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Lathe Upgrade Discussion/Suggestions and Good Used Lathe?

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Pardon my multiple postings here today, but I have found the people on this forum to be loaded with helpful insights; experiences; and knowledge. I currently turn on a Nova DVR 2024 and have been using Nova lathes with their swiveling head design for 10 years. I am a left handed turner and like the ability to hollow bowls when the head is turned out 22 degrees. I can turn right handed, but my fine motor control is much better left handed, especially when doing final cuts. I also turn in reverse quite often.

MY QUESTION IS: Given the above statements do you all have any suggestions for an upgrade to my 2024 (disappointed with their customer support)? My shop is a single bay in my garage and quite crowded. I would like to have another, better, lathe with a swivel head, but I can probably work off the end of the lathe for my hollowing. Budget is always an issue, but I am willing to pay for a quality lathe that fits my turning style. I try to turn something every day. I do bowls, boxes, and spindles. The 20" swing is pretty important to me even though I don't generally turn many bowls or platters larger than 16-19". I would prefer to buy a used lathe nearby in Northern California, but I am willing to buy a new one and pay for shipping. Maybe this is too broad of a topic for this forum? I am grateful for any responses to this issue. Thanks - Mike
IMG_1661.jpg
 
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I understand your position. I had a Laguna 18-36. Not a bad lathe. I always had very good CS, but many have not. The problem was I had multiple switches and relays go bad. I ended up buying a Robust AB. Pricy, yes, but in three years the only problem I have had was a bad tool rest and they quickly replaced it. One of the important things to me was the swing away tailstock. You will get a lot of responses. Many here love their Nova lathes. As far as used the Powermatic 3520’s come up for sale every so often. If you turn from the end you will need to do something with the tailstock. Many have made carts to slide the tailstock off. Not sure if Powermatic has a decent swing away option. I have no experience with rotating headstock lathes. The Vicmarc has gotten good reviews.
 
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I bought a Record Power Envoy that is 16-24. I have had it about a year and love it. They also make an 18-24 that goes for about $2500. They have the two features I was looking for. The rotating headstock and a pendant with all of the controls. My 16-24 was just under $2,000. It will also turn 39” outboard.CA2ABD8C-01E4-4668-A937-93B05160286B.jpeg6B3899CB-9BA2-440D-84F0-A07A5A53CC75.jpeg6A346A44-3E59-42B8-914D-3C3509BC322E.jpeg
 
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I forgot to add that their customer service is excellent. I have not needed them but a few people had a problem with the controller so they sent a new one to everybody that bought a lathe for free, now I have a spare. They also had a few people have a problem with the hold down bolt for the headstock so they sent a new improved one to everybody, now I have a spare one of those also. They also sent a free Chuck for the trouble.
 
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If you turn from the end you will need to do something with the tailstock. Many have made carts to slide the tailstock off. Not sure if Powermatic has a decent swing away option.
Powermatic does indeed have a swing-away option. Not as slick as the Robust option, but still gets the job done with a minimum of strain on your back.
 
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I forgot to add that their customer service is excellent. I have not needed them but a few people had a problem with the controller so they sent a new one to everybody that bought a lathe for free, now I have a spare. They also had a few people have a problem with the hold down bolt for the headstock so they sent a new improved one to everybody, now I have a spare one of those also. They also sent a free Chuck for the trouble.
Rusty - is that large platter a piece of Cedar Elm?
 

odie

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I would look at the Vicmarc 240. Robo Hippy has one and seems to like it.

It seems quite a few American turners are becoming familiar with, and like the advantages a rotating headstock offers over a sliding headstock.

The Vicmarc 240 is a great lathe......and everything else with a rotating headstock, tends to be not nearly as heavy. (Weight is an important factor for me) Because of the weight, this is the only lathe with a rotating headstock that is available with 1 1/4 x 8tpi that would appeal to me. Too bad they do not offer it with a 1" diameter banjo. (The sleeve they offer is not too appealing to me. I also do not like that stop bar they have on the Vic.)

I check every once in awhile, and last time I checked, the Vicmarc 240 is no longer available in the American market.......too bad.

Someday, I suspect one of the premium lathe manufacturers will enter the USA market and supply this growing demand. (@Brent@TurnRobust :))

-----odie-----
 

Emiliano Achaval

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I have seen this question asked hundreds of times. Is the same as asking at your high school reunion what kind of car they drive, and what they recommend you should buy. You will have the Ford fanatics, the Dodge, then the guy that did well will tell you there is nothing better than his Lamborghini. Is the same as asking here please tell me what bowl gouge to use. The thing is, there is no right or wrong answer here. I would say buy the best that you can afford. Set a budget and see what you can find. Once you find something then come back here and ask about one specific lathe. Like, guys, what do you think about the Super Max 5000 with a 5HP? I found it for $1000.. I bought my lathe direct from Australia. Even with the shipping, the price was less than a top-of-the-line lathe already here.
 

Emiliano Achaval

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It seems quite a few American turners are becoming familiar with, and like the advantages a rotating headstock offers over a sliding headstock.

The Vicmarc 240 is a great lathe......and everything else with a rotating headstock, tends to be not nearly as heavy. (Weight is an important factor for me) Because of the weight, this is the only lathe with a rotating headstock that is available with 1 1/4 x 8tpi that would appeal to me. Too bad they do not offer it with a 1" diameter banjo. (The sleeve they offer is not too appealing to me. I also do not like that stop bar they have on the Vic.)

I check every once in awhile, and last time I checked, the Vicmarc 240 is no longer available in the American market.......too bad.

Someday, I suspect one of the premium lathe manufacturers will enter the USA market and supply this growing demand. (@Brent@TurnRobust :))

-----odie-----
When I want to buy something I first search in the USA. I always prefer small family-owned businesses like Woodworkers Emporium. If they say they do not have I keep looking. Then, once my usual 4 to 5 places that I have been buying for well over 25 years I go to the source. I have bought several chucks direct from Vicmarc in Australia. Lots of things direct from Enzo Verrecchia and Nadine owners of Vermec. And of course bought my Stubby 1000 from Omega lathes. I also bought a complete package VFD for my 750 from Rod, faceplates, tool rests, replacement parts, and more. Even shipping sometimes is even cheaper than waiting 6 months and buying it here in the USA. I have also bought several tools from Ashley Iles in the UK. If you want a Vicmarc 240 you call and talk to Victor, brother of Enzo Verrecchia and he will sell you anything that you need. He loves windsurfing and dreams of coming to Maui, of course, he has an open invitation.
 

odie

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When I want to buy something I first search in the USA. I always prefer small family-owned businesses like Woodworkers Emporium. If they say they do not have I keep looking. Then, once my usual 4 to 5 places that I have been buying for well over 25 years I go to the source. I have bought several chucks direct from Vicmarc in Australia. Lots of things direct from Enzo Verrecchia and Nadine owners of Vermec. And of course bought my Stubby 1000 from Omega lathes. I also bought a complete package VFD for my 750 from Rod, faceplates, tool rests, replacement parts, and more. Even shipping sometimes is even cheaper than waiting 6 months and buying it here in the USA. I have also bought several tools from Ashley Iles in the UK. If you want a Vicmarc 240 you call and talk to Victor, brother of Enzo Verrecchia and he will sell you anything that you need. He loves windsurfing and dreams of coming to Maui, of course, he has an open invitation.

Howdy Emiliano..... :)

The Vicmarc 240 is the best rotating head lathe that I'm aware of. No question that it's got it where it counts......but, there are things about it that would keep me from buying one. If it were everything I wanted, I wouldn't hesitate to get it from a foreign source.

-----odie-----
 

Emiliano Achaval

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Howdy Emiliano..... :)

The Vicmarc 240 is the best rotating head lathe that I'm aware of. No question that it's got it where it counts......but, there are things about it that would keep me from buying one. If it were everything I wanted, I wouldn't hesitate to get it from a foreign source.

-----odie-----
I believe that you are a wise experienced woodturner that knows that if buying a new Vicmarc lathe would make you the next Leonardo Davinci, you would not hesitate to do it. But, in woodturning like in many other art forms, I will use a quote here to finish: "It is not the arrow, it is the Indian" LOL You have a nice solid lathe. If you had a bench mounted midi lathe then yes, you need a Vicmarc.
 

odie

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I believe that you are a wise experienced woodturner that knows that if buying a new Vicmarc lathe would make you the next Leonardo Davinci, you would not hesitate to do it. But, in woodturning like in many other art forms, I will use a quote here to finish: "It is not the arrow, it is the Indian" LOL You have a nice solid lathe. If you had a bench mounted midi lathe then yes, you need a Vicmarc.

You are absolutely right, Emiliano...... :)


The Australian Woodfast lathe is a terrific lathe. I did change some things to make it better.....like adding variable speed, and the Robust Sweet 16 dogleg banjo. If I could add a rotating headstock and increase the swing a couple inches......it would be the darn near perfect lathe for me. That's why it's been the workhorse in my shop for 30 years now! :)

When I see what I figure to be the perfect lathe......I'll bite the bullet and get it. If that day never comes, then I'll not be disappointed to have turned the better part of my time on the ol' Woodfast!

-----odie-----
 
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I have seen this question asked hundreds of times. Is the same as asking at your high school reunion what kind of car they drive, and what they recommend you should buy. You will have the Ford fanatics, the Dodge, then the guy that did well will tell you there is nothing better than his Lamborghini. Is the same as asking here please tell me what bowl gouge to use. The thing is, there is no right or wrong answer here. I would say buy the best that you can afford. Set a budget and see what you can find. Once you find something then come back here and ask about one specific lathe. Like, guys, what do you think about the Super Max 5000 with a 5HP? I found it for $1000.. I bought my lathe direct from Australia. Even with the shipping, the price was less than a top-of-the-line lathe already here.
Yes. You are quite correct. However, all of these varied comments help me look at items and features I may not have considered on my own. I appreciate all of the comments.
 
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It is not exactly buy the best you can afford. You need to consider things like height and weight. Other things are materials. The Laguna 18-36 I had was a nice lathe for the price. However for that price the components were cheaper and reliability was not that good. The height was a little short for me. The ways are steel and seemed somewhat scratchy. I overcame the weight by adding 300 lbs. of sand between the legs. I maybe could have overcome the height (it was too short). However I was stuck with the components used. My next choice was a Powermatic 4224 followed by the 3520C. Any lathe can have a problem, but I am 99.99% confident the lathe will perform every day as intended.
 
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It is not exactly buy the best you can afford. You need to consider things like height and weight. Other things are materials. The Laguna 18-36 I had was a nice lathe for the price. However for that price the components were cheaper and reliability was not that good. The height was a little short for me. The ways are steel and seemed somewhat scratchy. I overcame the weight by adding 300 lbs. of sand between the legs. I maybe could have overcome the height (it was too short). However I was stuck with the components used. My next choice was a Powermatic 4224 followed by the 3520C. Any lathe can have a problem, but I am 99.99% confident the lathe will perform every day as intended.
Thanks William! Good insights. I wish I could get over my love for a rotating headstock. As a left handed turner it seems essential to me. And I have been using it for more than ten years. I think I could get used to turning off the end easier than perfecting my tool control right handed.
 
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Never used a rotating head, but have a PM3520C. Love turning off the end, can work left, right, straight in, etc with ease. I do mostly bowls so my tailstock sits under my lathe. I plan on making a short bed to slide the tailstock off/on but until then, I just deal with the weight of it. I use a rolling tool-chest for my tool/sharpening station so I can push it right up to the end of the lathe when I get around to making the bed. I've read reviews up/down the spectrum, some say best thing since sliced bread, some say don't waste your $$ so I have not tried one. Good luck with your search.
 
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Thanks John! The PM 3520 is getting much praise. I have the opportunity to by a 2004 vintage 3520A or I can buy the new 3520C 100th Anniversary lathe. Because of the problems I have had with my 2011 vintage Nova 2024 I am leaning toward the new 3520C. Although, it seems that the 3520A is a solid machine with little reported problems. Oh the decisions I have to make. ;-) I am still looking into the rotating headstock lathes as that is what I am used to.
 
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@Mike Sooley What specifically are you dissatisfied with customer service? Lathe performance? Hard to help without specific issues described.
Hi Doug,

I appreciate your concern for and apparent support for Teknatool. I have posted just some of my issues with them on another forum with unpleasant results. I was very frustrated at the time and do not care to go there again and reignite the emotions. However, if you work for Teknatool I would be happy to discuss my many issues with you in private in hopes of helping them address the issues. Otherwise, this issue is better left out of this current thread.

Regards,
Mike
 
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100th Anniversary
I have one of those black anniversary tools (dust collector), think black.... dirt/dust. I don't care how often or how much I dust/clean it, it always looks dusty as heck. If that matters to you, get a regular mustard monster. It bugs me, wish I would not have bought the anniversary model but a regular one instead.
 
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I have one of those black anniversary tools (dust collector), think black.... dirt/dust. I don't care how often or how much I dust/clean it, it always looks dusty as heck. If that matters to you, get a regular mustard monster. It bugs me, wish I would not have bought the anniversary model but a regular one instead.
Yikes! I never thought about that! I wonder how Robust or Harvey lathe owners feel about the dust issue? I blow off my lathe frequently and try to clean it a little after turning particularly wet wood. I see how the color contrast could matter. Thanks for the insight.
 

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Yikes! I never thought about that! I wonder how Robust or Harvey lathe owners feel about the dust issue? I blow off my lathe frequently and try to clean it a little after turning particularly wet wood. I see how the color contrast could matter. Thanks for the insight.
Although it can vary by individual Most people find a white background the best for seeing the profile of work they are turning.
I know about one Stubby that was painted white to let the turner see the profile of work better.

That said larger bowls and hollow forms are usually too big to see the profile against the lathe headstock.
A white wall will suit most turners well or a white poster size sheet laid on the ways.
 
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I finally removed the bed extension on my 3520B and slid the headstock close to the end and have roughed several bowls off the end. I like it better, had to make a wall shelf for the banjo for sanding, not a big issue. I don't know how that would compare to a swiveling headstock. My first lathe, a harbor freight, would swivel but it would vibrate across the floor with the spindle parallel to the bed so I never swung it out and turned anything.

I have not found anything that I wanted the Powermatic to do that it did not handle well. I can add the extension and turn some pretty long spindles and have. Without a freestanding toolrest, I think I'm limited to about 28 inches diameter using the standard banjo and extension which when the next large chunk of black walnut shows up, I'm going to give it a try.

Would I have bought the 3520B Powermatic if knowing what I know now back when I bought mine new? Yes

Do I like the mustard yellow color...after 16 years it's growing on me
 
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I finally removed the bed extension on my 3520B and slid the headstock close to the end and have roughed several bowls off the end. I like it better, had to make a wall shelf for the banjo for sanding, not a big issue. I don't know how that would compare to a swiveling headstock. My first lathe, a harbor freight, would swivel but it would vibrate across the floor with the spindle parallel to the bed so I never swung it out and turned anything.

I have not found anything that I wanted the Powermatic to do that it did not handle well. I can add the extension and turn some pretty long spindles and have. Without a freestanding toolrest, I think I'm limited to about 28 inches diameter using the standard banjo and extension which when the next large chunk of black walnut shows up, I'm going to give it a try.

Would I have bought the 3520B Powermatic if knowing what I know now back when I bought mine new? Yes

Do I like the mustard yellow color...after 16 years it's growing on me
Thanks Marvin! All good info. I am not sure what you mean when you talk about building a wall shelf for the banjo? It seems like you need the tailstock to turn between centers unless you use a face plate. Then, once you have a spigot on the bottom you can reverse the bowl and chuck it up. At that point a swing away tail stock seem necessary unless you want to lift the tail stock off several times a day? I am hearing such good things about the Powermatic. I think the yellow color is fine, but I think the black color is cool. Not a reason to buy a lathe, but something to add to the new feel! ;-)
 
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Mike,
My sympathies to you and all other left-handed turners. The modern lathe is absolutely a right-handed person design, and decidedly unfair. Lots of us righties have learned the value of turning left handed in certain circumstances, but lathes are still built for righties.

I've long wondered if it would be possible to put a modern lathe in reverse and turn from the opposite side. The controls would have to be mobile, though the spindle lock probably can't be. Still, it seems like it would be doable. Any lefty is welcome to come to my shop and try it on my old 3520A. (I'll even sharpen some gouges for left-handers ;) )
 
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Mike,
My sympathies to you and all other left-handed turners. The modern lathe is absolutely a right-handed person design, and decidedly unfair. Lots of us righties have learned the value of turning left handed in certain circumstances, but lathes are still built for righties.

I've long wondered if it would be possible to put a modern lathe in reverse and turn from the opposite side. The controls would have to be mobile, though the spindle lock probably can't be. Still, it seems like it would be doable. Any lefty is welcome to come to my shop and try it on my old 3520A. (I'll even sharpen some gouges for left-handers ;) )
Ha! Yes. I wish I could turn better right handed. The only thing I do right handed is golf and that is my excuse for being so terrible at it. I am looking at a PM 3520A and found it had a rpm readout and some set of controls on the backside of the head stock! Maybe that was put there for us lefties? Now that you mentioned it, I may buy that 3520A and try to turn from the backside! Thanks!
 
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I can half sympathize with you being left handed. I write right handed, play ball and swing a golf club left handed. I can drive nails with either hand, I turn best right handed but swap hands frequently. I guess I'm one of those that can say my right hand doesn't know what my left can do, or something like that.

I just started turning off the end so I'm used to pushing the banjo down the bed and out of the way to sand. Maybe I'll get used to working with it close to the bowl but for now, I slide it off and hang it on this little shelf I made. Please excuse the mess, I've rough turned over a 100 bowls due to abundance of wood provided by storms in a short period of time. (Pic)

When I bring a piece in, it is a half log. I find the center with a big compass then mark the bowl circle. I use the center mark to mark the face plate circle while I'm there. I then measure the radius of the bowl and set the jig pin on the bandsaw. I then drill the hole for the jig pin, mount the half log on the bandsaw jig and cut the bowl out. I then attach my faceplate with 6 350 lb rated hex headed concrete anchor screws 2" long. Years ago, I've stopped the blank from spinning with a catch a few times, never broke a screw or had any issues with a blank coming loose and never use a tail stock with the faceplate. I rough a bowl pretty aggressively.

First pic notice banjo on wall, second pic bowl layout, third bowl cut still on jig, fourth is a roughed in bowl...hope this helps
IMG_1569.jpgIMG_1490.jpgIMG_1491.jpgIMG_1558.jpg
 
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I'm a huge Oneway fan. 100% uptime over 22 years on my 2436. With kind of reliability, you don't need customer service. I've paid for the lathe twice over in that amount of time. So please don't come back with it's too expensive.
 
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Hi Doug,

I appreciate your concern for and apparent support for Teknatool. I have posted just some of my issues with them on another forum with unpleasant results. I was very frustrated at the time and do not care to go there again and reignite the emotions. However, if you work for Teknatool I would be happy to discuss my many issues with you in private in hopes of helping them address the issues. Otherwise, this issue is better left out of this current thread.

Regards,
Mike
No I dont work for Teknatool. I asked what the specific complaints are in order to understand the root cause of your issues, product not customer service. Particularly interested in whether any issues are motor/control related as they are proprietary components. I have owned a Nova Galaxi for 4 years. Its the same motor, but the controls have been changed/upgraded. My interest lies in understanding the specific issues you have had so that I might learn of future problems and I just might have an idea of how to help resolve some of yours, depending on the nature of them.

I am also a fan of pivot HS's. The DVR 2024 is a lightweight design overall. The Galaxi is a much heavier and structurally stronger design that may address your issues, but it is only 16" swing. If you had motor/control issues, then you probably arent interested. Mine has been trouble free in that area so far. There are a few warts here and there that have been easily dealt with.
 
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No I dont work for Teknatool. I asked what the specific complaints are in order to understand the root cause of your issues, product not customer service. Particularly interested in whether any issues are motor/control related as they are proprietary components. I have owned a Nova Galaxi for 4 years. Its the same motor, but the controls have been changed/upgraded. My interest lies in understanding the specific issues you have had so that I might learn of future problems and I just might have an idea of how to help resolve some of yours, depending on the nature of them.

I am also a fan of pivot HS's. The DVR 2024 is a lightweight design overall. The Galaxi is a much heavier and structurally stronger design that may address your issues, but it is only 16" swing. If you had motor/control issues, then you probably arent interested. Mine has been trouble free in that area so far. There are a few warts here and there that have been easily dealt with.
Ah. OK. I will try to be very brief and not get into the customer service issues as all they do is polarize people. Just the facts mam!

2/15/22 - I was turning for about an hour when I hit the green ON button. The lathe started to turn and I heard a pop and everything went blank and the lathe spun to a stop. The fuse had EXPLODED THE GLASS! Several helpful communications with customer support (mostly with engineers Rich and Shi). Shipped MCU;HMI; and side panel to Clearwater for diagnosis. BTW - I have TWO surge suppressors on my lathe. One at the 50 AMP sub panel and one in line from the receptacle.
3/28/22 - Repaired board returned from Clearwater. Installed boards and started turning. Turned for 15 minutes and the display went blank. More communications. Returned MCU and HMI boards to Clearwater. Told the MCU board was "fried". No new MCU boards so they shipped me a refurbished MCU.
4/27/22 - Installed refurbished MCU and started turning. Turned for 20 minutes and the lathe shut off eventually displaying a "not connected" error before resetting and "ready to run". Reseated cables and looked for damage as instructed by Steve, the electrician. Ran repeated tests and repeated the same issue. More communications. Return MCU and HMI again.
5/14/22 - (Today) Still don't know what the solution is to this issue. Maybe more repairs to MCU or maybe another refurbished MCU.

My frustration is: 1) my lathe has been down since 2/15/22 - three months and I don't know when it will be running again (I turn daily. It is my Zen time and I miss it dearly); 2) the miscommunications with Clearwater and the long delays between any forward action.

I hope I don't reignite some new backlash because I have publicly presented "the facts" of my lathe issues. I have purposely avoided going into all of the details of the issues from 2/15 until today. I was very frustrated several weeks ago and did not behave well. Today, I have accepted the fact that it may take much longer for my lathe to be running again. I recently borrowed a mini lathe from a friend to permit me to do some turning again. Turning on the mini lathe made me appreciate all of the features of the 2024. ;-)

I hope this helps you a bit Doug. I realize that many people are completely satisfied with their Nova products and have not had any bad experiences. I have been turning on Nova lathes for more than ten years with few problems. However, this one sent me over the edge (almost). I am back on solid ground now and looking forward and not backwards.
 
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Mike,
I am with Richard Coers on this one......But, you already know the story. Go buy a Oneway 2436. Best lathe out there. While you are ordering it....get the stainless steel ways.
Just jump. I have had mine for 20 years now. No problems yet. And you have seen my abused lathe.
Hugh
p.s. for the rest of you......Mike and I are friends.
 
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@Mike Sooley , Although righthanded, I am another fan of rotating headstock lathes (Nova 1624). I have turned off the end of sliding headstock lathes a few times, and while they have some plusses, the two "solutions" are not interchangeable. Since comfortable left hand turning is so important, it would be good if you had the opportunity (and time allows) to turn a bowl off the end of a lathe so you can see how it feels.
 
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Mike,
I am with Richard Coers on this one......But, you already know the story. Go buy a Oneway 2436. Best lathe out there. While you are ordering it....get the stainless steel ways.
Just jump. I have had mine for 20 years now. No problems yet. And you have seen my abused lathe.
Hugh
p.s. for the rest of you......Mike and I are friends.
Thanks Hugh! I may need to come visit you and try turning from the backside or end of the OneWay!
 
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@Mike Sooley , Although righthanded, I am another fan of rotating headstock lathes (Nova 1624). I have turned off the end of sliding headstock lathes a few times, and while they have some plusses, the two "solutions" are not interchangeable. Since comfortable left hand turning is so important, it would be good if you had the opportunity (and time allows) to turn a bowl off the end of a lathe so you can see how it feels.
Great advice Mark! I expect I can make some adjustments if I move away from a rotating head lathe. It is a difficult decision for me.
 
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