SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

Reliability, ease of use and durability are some of the critical qualities any tool worth their salt should underscore. This is particularly true when it comes to bench top lathes.

The primary goal of acquiring a machine to perform various jobs is because they make you an efficient and quicker worker.

This is a decent choice for anyone looking to start making their own wooden pieces at home. At first glance, this machine highlights simplicity in design and a kind of attractiveness.

It is the kind of tool that shouts it is ready for anything you throw at it and what more could a starting woodworker look for?

In the following write up, we tell you why it is the benchtop wood lathes you will find anywhere.

Best Benchtop Lathe


Products Description


It is designed for the tabletop or bench top. And like most of the other lathes competing on the market, the tool features a variable speed powered by 1/3 horsepower motor.


The power might not be too much, but it is adequate for most of the woodworking projects you may have. It also features the ability to vary speeds without having to do a belt swap – very convenient for beginners and even for pros.


It has a cast iron body which sets it apart from some of its competitors. The tool weighs approximately 45lbs, sufficient to give it a solid feel while not making it unwieldy.




  • A cast iron body to ensure it overcomes the test of time and for strength – wood lathes need to demonstrate a high level of resilience, and that is only possible if they are constructed on a solid and sturdy material.


  • The wood lathe has 1/3 HP motor that affords you unlimited control over speeds for your projects. Its analog control only adds to the benefits.


  • It weighs 45lbs which is just enough to give it a solid feel and not take away its portability. It will be a shame if it proves too cumbersome.


  • It also has two tool rests and faceplate – pretty basic but worth the mention.


  • The Shop Fox W1704 has a decent alignment off the box. Unless necessary, you are good without the need for adjustment – another good one for beginners.


  • The 8-inch swing and 12 inches between centers is adequate space for turning small pieces such as bowls and pens.


  • This wood lathe has a friendly price – especially good for beginners, and pros looking to make some savings.


  • It has a speed range of between 600 and 3300 RPM you can vary with a knob. This comes in handy when dealing with a variety of hard and soft pieces – you need the ability determine the turning speed for efficiency and production of quality. In some of the tools in the same price range, you may be required to stop the machine before changing the speed – the turning knob is quite convenient.


  • The wood lathe has top quality wooden handles and HSS blades for easier turning.




This lathe has reliable and efficient parts. This not only makes your wooden pieces excellent quality but ensures safety. Any individual looking to try their hand in woodworking is in good hands with this machine.


It is not too large, not too heavy and fits perfectly on the workbench. This means you have a stable workplace for your projects –instances of the wood lathe moving dangerously are minimal.


The machine is also easy to set up that you will not need to keep ringing customer care or your local workshop for tips. There is some level of safety in tools that aren’t too complicated to use – don’t you agree?




  • It is relatively small and not suitable for bigger projects.


  • Some users say that the headstock and the tail may not always align and that is a problem.


  • The 1/3 HP power is not the best when you have some big projects – it is quite limiting.


  • The machine does not have a hand wheel. When on the finishing touches, you may need more control which only a hand wheel can offer. But the company is now offering the feature as an optional accessory.


While it may not have some of the best features you will find around; it packs enough for the price. It is user-friendly and quite safe to use. It is not very heavy and can move it wherever you have your projects.

Many midi wood lathes come with a six-speed option. However, it has an infinite speed meaning that you are getting something better at a favorable price. It may have a few shortcomings here and there, but its benefits far outweigh them making it a decent tool to have around.