Here at Atlantic Aspiration, we pride ourselves on offering our users straight to the point information when they are looking for a piece of equipment, whether you are talking about a plasma cutter or a wide belt sander.
We are well aware of the fact that there are other websites out there that also sell a bunch of these products, and we want to ensure that the transparency is what sets us apart from the rest, why you can always rely on the information we are sharing with you.
While we do want to sell wood lathes, we also want to actually ensure that you are getting the one that best fits your needs, and that we are not encouraging you buying something that is either way out of your budget, or that doesn’t match what it is that you need.
While we have listed all the wood lathes that we have for sale on this specific page, we want to teach you a little bit about what it is you need to be aware of when you are choosing the one best suited to get the job done in the situations that you require it to get the job done in.
While you may like it or not, that means that we will be walking you through a bunch of the things that you need to look out for, and we will also give you a bunch of the most popular options on the market that other users tend to gravitate towards.
We have in fact written an article that quickly covers the best mini wood lathes on the market that can help you understand what some of the most popular options out there are.
Before we get into the best wood lathes specifically for you, let’s start out by looking at what it is you should be looking out for.
What to look for
Before you can actually start figuring out what your needs are and comparing the various models on the market, you should know what it is you might potentially be looking for as each model will have slightly different pros and cons, and come in at slightly different price tags also.
It would be a shame if you spent a lot of money, just to find out that the lathe you purchased is lacking very important features to you, which would be the case no matter if you’re looking for a lathe, or you are looking for a TIG welder – the answer is always to do more research and then make your decision when you have considered all the various options.
Without further ado, here are the things you should look for.
- Size – lathes come in different options and sizes, and as you could see from the fact that we made an article that was specifically targeting the smaller options in the market, there are mini ones and then there are bigger ones also, with your individual needs dictating whether one of them is better for you than another. If you are working on more sizable projects, you will naturally want to also choose a model that reflects that, although these will naturally also be bigger than the smaller options. The 3 different sizes you should know about are the mini, midi and full wood lathe, and if you use the filters on this page, you can choose to see all the different models we have for sale that fall into those specific sizes.
- Portability – the same way that you may want to consider portability when you are looking for the best plasma cutter or the best engine driven welder, it may also be a consideration you want to think about when you’re buying a lathe. Will you be doing most of the wood work out of a shop, or will you require being able to move the device around at your convenience? Whereas the smaller models will obviously be more portable, they have other limitations that could be more important for you than portability. The mini lathes are obviously the most portable ones, but you won’t be able to get the same amount of power out of those machines that you may get out of a bigger one. While it will definitely make it less portable, a heavier base will make for safer and more stable operation throughout.
- The measurement of the bed – while the more traditional models have a fixed bed, you can find the newer ones that are extendable instead, which may be something that interests you, although it may not always be ideal. For instance, if you are buying a small version, we do not encourage you to buy one with an extendable bed as it won’t be as good at handling the vibrations caused by the machines, where you will get a lot safer operability from having one with a fixed bed instead. You should also consider the ideal placement of your elbows relative to the machine as it will cause less strain on your back when the elbows are the same height as the spindle.
- Motor – if you are looking for a lathe with good speed settings being offered, it is important you look into this prior to choosing the right model for you. When you are dealing with bigger projects, you will naturally need machines that have more variable speed options, too. Generally speaking, the smaller machines will also have fewer speed options than the bigger ones do. Before buying a machine, consider the motor options that will best suit the projects you will regularly be dealing with, and whether you will need a lot of options, or whether you are happy with something simpler.
- Headstock – the type of headstock you will want depends on the type of projects you will be working on, where you can choose between a pivoting headstock, or you may want a standard thread.
- Tool rest – is it important for you that you get a machine that has more than one tool rest or not? You may want to seriously consider how easy it is to switch between the locked positions with various tools, as that will play a huge role when you are actually using the machine.
- Power switch – having the power switch in the position that is most convenient for you will ensure that you don’t grow tired of the lathe a month into owning it. It can be hugely beneficial for you to consider where you want the power switch to be so that you can easily turn off the machine when you’re using it.
- Cost – it is clear that you don’t want to purchase the most expensive machine if you have a very limited budget, however, we do encourage you to stay realistic in what it is that your budget will be able to afford you. If you have certain very specific requirements, you may just find that those aren’t possible with the budget you are trying to stay within. We don’t want you to spend more than you are comfortable spending, but we can help you find the one that matches both your budget and your needs the best.
If you are just starting out, you may be able to get away with a more budget lathe, whereas someone with a wood shop will probably require more functionality given just how often the piece of machinery will be used. By considering your individual needs, you can find the piece of equipment that matches both your needs and your budget. While we don’t want you to get a model that is too cheap for you either, we want you to get one that meets your needs.
Jet Tools is a popular manufacturer of wood lathes, and we carry a lot of their various models for sale here on our site, including the 1236, the JWL-1221vs and the JWL-1440vsk. You can also find the popular benchtop JWL-1221vs, or check out the 1642 or the JWL-1015, all of which will be able to serve customers a little bit differently, depending on whether you want something smaller, bigger or more powerful. There is not one single machine on the market that will be perfect for all types of uses.
Craftsman is another popular brand that our users are gravitating to, with their popular model 113, which is a beautiful and popular 12 inch option that can get most of your advanced projects done in a very easy manner.
Delta is also an important contestant when it comes to solid, quality manufacturers of wood lathes , and we definitely encourage you to check out a bunch of the models they have that include the 46-700 and the 46-715, as well as their slightly less popular but also quality machines that are the 46-450 and the 46-460. Do they want to make you get started on your wood project already? We are sure getting excited, just writing this information about these machines.
When you are buying a piece of equipment from Nova, you are not just buying something that you know will be gone tomorrow. Nova is a company that has been around since 1980 and with the decades of experience in the field, they have gotten very good at producing the types of equipment that woodworkers around the country love. If you look online, you will find a bunch of people reporting being happy with the Nova 1624 that has a comfortable slow speed at roughly 200RPM.
What is the best one to buy?
While we do want to be able to give you a simple answer to that question, reality is that there isn’t a single machine that will be able to be the best one for everyone. Among the more popular models are the Jet JWL-1440VSK and the the JET-1221VS wood lathes that seem to be able to do the trick for the vast amount of our users.
A good option for beginners
If you are a beginner, we are finding a lot of users gravitating towards the NOVA 46300 and the RIKON 70-100, which are also very popular options if you are looking around the internet.
Is wood turning difficult?
When you get started and truly get going with woodturning, it is something you might just end up falling in love with, as it can be a very rewarding feeling. As with anything else, it is still a skill that you need to practice before you get good, and we wouldn’t say that it is all too difficult if you really put your mind and heart to it, and really dig into the practice, but it’s not something that you will get good at after a couple of hours either. Like with anything else, if it was that easy to get good at, would it really be worth it?
If you are still very much a beginner and haven’t even tried out the practice yet, we may just encourage you to seek out other people in your area that have a lathe already available and see if you could get them to actually let you practice a little bit before you commit to buying one. You may either find that it is something you really love doing, or you may otherwise find that you are simply looking to do so on a very occasional basis, but it could help you figure out which of the things we previously listed, are really important for you, and what sort of budget you are comfortable with for the given purchase.
So, what is a good wood lathe machine?
From reading this far, we hope that you are realizing that there isn’t a machine that works for everyone but rather that your individual needs dictate what a good one is for you. You will probably be excited to know that we are currently working on a tool that will help you in making up your mind on which piece of equipment would work the best for you. What it will do is that it will as you a bunch of questions regarding your various preferences, including portability and budget, and we will then be able to come up with recommendations as to which machine best match with those preferences you have indicated.
Are wood lathes dangerous?
It is important to know that when you don’t operate a wood lathe the right way, it can be a dangerous piece of machinery that you are working with. That is especially when the wood starts turning too fast, at which point pices can break off and people can end up badly injured from it. Think about wooden fragments being thrown around in the air and what it can do to you if it accidentally goes where it is not supposed to go. While we already talked about it before, one of our safety tips is that we in fact ask our users whether they are requiring something that is portable or not, as the added stability from a heavier base does have its advantages that you can’t deny.
There are a bunch of things that you will want to ensure that you do before you power on the machine in order to ensure your safety, and those include some of the obvious things like ensuring that you have proper face protection whenever you are about to turn on the machine. You’ll also want to ensure that there is no hair or anything that can get caught in the process, why long hair must be safely secured and any loose objects should be removed or kept far away from the spinning machine that can otherwise catch on to them. It’s additionally important that you make sure that you aren’t powering the machine on at the wrong speed, and you should be sure to check it before it is turned on.
Besides that, there are some other safety rules that need to be followed, which includes that you keep a balanced stane around the lathe, and avoid using the machine if you are feeling unwell in any way. You do not want to accidentally end up falling onto or leaning against a spinning lathe!
When you are about to clean the machine, it’s important that you power it off before the cleaning process is initiated. While it may seem tempting to use your hands for the purpose, they’re not used for cleaning the machine, where you should rather use a brush that can remove the chips and debris that are the inevitable result of its operation. We understand that you may be tempted to skimp on some of the safety measures, but it really isn’t worth it if any accident ends up happening!
While it shouldn’t be necessary to say, it is obviously dangerous to operate a wood lathe, and doing so when you are either not feeling well or if you are under the influence can lead to some really serious injuries. When you are powering off the machine, you will also want ot make sure that it comes to a complete stop with no additional spinning parts before you leave it.
While it is important that no one ends up falling on or leaning on a spinning wood lathe, it is achieved by taking the necessary safety precautions, which can include a safety perimeter of three feet when someone is using it. That way, you ensure that no one ends up getting hurt by the debris or sawdust from the machine. You should also be aware that even though your woodshop may have slipresistant flooring in it does not mean that you can necessarily rely on the floor the asme way when it has been covered in sawdust from the lathe. Even if you don’t end and fall of this piece of machinery, you should still make sure that you are aware of some of the potential hazards that stem from the sawdust covering the floor. Falling can be dangerous no matter where you do it, but especially if you are walking around a woodshop where the likelihood of sharp objects is rather high.
While it would be great if you could avoid pieces of wood coming off the piece that you are working on, it’s inevitable and it is better that you actually know where you should be positioning yourself to lower the risk of getting hurt. The “red zone” or “firing zone” are where you are most likely to end up the victim of flying debris, which, as you can imagine, is right in front of the lathe. If you are looking at the person who is operating this machine, you should make sure that you stay out of the dangerous zone, and the operator should additionally be keeping their hadn on the switch so that it can easily be powered off when need be.
Our recommendation when you use a wood lathe is that you ensure you are using the right protective gear for your eyes. If a piece of wood hits your eye, the consequences can be really bad. The face shield or eye protection that you are wearing should be one that covers in any imaginable way that would be impacted by flying debris. You should also be wearing a hearing protection when you are using this machine.
Whether you are working on a piece of machinery like the wood lathe or whether you are using the woodshop’s wide belt sander, you are operating a piece of machinery that has the potential to do some serious damage. Because of this, your undivided attention should be towards making sure that no one gets hurt in the process of working on the wood, not you, nor anyone else. What that means is that if the wood lathe is on, you shouldn’t be doing other things at the same time, like having conversations with other people.
There are also other dangers that you may not be aware of because they aren’t quite as easy to spot as getting debris hitting your eye. Sanding anything will cause the accumulation of dust, and as a consequence you’ll be experiencing its carcinogenic effects over time that are irritants that can eventually lead to respiratory issues if you aren’t making sure that you are taking safety seriously. As a consequence, it’s imperative that you use a mask when you are doing anything that creates dust, and that includes wood spinning.