Mini/Midi lathe

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John Carter

Oct 30, 2020, 11:33:56 PM10/30/20
I am almost an intermediate pen turner. I began using
the lathe part of a Shopsmith many years ago, dropped
the hobby because of some issues with my eyesight, but
picked it up again with a Harbor Freight mini lathe.

I found the HF lathe to be entirely adequate in terms of
turning the blanks. I had some problems with it - the
belt broke and it was a struggle to replace it (let alone
find a replacement). I just could not keep it going, so I
used the limited funds to purchase a lathe from Woodturner's
Catalog called "the Apprentice" last year. It was a similar
unit to the HF unit and a Chinese made item.

It too served me well turniung blanks, but when I started
to use a chuck and tailstock drill bit, it became more
inaccurate and had issues withthe tailstock quill advancement.
I talked to the tech support people at Woodturner's and learned
that the unit was not built for doing such blank drilling
operations because the motor was not capable of it over the
long haul (whichi n my case was about a year during the warm
months). He suggested that I could sill drill the blanks, but
with me advancing the tailstock withoit unlocked to the bed. Now
this works fine for all my woods except ebony and pink ivory.
These blnks blow out because I don;t have the physical ability
to carefully advance the bit when breaking through the end of the
blank. It is the same way, but not as severe with the acrylics I
turn. Given all this, I have decided to purchase a better quality
machine with a strongert motor and better accuracy with the
tailstock that is little to no side to sdie wobble.

I am looking at Jet, Nova, a Peenn State private brand, Rikon and
Grizzly. What are the experiences of other turners and what did
you look at when choosing your lathe?

Thanks for any and all responders.

John Carter

Robert Barker

Nov 10, 2020, 8:40:21 AM11/10/20
John, I currently have the Laguna 1216 and love it. Over the several different
shops I've had in the past, I've had both mini and midi lathes and have grown to
prefer the extra size and horsepower from the midi lathes. They're a little
more expensive but worth the cost and expand my capabilities. I've used and
been quite satisfied with the Jet, and older Delta lathes. On this last
purchase, I was looking at Nova, Jet, Laguna, and Rikon. I settled on the
Laguna primarily because the tool rest has 1" posts and the clamp wraps around
the post, not just a bolt jammed up against the post. They are all very similar
and, for me, that was the deciding factor. I would have been happy with any of
them. I'm an old fart now, but still remember the advise from my grandfather...
"There's nothing so expensive as a cheap tool." He explained it's either
quality of work needing a lot more effort to clean things up, constant repairs
or replacement, or even injuries. "Do it right and you only have to do it

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Mac Davis

Dec 13, 2020, 11:22:37 PM12/13/20
On 31 Oct 2020 03:33:25 GMT, John Carter <> wrote:

I've moved up to a 12, then 16" lathe, but the Jet Mini is a awsome
lather for pen turning.
I added a Talon chuck and turned hundreds bowls, vses, etc...
I've had amny folks try to buy it, but I won't part withit... It's now
my "buffing station" using the beale system..

Hop that helps, mac
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