Another newbie looking for a lathe

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Sprool

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Not wishing to divert others threads on this topic I'm looking for lathe buyig advice after spending hours browsing the internet and watching youtube videos.
Axminster vs Rutland vs Draper vs ?? any other makes to consider?
Wanting: good chuck, be able to turn bowls up to 12" dia, and spindles up to 20" approx.
Variable speed. Projects will be turned bowls, house ornaments, cast resin dragons eggs, gift boxes, vases, etc.
Any brands to avoid?
Thanks in advance!
 

clogs

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u dont say how much u have to spend.....
BUT
buy something good, Union Graduate or similar...inc Myford....
forget all the cheaper rubbish....inc Axmister.....or copied clones....
With a good lathe u will always get ur money back if u decide to sell....
 

Sprool

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Budget - £750 tops, preferably around £500 then I have some spare for some tools. Not heard of Myford, I guess Axminster and Draper are advertised more but I got the impression Axminster were decent quality?
 

Jameshow

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£500 will get you a decent myford or other old school lathe.

It depends on what your after tbh.
 

okeydokey

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Ok the Myford ML8 lathe was good in its heyday but just consider that they started production in the 1940's and ceased manufacture in the mid 1980's! So a used machine will be in the region of 40 years young so is it the right lathe for a first lathe for someone with £500 -£750? A newer lathe may be more flexible with a newer motor and probably take a better range of chucks and modern accessories.
Suggest look at Record Power DML 320 as well as the makes mentioned it seems to cover all of the requirements listed
 

Sprool

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@Jameshow - do I know what i'm after? I am a newcomer to woodturning but am put off by - as your quote says - the sentimentality of an old machine that ceased manufacture in the mid-80's! My initial post outlines what I think I'm after but I'd prefer a new machine with service and spares options and popularity amongst hobby woodworkers to cover a range of starter projects.
 

clogs

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my Wadkin RS lathe was made in 1939......
admitedley it's a bit heavy but there's nothing wrong with older machine....
I also have a mid 70's Poolwood swivel head...that also works well....
If u want a modern machine go to Axminster or eBay and waste ur money....
 

sawtooth-9

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If you buy some of the pre-1980's stuff, you won't need spare parts and service !
My equipment :
Wadkin RS6 - 1954 and runs like new
Wadkin radial arm saw - around 1980 - runs like new
Colchester metal lathe - around 1984 - just as new
Shaublin 13 metal mill - 1984 - almost as good as new ( high precision machine )
Strands geared head drill press - probably around 1975 - great machine
Need I go on ?
ALL OF THIS GEAR WILL BE RUNNING LONG AFTER THE MODERN STUFF IS STONE COLD DEAD !!!
If you think you really need variable speed, simply add a VFD.
Cheap and nasty - or the REAL stuff ???
Your choice
 

Jameshow

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@Jameshow - do I know what i'm after? I am a newcomer to woodturning but am put off by - as your quote says - the sentimentality of an old machine that ceased manufacture in the mid-80's! My initial post outlines what I think I'm after but I'd prefer a new machine with service and spares options and popularity amongst hobby woodworkers to cover a range of starter projects.
I never said that.....

It's your choice what you buy...
 

Phil Pascoe

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I believe there were 250,000 ML8s made and you will always be able to buy chucks, bearings etc. for them. It is a very good lathe, but you would grow out of it quite quickly. Record CL series are as good as anything for a starter, if a little "agricultural".
Whatever you buy Versachucks are worth looking at (though out of stock atm) as you can upgrade your lathe and keep the same chuck and jaws, just changing the backplate. Versachuck wood lathe chuck. Accepts all leading makes of jaws
As said above, join a club if possible. A bit of experience of different lathes and meeting people with different skills and abilities might change your thinking - you might start wanting to make pens then decide you'd rather make huge bowls.
 

Sprool

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I believe there were 250,000 ML8s made and you will always be able to buy chucks, bearings etc. for them. It is a very good lathe, but you would grow out of it quite quickly. Record CL series are as good as anything for a starter, if a little "agricultural".
Whatever you buy Versachucks are worth looking at (though out of stock atm) as you can upgrade your lathe and keep the same chuck and jaws, just changing the backplate. Versachuck wood lathe chuck. Accepts all leading makes of jaws
As said above, join a club if possible. A bit of experience of different lathes and meeting people with different skills and abilities might change your thinking - you might start wanting to make pens then decide you'd rather make huge bowls.
Theres only one local club here that meets once a month and they have a mini lathe for penmaking. I guess its a good way to start but i definitely want to purchase a midi and turn bigger stuff. If there is little to differentiate the main manufacturers out there then I guess as a starter lathe I should be ok with any that allows 30cm dia and 500mm spindle + + chuck + variable speed? Buying older second hand makes me nervous as I dont have the experience to know if its ok or not. I dont want to buy s'thing off ebay then find the bearings are worn to bits or the motors about to burn out.
 

alex robinson

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£500 - 750 is a decent budget, and you should definitely get something good for that, either vintage, or newer. Something important to remember is that the lathe is not the only cost. While you should try and put as much of your money as possible into the lathe, you will also need some way of mounting timber - a 4 jaw chuck ideally, but at the very least a faceplate, a couple of gouges and a way of sharpening them.

I agree with what people are saying about a club, but it is not essential. I am entirely self taught and managed ok just working things out. It is annoying however when after ages of doing one thing you see a better way, and realise that if you had been talking to people, you would never have gone down the wrong route!

Old cast iron machines such as the myford m8 or graduates are wonderfully heavy, so will do well with heavy off centre pieces. If you want to make large bowls, you will probably be starting with wet chunks of logs (very hard to buy big dry blanks). This needs a heavy machine and as low a speed as possible. 500rpm can feel awfully fast when you start spinning a big chunk for the first time! DC variable speed is the dream, but it is expensive, and a belt based system is ok so long as it has a low bottom speed.

One feature that new machines often have that I really like is a rotating head. This greatly increases the diameter that you can work with, and the convenience. Older machines often have spindles at both end of the headstock, but this needs a chuck for both directions, and generally a free standing tool rest to take full advantage. If large bowls are what excite you, make sure you can grow into your lathe in this respect. I have never used even half of the bed length on mine, and even with a swivel head I always would like to push the diameter a bit more. Remember, a 30cm capacity rarely equals a 30cm bowl in the real world...

My choice in that price range would be a Sorby swivel head lathe. There is one on facebook marketplace including 4 jaw chuck and tools for £750. FB, so may be a scam, but it is a good, (but not too good!) price.
 

Democritus

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I believe there were 250,000 ML8s made and you will always be able to buy chucks, bearings etc. for them. It is a very good lathe, but you would grow out of it quite quickly. Record CL series are as good as anything for a starter, if a little "agricultural".
Whatever you buy Versachucks are worth looking at (though out of stock atm) as you can upgrade your lathe and keep the same chuck and jaws, just changing the backplate. Versachuck wood lathe chuck. Accepts all leading makes of jaws
As said above, join a club if possible. A bit of experience of different lathes and meeting people with different skills and abilities might change your thinking - you might start wanting to make pens then decide you'd rather make huge bowls.
Hi Phil
Generally good advice, but I’m not sure about the Versachuck issue. I was told by another turner that he swore by the Versachuck, as the backplate could be changed to enable different spindles to be used, and, also, that the jaws made by other manufacturers could be used on it. I was most impressed, so I thought I might buy one through Beaufortink. I discovered that the backplate business was true enough, but I asked myself how often would I want to change spindle spec from the now standard M33, and would a new backplate cost less than a new insert for my chuck?
If I wanted to use other manufacturers jaws, I could, but. I would have to first buy the Versachuck jaw carriers appropriate for that manufacturer’s jaws. Needless to say, an extra complication, and an extra cost. If I want to change jaws on my chucks I just change them. I don’t have to start installing different carriers as well.
I suppose it’s a question of personal choice, but I decided against it.
I’d be interested in other people’s opinions of the Versachuck.
D.
 

Jacob

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If you go the 2nd hand way I'd highly recommend the Arundel J4. Totally superior to all the modern rubbish and a pleasure to use. Only 4 speeds but who needs them?
 

Blister

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Good lathes.
Simple and solid.
I would not consider a ML8 nowadays . Single hollow bed bar with a top groove that keeps filling with shavings and dust , Look on fbook market place . Lots to chose from at all different prices
 

Phil Pascoe

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I discovered that the backplate business was true enough, but I asked myself how often would I want to change spindle spec from the now standard M33, and would a new backplate cost less than a new insert for my chuck?
If I wanted to use other manufacturers jaws, I could, but. I would have to first buy the Versachuck jaw carriers appropriate for that manufacturer’s jaws. Needless to say, an extra complication, and an extra cost. If I want to change jaws on my chucks I just change them. I don’t have to start installing different carriers as well.
I suppose it’s a question of personal choice, but I decided against it.
I’d be interested in other people’s opinions of the Versachuck.
D.
Certainly, if you have an M33 to start with - the OP might buy an older lathe. I have a Poolewood 28 - 40 which is a 1 1/2" x 6 thread so I bought an M33 backplate when The Toolpost had everything at half price just in case I ever win the lottery or something.
Most backplates are <£30 so probably not too much different to an insert.
I bought mine primarily because I bought a job lot for £35 (I sold on what I didn't need for £35:)) which included two sets of jaws and a 250mm set of cole jaws, all for Axminster and I had at the time a Nova which I had only one set of jaws for (I sold it). Versachuck carriers take Axminster jaws as well as Versachuck ones (which are way cheaper), so made sense. I took the plunge and bought all the sizes of jaws I didn't have when T.P. closed, and ultimately put carriers on all of them - an expensive option but makes life a lot easier. It's nice to know that if I want something from another manufacturer I can just buy different carriers, and whichever chuck system you choose for ease of use you'll end up buying more carriers unless you go through the rigmarole of changing the carriers over every time you change jaws.
I have two Versachucks and wouldn't change them.
 
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