A Lathe recommendation?


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Established Member
12 Jan 2013
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Hi all,

A some of you may have seen in a previous post, I am looking together a lathe, but as I am completely new to this I have little to go by other than recommendation and reviews, all of which seems to be mixed.

Well, I spoke with experienced wood turner tonight who happened to work in a well known power tool store. His advice was the following:

All lathes are simple and very similar.
The casts inside the headstock are usually the same regardless of the maker.
The main differences are the bearings and motor quality.
I should ensure that I get one with a cast base rather than pressed steel.
The sharpening of the tools is the most important part of wood turning and hardest!
He didn't recommend that Clarke but did recommend Record, specifically a CL3.

The record was the one which he said he personally used and found it to be head and shoulder above the others. I asked him about Charnwood and he said they are very average.

I then discovered that they also sell that same Record CL3, which made me wonder if he was trying to get the sale but I have to say, he was extremely helpful and didn't seem to be pushing a sale. He also steered me to some local clubs to have a chat with other wood turners.

Do any of you have experience or advice of this lathe or the same make? Also, do you agree with his advice?

Many thanks


I bought a CL3 from Record - before I could actually use it I had to have the motor changed 4 times.
1st motor blew all the electrics!! 2nd one sounded like a bag of spanners etc etc etc.
Since I got it working I am continually having to tighten the little grub screws that hold the gears onto the spindle otherwise they sound like a short person ringing a bell in the housing!! There are 2 grub screws holding each spindle but they still work loose.
It has a swivel head also which has a nut inside the head that isn't supposed to turn when you tighten it up, mine does & I have to jam a long screwdriver in to stop the nut moving. I could go on but I think you get the picture.

I had a small axminster starter lathe first which I had no bother with at all - wish I'd gone back to them instead of getting a Record!!!

On the other hand - I have had my CL3 for about ten years now and it has performed faultlessly for the entire period, I've actually upgraded it to CL4 spec, (variable speed), but for no other reason than I wanted to.
I understand from other posters on here that the more recently produced models have had issues with the motors but if you come across a 'proven' second hand machine I would definitly give it some consideration.

Regards Mick
most modern lathes are chinese clones and unless you spend mega bucks on a lathe, its usually a bit sub-standard. Have you considered going the older / classic route. I have a Union Jubilee, its a 1950's lathe and still as good as new. there are always a good selection of older lathes on ebay.
I had a cl3 Igit rid if it the
Otor went on it the headstock and tailstock wouldn't allign even after various new parts I also found it quite primitive compared to other makes on the Market in the end I got rid and bought an Axminster 1416 which is superb although it's a lot smaller it has full variable speed 1hp more powerful motor at the end if the day it's all down to personal choice and what you want to turn to how bug a lathe you need my Axminster lathe is smaller than a
Cl3 But it will still turn a 14" bowl over the bed.

Have a look at the Axminster and jet ranges

Good luck if I can help further get in touch