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Charnwood W880 Lathe - are theya good 'step up from beginner' lathe

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SteveI

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Hi all, I am after some advice.

I have the opportunity to get a Charnwood W880 lathe for a very respectable price and wondered what everyone's thoughts were on

a) Charnwood products in general
b) this lathe compared to, for example. the Nova Saturn/Record Power lathes?

It seems, on paper, a very robust machine with a lot of scope for a variety of projects. I turn everything from pends to bowls but am currently limited on my Nova Comet II lathe due to the height over the bed.

All help/advice/opinions gratefully received.
 

Sachakins

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Didn't think of compressed cream cheese, same idea but brown and gooey after a curry....
 

Robbo3

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Going by the specs, definitely a step up in capacity but finding someone who has first hand knowledge of both lathes is unlikely.
If the price is right, go for it - taking into account the change in spindle threads.
 

okeydokey

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If its a very respectable price go for it and enjoy ------------- if by any chance its not to your liking just sell it probably wont lose much and you will have a better idea of what you want for the next one
 

SteveI

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Thanks everyone.

I didn't realise there were some strongly negative sentiments around Charnwood.

It is the same price as a new Axminster AC370WL so a pretty decent price from what I can tell, although the negativity regarding build quality is a little off-putting
 

Droogs

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I have owned one (Charnwood) and used both. My comment is in fact based on experience. I also had a charnwood bandsaw which had been cast wonky and drilled for trunions etc off centre and out of line (twice - original and replacement).

They are bovine gardening paste pure and simple. They look a great deal because of all the extra you get. But you get that extra because they can afford to give it to you. I wonder why? They prey on the niavite of the newbie who knows no better and by the time they do it is too late to change it
 
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clogs

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Droogs
not sure of that model of lathe......looked via google ....guess it's not better or worse than the other modern
smallish lathes.......
I was kinda hoping it was one of the heavy earlier models like mine......
swivel head, varia speed via adjustable belt pulley plus the stepped pulley system as well.....did everything I wanted...
Now upgraded to a Wadkin RS....still wont sell the Poolewood....just to nice......
mine is still in it's packing crate but I think the early ones were made in Tiawan....which is ok by me...
 

Auldfart2010

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I have a WP813 and it works very well. It would be interesting to know if Record lathes are made in China now. The W880 apears to have a motor twice the size of the WWP813 so I would expect it to be stronger etc. It's very easy to trash the Chinese Assembly process. But like anywhere in the world there are fakers and cowboys.
 

Richard_C

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My Record DML305 is made in China, my Axminster Bandsaw is made in China.

Lots of high end phones are made in China, some pretty advanced electric cars, some airliners.

China can make to whatever standard you are prepared to pay for. If a "brand" says make a working lathe as cheaply as possible you will get low cost components, unskilled assembly and precious little quality control. If they say make us a world beating machine no expense spared, that's what you will get.

The same applies no matter where it is made. I have an ancient Rolli B series camera made in Singapore, just as good as a German made one because the brand set out what it wanted. A Sony amplifier made in Malaysia will be as good as one made in Japan.

It doesn't help with the Charrnwood decision, but don't blame China for poor quality, look at the importer. Depends what they told them to make.
 

Droogs

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Im not blaming the workers just pointing out the low level of quality even for the price
 

Duncan A

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Charnwood sell what are very much low budget machines and equipment.
Usually manufactured to a low quality, but can do the job as long as you get a "good" one. Droogs has obviously been unlucky in that respect, which indicates very poor quality control. They have/had a tablesaw which was poorly finished but well regarded so not everything is truly awful. Other companies often sell the same product with better spec and quality control, and not always for much more cost.
You really need to be able to inspect the machine for alignment, smooth running, acceptable castings etc and then make your decision based upon what you find. If it does what you want and the price is right, then go for it.
.....but don't buy Charnwood chuck jaws. Unless they've improved them recently, they fully meet Droogs' description!
Duncan
 

Davey44

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When Great Britain made machines and hand tools and was one of the only sources for most things, largely because there weren't as many importers for such things, or in a minority of cases, those manufacturers didn't have access to the technology.
As time passed and foreign companies had bought and reverse engineered many of the items we were producing ourselves, they were able to sell them back to us at a lower cost and at a similar level of engineering.
Certainly we began to purchase them in greater numbers over time and our 'suppliers' began to make improvements in their top-end models such that they became more desirable across the market.

I have no brief for the so called 'Chinese manufacturers' or their products, but having bought and used a number of machines made in China I have found that some have had very minor discrepancies, while others needed some major attention to make them acceptably accurate.

That's life eh? Paying more often gives a better piece of gear, but it doesn't always follow.
 

Democritus

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My Record DML305 is made in China, my Axminster Bandsaw is made in China.

Lots of high end phones are made in China, some pretty advanced electric cars, some airliners.

China can make to whatever standard you are prepared to pay for. If a "brand" says make a working lathe as cheaply as possible you will get low cost components, unskilled assembly and precious little quality control. If they say make us a world beating machine no expense spared, that's what you will get.

The same applies no matter where it is made. I have an ancient Rolli B series camera made in Singapore, just as good as a German made one because the brand set out what it wanted. A Sony amplifier made in Malaysia will be as good as one made in Japan.

It doesn't help with the Charrnwood decision, but don't blame China for poor quality, look at the importer. Depends what they told them to make.
These days, everything is made in China . Some stuff is great, and some stuff is crapolla. The difficulty is knowing which is which.
 

woodfarmer

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It is nigh on impossible to know if what you are buying is good or not.
Re the Chinese rubbish,, I bought a Chinese metal cutting bandsaw from Clarke 30+ years ago, and a Chinese Fox bandsaw about 6-7 years ago. The metal cutting bandsaw has run perfectly, only in last 5 years needing a power switch and a drive belt. The drive belt failure was mine, as I left it cutting something thin with a bigger than normal toothed band as Prior I had been cutting 3" diameter hard steel. A tooth jammed and by the time I returned the belt was smoking. One phone call to clark (machine mart) and problem solved. The Fox I call the crapomatic. Sometimes I can use it 2 or three times before another repair is needed. There is also the need to change all the bearings each year and currently the table has warped along the groove where the band slides. One side is noticeably higher than the other. This offers the useful feature of cutting non vertically as the workpiece rocks.
You can't go by supplier either. I have bought much from Axminster, the after sales has been excellent . The face plates all fit their lathe perfectly. But the sk114 chuck is a loose fit and rocks on the spindle of the lathe. all the chucks and faceplate on my 1920's metal turning lathe fit perfectly, even the chuck on the adapter plate I made recently (1970)
I bought a set, plus a couple of individual Crown cryo turning tools. All of them have been excellent. I have bought other top range tools from other well known suppliers with variable results. Some work fine others not so good. None have been better that any of the crown cryo tools.
I have come to the conclusion the only way to be sure is to rent what you want for a month or so with an option to buy. Fat chance! That would do away with all the hype and misrepresentation. These days much of the advertising and some of the trading seems to be based on deceit.
sorry for the rant :(
 

Adam W.

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I have a habit of finding out where the item is made and never buy Chinese tools.

I'd rather support European, American, Australian or British small scale industrial manufacturing as much as possible, so ended up with a Vicmarc lathe and Simon Hope tools. I'm not that impressed with the modular turning tools and won't be replacing them when they wear out. It has nothing to do with the quality, which is excellent, but I find the constant changing over of the tool in the handle to be a real drag.

I bought a Vicmarc because I wanted a large turning capability over the bed and only ever wanted to buy one lathe in my life. Judging by the build quality, it'll last my grandchildren out too and all the accessories and spare parts are easy to get here.

All the tools carry a high resale value and the Lie-Nielsen tools sell on the secondhand market for more than I paid for them and they were bought secondhand off ebay years ago.
 
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