Best Wood Lathes 2017 : The Beginners Guide

There are quite a number of woodworking lathe tools on the market and not all are the quality needed to turn out great projects. What are the best Wood Lathes on the market? It is so difficult to choose the best one while there are so many Wood Lathes are available. In here, you can find our several reviews on Wood Lathes which can help you to make the right decision.

#1. Powermatic 1352001 Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout

  • 20-inch swing, 34-1/2” between center
  • 2-HP, 220-volt, variable speed motor
  • Heavy-duty cast iron, assembly required
  • 1-year warranty

Pros: free shipping, great support, extremely high quality, super good lathe, great design, not difficult to assemble, it is a heavy machine so it does not move around when turning large chunks of wood, it very versatile, the 200v variable speed motor is smooth, reliable, strong, silent, sturdy, lots of torque for the big stuff, the continuously variable speed is invaluable, it works as advertised this machine is more than expected, this is indeed your dream lathe, it is truly worth the price

Cons: It is very top heavy

Highly Recommended !!!

#2. Jet 719600 JWL-1840EVS 2 hp 230V Lathe

  • Variable-speed control
  • Weighs 331.2 pounds
  • Superior cam lock lever mechanisms
  • Legs with special webbings

Pros: great customer experience, great delivery, it is rock solid, fit and finish is good, set-up is pretty easy, the tail and head are perfectly aligned, the motor is extremely quiet, no vibration at any rpm, high torque at slower rpm’s is amazing, the ram lines up exactly with the headstock spindle, the variable speed with digital readout is smooth and effortless, standing at 3000 rpm’s was very nice, you will like the variable speed and constant speed under load.

Cons: I do not have one complaint about this lathe …

Highly Recommended

#3. NOVA 46000 Comet II 12 Inch by 16 1/2-Inch Variable Speed Midi Lathe

  • 1.75HP Direct Drive DVR Motor
  • Speed range from 250 to 4000rpm
  • Intelligent DVR motor
  • Stand sold separately
  • weight 82.4 pound

Pros: it is an outstanding lathe, does not take up too much space, describes a quiet, no vibration, direct drive-no belts, variable speed control to make larger bowls, wide range of speeds, high torque, the learning curve is fast , the headstock can be rotated for a larger capacity than the 16 inches, top of the line construction, do not need to add a sandbag or bolt down this machine, well worth an investment. 

Cons: nope

Highly Recommended

#4. Shop Fox W1758 Wood Lathe With Cast Iron Legs And Digital Readout

  • Motor: 2 HP, 110V, single-phase
  • Heavy-duty, precision ground cast iron bed
  • Cast iron legs ensure stability and minimal vibration
  • Lever speed adjustment, 10 speeds: 600 – 2400 RPM
  • Quick lock/release levers for tailstock and headstock

Pros: great customer service, it’s a great buy, it’s hard to find a better bargain on a mid range lathe, this mid-range lathe has the power and weight needed for most jobs, mostly solid construction, can turn enough diameter for decent sized bowls, headstock was large and was not complicated to install to read other reviews.

Cons: it eats the belt up pretty fast, not a very good design for speed control, no way to lock the spindle in the headstock …



#5. NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe

  • Speed range from 250 to 4000rpm
  • 12″ swing over bed
  • 16.5″ between centers
  • 3 Step Pulley System to dial in low, medium and high-speed ranges
  • 3/4 HP electronic variable speed motor

Pros: perfect for small shop, good lathe for a beginner at a great price, very little required for setup, the reversing function works great for sanding, the variable speed is really handy and works flawlessly, the belt is easy to change from one speed range to another, there is plenty of power there to actually turn a big chunk of wood, does not require a lot of room.

Cons: the short throw on the tail stock screw, came with the lathe is only a 6″ tool rest…



#6. RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe

  • Easy Access Speed Change
  • Self Ejecting Tail Stock
  • Laser engraved ram with 2-1/2-Inch travel
  • Ability to Add Multiple Extensions
  • 1/2HP Motor

Pros: customer service is very good, replaced immediately, great beginner’s lathe, well-made machine for the money, mini variable speed lathe, the lathe is safe, ready to run right out of the box, machining is excellent and alignments right on, it is smooth and no vibration, no lugging down while roughing a turning, easy to change belt speeds, has convenient smooth turning controls.

Cons: speed changes using the belt are a tad difficult, someone noticed the handling or packaging issues

Highly Recommended !!


#7. PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS Commander 10-Inch Variable Speed Midi Lathe

  • Digital readout
  • Vary speeds from 150-4100 RPM
  • SBC microprocessor technology
  • Convenient carrying handles
  • 24 Indexing positions with spindle locking
  • Powerful 3/4 HP motor
  • Easy belt access and removal
  • 3 Year Warranty

Pros: shipped in a very timely manner, centers lined up perfectly out of the box, very good lathe for small projects, great lathe for pen making, already made 10″ serving plates, it is heavy enough to stay put on the table without having to be held down, the belt is very easy to change, very quiet motor, very little vibration, runs smoothly, the speed control works well, the light is really a nice touch, this is well worth the money.

Cons: torque is very low at slow speeds …

Highly Recommended

Lathe Instructions

If you’re new to metal or woodworking and want to know How to Work a Lathe, this is the book to get you started.

In this 260 page book you’ll find an explanation of lathe parts, accessories you may want to chase up as you get more experienced including cutting tools and tool holders, you get operating procedures and machine set-up.

Here is what others thought about this book on how to run a lathe:

D Logan owner R F & M -”Very well written an approach to train the novice machinist. I have seen other books on the subject and find this book starts where it should with very good detail, SAFETY… The book is well laid out and each chapter provides a good question and answer section at the end ..I highly recommend this book..”

Johan Stokman (Fort Worth, TX USA) “Great book for the “true beginner”, me. Very well written, lots of good advice on safety and operations. Just the info you need to get started, now for the next book..”

This book on Lathe Operation and Maintenance is the place to start whether you’re brand new to lathes or need more lathe instructions to build your experience levels.

Other Books for Beginners:

Can you use a Wood Lathe to turn Metal?

This is a question that has been put to me on a number of occasions and the answer (with my tongue in my cheek and fingers crossed behind my back ) is Yes, you can.

But Beware.

A Wood Lathe was never designed to do this.

The chuck is different and has a different holding strength, a wood lathe spins faster and you’ll probably have trouble getting down to metal turning speeds, the cutting tool on a Metal Lathe is held tightly in a vice. (And for good reason)

There are details at E How-Using a wood lathe to turn metal which seem fairly comprehensive BUT don’t even think about trying it out until you’ve lots of experience on a Wood lathe and at least some experience on a Metal Lathe.
The Metal Lathe turning time will at least give you some feeling for what turning should feel like on this type of lathe and maybe some inner warning if the metal starts to get loose.

If you only have a Wood Lathe and need to turn something metal, go and knock on some friends door and call in a favor.

Because it can be dangerous.

Useful Tips For Wood Lathes

People have different forms of pastime. As individuals, we have different things or activities which we like doing. One of the interesting pastimes known today is wood turning.  In fact, it is regarded as something a person must try in his lifetime since the happiness and pleasure it can provide is certainly unexplained. Seeing some actors do it on your favorite movie like an actor acting as an expert turner and how he easily and interestingly throw a pot on the wheel just pushes you to do the same. What’s more fascinating is when you see that the turner is able to beautifully shape an ordinary piece of wood into something magnificent and impressive. With wood lathes, you’ll definitely have fun and enjoy wood works. Who knows, it can be added to your hobbies or it could eventually become a business of your own where you could possibly earn lots of money.

In addition, before thinking about a lot of ideals, of course you have to make this dream a reality first. In wood turning, you have to look for the wood lathe to help you work on your best. You have to select the most appropriate features of your lathe, pick the right set of tools and sharpening and safety equipment, you must also choose the polishes and abrasives that you’re going to use. Moreover, you have to learn how to pick and use the free wood. It is advisable to see some workshop which can provide you useful information in starting your wood turning new hobby and career.

For More safety information of Wood Lathes: safety operating procedure

Once you know and learn about best wood lathe, its also imperative to learn and understand how to make these tools last longer. It is always safe to keep your chisels tidy and sharp. You may use a soft cloth in cleaning and wiping your chisels to remove any type of dirt or buildup. You may also put some oil on it to prevent it from rusting. 

To do most of wood works we use wood lathe tools most of the time so it is important to keep them sharp and well-maintained too. After every use, it is recommended to clean the chisels and remove any buildup that was stocked otherwise it may have ill effects on your tools in the long run. This simple step can greatly help in prolonging the lifespan of your tool and you can always rely on its sharpness and usefulness every time you use. However, it is not advisable to sharpen your chisels all the time; this might grind them a bit and might affect its sharpness and performance. It is wise to seek expert’s advice regarding the proper care of your chisels.

As a whole to prolong your wood lathe service, you need to have regular sharpening and cleaning to keep them at their best. This is also to make your wood works as excellent as you wish them to be. Only purchase the type of equipment and tools which you can afford and always prioritize quality.

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