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Which first lathe?

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Wanlock Dod

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Hello Folks,

I'm considering getting a lathe in the near future, but not too sure what to go for. It will just be for light hobby use, and to be honest I've no idea what I want to turn but it seems like quite a nice way to use up scraps of wood and I rather liked the idea that some things could be finished on the same day as they are started (well for some folks anyway).

My ponderings thus far have lead me to a couple of possibilities, a Perform one (CCL) and a Record one (DML36SH)

http://www.axminster.co.uk/recno/4/product-Perform-CCL-Variable-Speed-Lathe-21724.htm

http://www.recordpower.co.uk/index.pl?p=DML36SH-MK2&a=i

I have a Perform planer thicknesser, which was a good deal cheaper than any of the competition at the time, and it's fine for my very limited use, but it really isn't the best made piece of equipment. Meanwhile Record seem to have had a little prestige to their name, at least in the past, but this is (buy their own reckoning) a cheap lathe.

So I'm wondering if anyone can offer any recommendations either way, or offer up any other potentially suitable candidates (ideally not more than a couple of hundred squids).

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Cheers,

Dod
 

Horst Hohoff

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Hi Dod,
Woodturning is a highly infectious business; once you get the virus there's no known cure. Taking this into consideration I would always go for the higher quality. A cheap lathe might be enough to get an idea of how to use the tools properly, but you might soon discover that its not up to your needs at all. And if you're not sure if you're really going to enjoy woodturning, why not take a course first and see how you like it. If you don't like it, you haven't got a useless machine standing around, that might be hard to get rid of.
 

Wanlock Dod

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Horst,

Thanks for your thoughts.

On a related note, if anybody knows of anyone who might be able to provide a days turning tuition in or around SW Scotland please let me know (If I can do it in the next month of so I might even be able to get work to contribute - and I'm an ecotoxicologist :roll: ). Otherwise I shall have to rely on any local amateurs, of which I've already met one, for advice of a more practical nature.

I help out with a local scout group and one evening they turned small keyrings. The thought that half a dozen roudy 10 year olds could each produce a worthwhile one in about an hour (10 mins each) was something of an inspiration.

Cheers,

Dod
 

DKMWT

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Hi Dod
I belong to Plymouth Wood tunrers and have heard bad things about the perform lathe from a beginner. It gets hot and cuts out very quickly.

But any of the other lathes that are structually the same as the perform are OK. The Axminster M900 is the same shape and possibly the same weight but it ends there. The spec is a lot better.

I started out with this one http://www.machinemart.co.uk/product.as ... 2129&g=116
it did me fine until my shed got burnt out and I took the chance to upgrade.

Having said that, I agree totaly with Horst.

Cheers Donald
 

PowerTool

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Hi Dod - I would start with the basic question of "how much space do you have?"
If you have enough space for a freestanding lathe,I believe the Perform CCL is basically the same as the Clarke one listed above,but a great deal cheaper (and £40 cheaper than in the last Axminster catalogue)
Important bit to consider is accessories - it is easy to spend more on a good chuck than on the lathe itself :shock: - look for something that gives you the chance to upgrade it later if you get smitten.
And HSS chisels are the only way to go,and.....it's a slippery slope :lol:

Andrew
 

woodbutcher1

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Hi.
I had a Perform CCL lathe for approx 18mths, i did have a few problems with it. Cutting out, unable to turn the stuff i wanted to as the machine was not up to it, i.e slowing down when pressure was applied to it. Luckily i didnt pay to much for it as it was second hand.
I have now moved onto the Record, brilliant lathe, admitedly it is the CL4, but i did learn on a Record DML at my local Club, my best advise is to save and get the best machine you can afford.
 

geoff_tulip

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have a look a a few second hand lathes around - of reputable make. as long as the bearings and alignment are ok. you may find you will get a superior lathe for the same price a new one - maybe tools and all. try and source one from a local club - they are less likely to sell on their problems. a harrison jubilee may be around your price. www.lathes.co.uk sell used lathes as do g&m tools and scott sargeant.
it may be important to think of what you want to make now - beofre you buy - it doesnt take long before you are expanding your ideas etc.. and the wrong lathe now may leave you stuck with it for a while....
good luck
you would be welcome here - just the irish sea between us !!
 
A

Anonymous

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For tuition check out the AWGB and the Register of Professional Turners sites... there's a link from my site if google doesn't bring them up 8)
 

SVB

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I would recommend eBay here I think. Look for an Axminster White lathe, either the M900 or M950 are excellent. You should be able to pick one up for the price of the perform and you will have a much better item in the end.

You may even get some tools or a chuck thrown in if you are lucky.

Simon
 

Wanlock Dod

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Thanks for the advice one and all :D

There is a Union Graduate on E-bay at the moment, but its a bit out of my price range.

I'm looking at swivel head lathes, because this seemed to be a good idea in terms of the possibilities for bowl turning in the future. Presumably this is generally considered to be a good thing, although arguably another thing that could go wrong.

There are even some tuition possibilities no too far away.

Thanks again all,

Dod
 

treefella83

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my first lathe was from machine mart the five speed single tube bed lathe.
i was beside myself with anger when i set it all up and it would not switch on and after 3 phone calls i had to take it a part box it up take it back and exchange it for another one.
when i got home and opened the box it was clearly a second hand lathe so again i went back to exchange for another one.
got home and set it all up and this time every thing was ok but the tail stock was not alined with the head stock , there is a small grub screw to adjust the tail stock but i had to undo this to move the tail stock along the bed bar any way i kept the lathe and modified it myself.
speed changeing was a little job in itself but still this was my first lathe so i couldnt compare it to anything else.
i had it for about nine months untill every thing went wrong.
with the machine running the no volt release switch wood start to buzz and then turn off, the locking bar for the indexing plate just vanished, the spindle was not running true and i had to wear ear plugs becouse it was so noisy.
i did some weekend work to earn enough cash to get a new lathe.
i bought the record power cl1 and got the bowl turning attatchment free for £300 which was more than i wanted spend but my woodturning and confidence has come on leaps and bounds.
ok the lathe is not half as good as the pro lathes out there but its solid sturdy accurate and above all quiet.
ive been a bit naughty and just turned a 16 x 4 inch friut bowl on it record say you should turn a max off 15 inches but the lathe did it with ease a little under power for such a lump of wood but i was gentle with it .
its hard not to get bitten by the woodturning bug i even pinch the sticks that the dog brings back after going for a walk .
pure madness but good honest fun
 

CHJ

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I have the cheap Perform Lathe you mention Dod, it did need a bit of attention with tailstock alignment and the first belt did not last long whilst it polished up the variable drive flanges, the replacement belt is still going strong. Regular cleaning and lubrication of the variable drive system in accordance with the manual is advisable. I do it about once a month.

It does not have a great deal of power and it is possible to stall it quite easily on larger diameter items but I found that a blessing as a beginner as it usually meant that I was being too brutal anyway.

All of the items in my turnings gallery have been produced on it including some large ones seen HERE

The advice to buy the best you can afford is sound, but if like me limited funds have to be stretched to tooling and support equipment like dust protection and control as well, then all I can say is that it works for me.

If lotto comes up next week then it will be a different story.
 
G

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I have the CCLB axminster and it does all I ask of it. The only fault I have is the lightweight steel legs but I am going to re-enforce them by bolting on some mdf sheets to box in the back and sides.
 

Wanlock Dod

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Thanks for all the comments.

Just to update this one, I opted for the Record lathe.

The reasoning behind this was that I discovered a Record dealer less than 10 miles away (a bit of a shocker when you live in Back-o-Beyond). Whilst the product was a bit more expensive than the Axminster option it is always nice to keep business local. Axminsters deliveries to up here cannot be guaraunteed for any particular date.

After not very long the motor refused to turn over, although the head stock was quickly swaped by the dealer, so apart from a bit of down-time there were no problems.

I'll try to post a review when I have gained a bit of experience of using it.

Cheers,

Dod
 

Les Mahon

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Dod

Interesting - I had exactly the same problem with my record lathe! They sent me a new motor, but it makes a fair bit of racket - i think I'm going to try to get the original motor fixed one of these fine days by a friend who works at that sort of thing!

Pretty poor QC I would say, but the support was good, and they sen a replacement motor no quibbles.

Les
 

Wanlock Dod

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Les,

I get the feeling, from both my experiences and other comments about Record on here, that the stuff is unlikely to be great from the word go but that once all of the issues are sorted it can be fairly good stuff (for the price). Time will tell.

Cheers,

Dod
 
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