Which lathe would you choose?


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7 Oct 2013
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Hi everyone! I graduated a few months ago and have since become pretty obsessed with the idea of wood turning (as much as I can be without having tried it!). I used to do a lot of woodwork as a kid (building chests, boxes, kits etc) and have been working in the garden last few weeks so I'm not a complete stranger to working with wood but I've never used a lathe before.

I've already learnt so much from watching videos and reading through forums (mainly this one) over the last couple of weeks but I'm still at a bit of a loss as to which lathe to choose and I know I've not scratched the surface!

So here's my question: I have next to no money (around £150) which I know won't get me anything decent but I'm eager to try my hand at turning. I've picked out some used models so if they really are dreadful I won't be out of pocket by too much. Which of the following would you choose?

I've found a near new SIP-01488 - around £50

also a used and pretty distraught looking Multico WL-37 - in top picture - which I'm sure is the same as the Clarke CWL12D & Ferm FHB940

and also I did have an opportunity to get a Record Power RPML300 in good nick but I missed it and the only one I can find now looks pretty beat up so I'm currently waiting to hear back from the seller to see if he's got the base bars and tailstock.

What I'm interested in eventually doing is bowl turning, and specifically segmented bowl turning (which I imagine will mean a lighter load than working with a solid piece of wood) - both the Multico and the SIP have pretty large turning diameters (12" & 14") which I doubt I'll be using but I'm unsure whether the Multico has a 1/3HP Motor or a 1/5HP Motor. It's obviously heavier and I think can run at 3200RPM. Whereas the SIP can only hit 2500RPM and is probably a little more flimsy.. Maybe I should just wait till my pockets are a little deeper? I'm not sure how much these differences will impact me and frankly don't have any experience to guide me otherwise lol, so I'm in need of some help!

Would adding weight (bricks or sandbags) and bolting to railway sleepers help prevent unwanted vibrations? What about mounting the lathe onto rubber or silicone strips?

I was also wondering whether the 3/4" 16TPI spindle both machines have would be able to accommodate a cheap and cheerful chuck, or whether there are adapters available (I don't know if they require hollow spindles)! haha, the more I write the more bodgejob this is sounding, I guess it's a 1UP from building one out of old bearings, clamps and a lawnmower motor!

..which was also on the cards btw haha.

Anyway if anyone could help I'd really appreciate it, I'm not really able to make it down to my closest club and I seem to be making the transition from struggling student to starving artist pretty quick lol! :)



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That first one is absolutely the worst lathe on the market. I've heard lots of stories from turners that got one and got burned badly by the experience and I've never (!!) read of someone being satisfied with them. Basically, you're buying yourself frustration and there's enough ways to get that for free.....

The second one can't be worse, so it must be better. How's that for a ringing endorsement?
The third one is incomplete - until that is solved, not advisable.

For that kind of budget (are tools and a sharpening solution included in the 150 pounds?) I'd still advise you to get in touch with a local woodturning club. Spending a few quid on getting there saves money in the end. Look around there, try some lathes, decide if it's really worth it, inquire after used lathes from members, see if you can loan one for a few months and all the while, save money for a real one.
I have had loads of Myford ML 8s’ that I pay about £150.00 for them and brake them for spares and at least double my money. Good starter lathe. Now i have a union graduat but still keep buying the myfords
Keep your eye on ebay. There are a few there at the moment worth looking at, coronet, Axminster, record, all within your budget at the mment. Also keep your eye open for Avon lathes, the Tyme is a good lathe and often go chaply.

I was looking at that last one on Ebay the other day, it seems to be a dedicated bowl lathe, as you can see, the rest assembly is designed to screw to the bench, not run along bars like the other Records. I was wondering how many speeds it has, but provoding you never ever want to spindle turn it wouldn¡t be a bad buy. A bit limiting becasue you can't start off between centres, but at least it's good quality. Depends on what it goes for.
Like you I have recently taken up this amazing hobby. I got hold of an old ELU db180 lathe on fleabay for £100 and although it has non standard spindle thread and attachments it got me hooked. As can be seen from another thread in this forum that lathe has since stopped working due to an electrical fault but I was fortunate enough to pick up a lathe very similar to the one Winemaker has put a link to. I got mine for £200 and it came with a set of Record chisels and an old RP3000 chuck. It has the advantage of a swivel headstock and is variable speed. The spindle thread and tail stock are standards sizes so accessories are easy to find when needed. It will do spindle work up to 36" and can turn up to 10" over the bed and even more with the head swiveled but as its only 3/4" spindle I am a little apprehensive about doing anything too large.

I am also in London near Heathrow so if you are not too far away you are welcome to pop over and have a go.
Hi depending on how far your willing to travel I would keep an eye on something like this starting bid £150 buy it now £250 could get a bargin

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Axminster-Hob ... 19e30b9385

I am assuming your budget is your max for everything therefore you need to take into account the basic bits and bobs that can amount to hundreds very quickly so keep an eye out for someone selling everything the link above is an Axminster lathe with tools, chucks, faceplates bowl extension and even some blanks
This will be good enough to get you going and big enough for the bowls you want to turn

Good luck

Wow, that was quick guys! Thank you very much for all your replies!

jurriaan":w67cn4ww said:
The second one can't be worse, so it must be better. How's that for a ringing endorsement?
Such a good post haha, I guess I better steer clear :lol: and £150 is a rough estimate of what I've got to spend, I'll probably be able to stretch a few more bob but I already have things like sandpaper,sealant/finisher and masks.

winemaker":w67cn4ww said:
have you seen this one in the for sale section lathe-for-sale-t72259.html
Though I did try and find the right section I hadn't! Thanks for letting me know, it looks pretty good =P~

procell":w67cn4ww said:
I am also in London near Heathrow so if you are not too far away you are welcome to pop over and have a go.
That's very kind of you! I'm quite close to Uxbridge so not very far at all, how are you finding your new lathe?

DUNK_WALES":w67cn4ww said:
Hi depending on how far your willing to travel I would keep an eye on something like this starting bid £150 buy it now £250 could get a bargin
Cheers Lee! Funny enough I was just looking at this, if it doesn't go above £180 I'll be able to get a hold of it!

So I guess it's come down the Axminster AWVSL900, the Power CCL (which am I right in saying are the same machine? Any differences in quality?), the RECORD CL? OR the SIP 01940 being sold by Chrispy.

The Axminister looks virtually new and comes with a chuck, callipers and unspecified chisels.
The Power comes with grinder, dust extractor and a whole lot of wood!
The Record is the same as this lathe and comes with the same set of chucks and chisels! lathe-for-sale-plus-accessories-etc-t60745.html
The SIP seems like a better machine (larger, looks heavier, higher wattage motor) but as someone who is unlikely to know better for sometime (even with brief use of a lathe) I'm unsure considering it's little brother (SIP-01488) has brought disgust to many a forum thread I've visited..

In terms of additional tools (chisels, chucks, grinder, extraction, circular sander etc) I know I'm going to need a couple of decent chisels and a chuck to get me started (maybe calipers?) but I'm not too bothered about the rest at the moment as those are things that I can always buy/build in the future or even borrow in the meantime. Obviously if they're included in a purchase it would sweeten things up but I'm focused on getting the best lathe for my money and then accumulating other bits and bobs.

Once again thanks for the help everyone and if anyone can confirm the Axminster & Power are the same machine and maybe give me an insight into whether the SIP 01940 or the Record are better lathes/will last me longer you'd really be helping me out!

procell":9gqt3tf9 said:
PM sent Oz

Hi Keith, sorry for the late reply I can't PM till I've 'participated' more.. Is it alright to give you a shout Sunday?

Im not new to this forum but have not been here for years and forgot old details completely. Been turning wood on and off for many years, big difference is im retired now and have time to turn. So here we go, been turning solidly now for last 3 years with a cl3 which has never been all I expected it to be its always been a little dissapointing mostly because the bearing adjustment has never worked the way it should and record simply say it shouldnt happen. When I adjust bearing tiny increments! and it is just rotatable on spindle I then re tighten the outer locking ring and the whole thing goes slack again?
I have decided to purchase a new and more rewarding lathe my budget is around a grand but where ever I look I see more potentiol problems have read some reviews re record or technatool 1624 44 which are not encouraging and frankly are off putting. Does any one here have any better ideas?

Thanks in advance