Potential Lathe

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Tyler Spry, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Tyler Spry

    Tyler Spry

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Devlin, Ontario, Canada
    Just wondering if this is worth the look? They are asking $400


    Craftsman variable speed wood lathe

    38" inch Spindle Turning
    15" Inboard Bowl Turning
    20" Outboard Bowl Turning
    2 HP (maximum developed)
    Variable Speed 400-2000 RPM

    A cast iron and fully functional, well-maintained woodturning lathe with mobile base and extras (see below).
    Moving and do not have room for my lathe any longer.

    Comes with:
    Lathe
    Tail Stock/Spindle Attachment
    Two Faceplates
    Tool Rest w/ Two Attachments (short & long)
    6 Piece Woodturning Tool Set w/ Case
     

    Attached Files:

  2. odie

    odie

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    Messages:
    4,424
    Location:
    Deep in the woods
    For $400, it looks like an inexpensive way to get started in turning. If there is any chance of getting a more substantial lathe, that would be a better option, but this little one would work for the time being.

    For some people, getting a lathe with the intent of upgrading later, isn't the best way to go. They become stuck with the least best option, because that's what they have......not to mention that once you start purchasing accessories that are specific to the lathe spindle and Morse tapers, it becomes doubly hard to upgrade.

    If it were me, from what I know now, I'd go all the way and borrow if I had to.......get a first rate lathe.

    ooc
     
  3. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,310
    Location:
    Lakeland, Florida
    Home Page:
    Tyler,

    The lathe is comparable to the jet and delta 12" lathes selling new in the $800 ball park.

    400 rpm low speed is a little too fast for some sanding and for hand chasing threads.
    It should be fine for most bowls blanks if you get them balanced for weight.
    If you want to turn bowls you would probably need to beef up the stand and weight with sandbags.

    The locks on the the tool rest and the banjo have short handles. But most inexpensive lathes do.
    You will need a knock out bar any piece I'd steel will do.

    If you get the lathe and a solid class or two you should be fine for spindles and bowls up to 13"
    Skills trump equipment. You can turn crappy work on abreast lathe and great work an crappy lathe.

    And those are nice size bowls.
    This lathe will seem under powered even though it says 2 HP.
    That will teach you better technique as you will have to cut efficiently.

    You may not get fully bitten by the turning bug.
    Of every 2 members that join a woodturning club 1 will drop out of turning within 3 years the other one sticks with it.
    probably a good starter lathe.

    Al
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  4. john lucas

    john lucas

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    5,829
    Location:
    Cookeville TN USA
    Some of those lathes have really been dogs. Some people really like them. Sears is very bad about not supporting the lathe if something breaks. If it works fine youll probably enjoy it. Just wanted to let you know up front that they can be a problem.
     
  5. Shawn Pachlhofer

    Shawn Pachlhofer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2013
    Messages:
    134
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Tyler mentioned in another thread that he's a new turner - I hardly think hand-chasing threads should be a concern at this point. :D

    I would pass on this lathe - top speed of 2000 RPM is too limiting, IMO. You won't want to turn anything 15" on that lathe unless it's mounted to a block of concrete...and definitely would not do anything that size outboard unless the piece starts out very well balanced, or else it's....ride'em cowboy. Craftsman also rates their motors at "developed" horsepower - so it's not a fair representation of it's actual capability.

    If you keep looking, you should be able to find a Jet 1236 for around $400 - much better than a Craftsman, IMHO.

    I looked on Craigslist in Minneapolis area and see several Jet mini lathes. Mini lathes are a great place to start, and even as an experienced turner, there's always a use for a mini lathe around the shop.

    There's also a a Jet 1642 in Hudson for $1600 and sounds like it comes with chucks, tools: http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/wsh/tls/4132685386.html - it may be outside the budget, but it definitely will give you room to grow.

    I would get in touch with every local turning club near you and start asking if anyone has a lathe to sell.
     
  6. hu lowery

    hu lowery

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    485
    Location:
    Roseland LA USA
    guess I'll be the one to drop the dime . . .

    I don't know if that lathe is a little newer version or older version of the Craftsman I own. Very similar, same flimsy design, same "two horsepower", same 15x38", same "400-2000" RPM. Note I am using quotes around most of the spec's, there is a reason for that!

    I spend roughly 20-25% of my lathe time working on the lathe. The reeves drive malfunctions on a regular basis despite all efforts to make it work and a design flaw had to be corrected or it ate primary drive belts. Note that I have years of experience as an auto-mechanic, race mechanic, and as a mechanical designer, not my first rodeo but I can't heal this reeves drive for any amount of time.

    That piece of cast iron is ridiculously flimsy, compare it to a Jet mini lathe and you will see that the Jet is massively stronger, would be much stronger even if stretched out to the length of the Craftsman. Not particularly recommending the Jet, just pointing out a flaw in the Craftsman. Everything about my Craftsman is poorly made and if you rough in anything from out of balance there is no way to tighten my lathe enough that the alignment of the headstock doesn't move around.

    Oh yeah, the company that actually made my lathe and Sears both pretend that it doesn't exist and never did. The one thing I think I can get is a reeves drive belt, a sixty dollar item if I remember correctly.

    If you PM me an e-mail I will send some pictures of the reeves drive with the covers off. If you look at the machine it takes very little effort to look at the reeves drive. If it is the same as mine the lathe is overpriced at $200. As I said in a post on another forum only yesterday, I won't even give my lathe away when I upgrade, it would be a dirty trick to play on somebody!

    Flimsy and poorly designed in all respects, my lathe's four hundred to two thousand RPM claims are extremely suspect too, underpowered, absolutely nothing to like about my lathe. It does look like the one in your pictures is a close cousin, I don't know if it is newer or older.

    Turning isn't much fun when the first question every time you step up to the lathe is if the thing is even going to run. I put a large donut chuck on my lathe to clean up the bottom of the last piece I turned. That was when I discovered that the reeves drive had stuck yet again and if I wanted to finish the piece before the green wood warped I would be turning at three or four times the RPM I wanted to turn. Ever hear an airboat or a helicopter rotor whipping up close and personal? That is what that donut chuck sounded like at high speed. No guts, no gory, so I tried to finish the piece. No real surprise, the bottom came out pretty crappy. I had my mind on other things, like would I live to tell this tale!

    If my post leaves some doubt about my thoughts, I wouldn't buy this lathe just because it is flimsy, note the stand I eventually built for mine. I wouldn't buy it because I don't think the headstock alignment will stay true if you try to rough in anything out of balance. If the reeves drive matches mine I wouldn't buy it because it is a total POS. Aside from the reeves drive you might be able to use it as the world's largest pen and very small box lathe. Can actually probably turn spindles on it too if the reeves drive doesn't match mine. One plus, by the time you try to use it for three months you will have a deep understanding of the internal workings or not workings of a lathe! Reeves drives are somewhat problematic, this particular reeves drive is a disaster.

    Hu
     

    Attached Files:

  7. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,310
    Location:
    Lakeland, Florida
    Home Page:
    The Jet 1642 is a great Lathe. Basically a shrunk down Powermatic.
    A much better lathe that will hold its value.
    Al
     
  8. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    8,136
    Location:
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    I agree with Hu. The first thing that I noticed when glancing over the specs was "max developed". Before I saw that it was a Craftsman lathe, I said to myself, "self, that is a Sears Craftsman lathe and they lie like the Devil when it comes to horsepower ratings". At best, the motor is a half horse, but more likely a quarter horse.

    Hu has posted his woes in dealing with the drive system on his Craftsman lathe. It would be worth reading just in case you feel like you want to buy that dog. My first lathe was also one that I spent much more time repairing than using for turning and it was NOT a pleasant way to get into woodturning. I would not be the least bit surprised if most people who buy one of those lathes lose interest in turning. It was only because I was determined that I overcame the discouragement of using such a sorry lathe.
     
  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    8,136
    Location:
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    Al, I feel obligated to disagree. In my opinion since I am familiar with all lathes mentioned, the Craftsman isn't even remotely close.
     
  10. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,310
    Location:
    Lakeland, Florida
    Home Page:
    Bill,
    Okay. Based on your experience you are more negative about the machine than I am.
    I am not a fan of any of the Sears lathes but people do use them.

    I was thinking more about $800 for a jet or $400 for the sears...
    Maybe it should be $200 for the Sears to make them comparable

    At the end of the day what you can accomplish with the three machines is comparable.
    The Sears will turn a 13" bowl the 12" machines a 10-11" bowl.
    I did say it was underpowered I think you agreed with that. :)

    I suspect you would not take the sears if it were free and that might be the right answer.

    Al
     
  11. john lucas

    john lucas

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    5,829
    Location:
    Cookeville TN USA
    Well I was being polite this morning. We had one that our club used for about a year or so. It was absolutely the worst thing I've turned on short of the older round tube craftsman lathes. As Hu said we constantly had to work on the Reeves drives. Sears no longer carried the switch when it broke but fortunately we found one pretty close at a local electronic story. The tailstock never would lock solidly and was always hard to move because the casting were ground so rough.
    Based on my experience alone I would throw it in the river and make a coral reef out of it. However I do run into people who own one every now and then and really seem to like them.
    I agree with the others suggestions. A good quality mini lathe is a fantastic way to start, everything about it works better than the craftstman you just can't turn larger stuff. That being said when you do try to turn larger stuff on the Craftsman you will just be frustrated.
     
  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    8,136
    Location:
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:







    Did I come off sounding a bit negative? :D :D :D :D

    A few years ago, a new turner in our club bought a used Craftsman lathe very similar to this one. I tried to politely talk him out of it, but it didn't work. He really regretted buying it and gave up woodturning until one of our members provided some mentoring and showed him what a decent lathe will do. I decided that it is better to be brutally frank because sometimes a person more or less has their mind made up barring any really significant reason to reconsider.
     
  13. Tom Coghill

    Tom Coghill

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Don't buy the craftsman. Please save yourself countless hours of frustration :mad: that will turn you away from lathe work forever.

    Save your $ for one of the lathes mentioned here by others.
     
  14. Tom Coghill

    Tom Coghill

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    I just saw this:

    Jet 1236 with the infamous reeves drive. I have had no trouble with this lathe, just want more swing. I'll include a PSI Barracuda2 chuck system, cole laws, 2 tool rests drive and live centers, and everything that came with it new.$550 will deliver in Maine, Bangor to Presque Isle for gas money, or pick-up. ​

    on another forum. If you are interested, please go to the Woodturners Resource at http://www.woodturnersresource.com/

    Go to the forum and then look for the WR Classified.

    I hope it is OK to mention that site here:eek:. I review notes and postings on both sites.:)
     
  15. Shawn Pachlhofer

    Shawn Pachlhofer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2013
    Messages:
    134
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    well the OP is in Minnesota, the 1236 is in Maine.

    I wonder if he'll still deliver.

    :p
     
  16. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

    Joined:
    May 19, 2004
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Derry, NH
    Don't

    I started on that very lathe. New to turning and I outgrew (translate...got tired and frustrated at the numerous inefficiencies) that lathe in 6 weeks, and immediately began looking for a replacement.

    If you were ONLY planning on turning an occasional spindle in the hobby furniture shop, and didn't care that it would only be used more than once a year, I still couldn't recommend that lathe.
     
  17. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    8,136
    Location:
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    I suspect that even the barnacles wouldn't like it. :p :D
     
  18. john lucas

    john lucas

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    5,829
    Location:
    Cookeville TN USA
    Your right Bill, even sharks might spit that thing back out. Not heavy enough to even make a good boat anchor.
     
  19. Tyler Spry

    Tyler Spry

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Devlin, Ontario, Canada
    WOW! Thanks for all of the replies and knowledgeable information. This is exactly what I was looking for! After reading your replies I guess my biggest question/hesitation is this:

    I don't know whether I should save up for a full size lathe that will give me the most capacity or start with a decent mini/midi to learn the skills/techniques. The Delta 46-460 seems like a pretty decent lathe... I've seen it in MANY videos and heard of being used in many clubs as there "practice lathes". I've also read that they have (or maybe had) horrible customer service if you should need it.

    I'm fairly positive I'll enjoy this craft if I learn the proper techniques as I like building/wood working/working with my hands but again it still makes me hesitant to invest in a big lathe in case I don't end up liking it.

    I guess anything can be sold should need be... :p

    Again, thanks for all the replies and any more advice/tips are appreciated as I continue to search for my "perfect" starter lathe! :D
     
  20. Dwight R Rutherford

    Dwight R Rutherford

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    Messages:
    140
    Location:
    Sacramnto Ca
    Yesterday there was a thread by Neal Addy "getting started in woodturning". Excellent guidance for the selection of your first lathe.
     

Share This Page