drove 600 miles one way to bring it home! Included a bed extension, wood, and extras.

    Involvement in a club is an outstanding way to proceed. I've had people come to my shop to try out tools and things before they purchased.
    Yeah, same experience here. Good lathes are few and far between. You have to cast a wide net and be willing to drive a ways. When it's a good deal, I've done it. But for a few hundred dollars you are better off just having it delivered to your door with warranty and shiny and new. I gave up and bought new. Or course 3 weeks later there was a killer deal on a powermatic 4224 100 miles away. Oh well, I'm happy with what i have.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •