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Thanks for the welcome Alex. I have sent messages since last year to people near where I live (Barnsley) but I guess they're too busy to reply. I think it would be a good idea to go and physically see someone working but I no longer drive so I probably need someone fairly local. I'll keep trying or I'll just go it alone.
Going it alone isn't the worst thing. Like @Stigmorgan I taught myself (after a 30 min session at school to show what the different tools did). If it is difficult to get to a club in person that shouldn't prevent you from having fun and making great things.

There is no getting around the fact that it can be an expensive hobby, especially if you want to buy new. On top of the lathe you probably have to factor in a chuck (min £150) tools (min £140) a way of sharpening (£50 if you already have a bench grinder). A good mask is essential and then you get on to consumables like sanding or finishes. You will probably end up spending about as much on the accessories as on the lathe itself.

Record and Rutlands both seem to offer fairly similar machines at similar prices, I had a quick look at Simon Hope and they look lovely, but starting at £1000.

I don't want to be one of those people banging on about the benefits of second hand - if price isn't an issue then new will be better. Be careful about buying something limiting new and buying again in a year or two!

A 2 minute eBay search turned up this at a similar price to the Axminster one and with basic tools included and it will last a lifetime:
At the cheaper hobby end, I would expect this to go for £200 - £400 (patient searching will get you one near the lower end). Comes with chuck and some starter tools:
If you can manage without electronic speed control, there is very little that can go wrong with a lathe that cannot be fixed fairly simply and cheaply.
Thanks again Alex. The Denford I wouldn't have room for and the Nu-tool is a little underpowered but I appreciate your search. I'll keep looking and one day something will come up.
Hi Diver - Welcome aboard.

Another vote for Record Power and their 5 year guarantee.
I took this up late and decided on a RP DML320.
It has not missed a beat and has been good to/for me. It is almost at the end of the guarantee now.
I believe it is a midi sized machine. I got a deal on a stand with it at the time.
I used this lot who were very good on delivery and pricing.
Hope this helps - I am 65 btw.
I'd like to thank everyone for their help. I've found (and purchased) a second hand variable speed draper for £250 with a 2" 4 jaw chuck and various jaws which I'll have to find out about - some with threads inside and out. It'll do me for now until I see how I get on. When my shed is built I'll probably get a bandsaw and get stuck in. I've been in touch with Glenn Teagle (who was very helpful) about some tools and got myself some carbides to be going on with though I'd sooner learn to use proper gouges but don't have anyone to teach me (I live on YT now).

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