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Unleash Your Creativity With the Best Wood Lathes
A wood lathe is a very simple and handy machine to have in the workshop. It allows you to turn any Woodstock to create bowls, furniture, pens, and other such wooden objects without going through the hassle of using manual carving tools.
While the wood lathe is a very sought-after machine in woodworkers’ workshops, many woodworkers hesitate in purchasing one due to the high cost. And with a wide range of options, it’s become all the more common for one to unintentionally trade a cheaper price point for a quality build.
Wood lathes are available in different bed sizes and are suitable for small and large projects. Giving you the freedom to choose as per your need, to help you out we’ve curated a list of our favorite wood lathes of 2023.Show contents
Buyer’s Guide to Finding Wood Lathes
What Is a Wood Lathe?
As suggested by its name, a wood lathe is used to carve a Woodstock from a raw wood log or irregularly shaped wood. With a wood lathe you are able to cut, sand, drill, turn and deform the Woodstock as per your need. While wood lathes are only meant to work on woods, using them with hard materials such as metals is not recommended.
How to Use a Wood Lathe?
A wood lathe is a powerful tool that can be somewhat dangerous if you don’t know how to use it properly. Experts suggest that you should get some training, as well as trying out some test pieces before you embark on your project.
When using the lathe, you should start by ensuring that you have tightly secured the piece of Woodstock in the lathe so it won’t fly off when you start working on it. Afterward, place the tool rest so there is a comfortable distance between the wood stock and the cutting head. If you are a beginner, turn on the wood lathe at the lowest speed to get a feel of the resistance that pushes against the cutting tool when you work. If you are experienced in using a lathe, then you can set the speed level as appropriate for the stock that you are working on.
After you are done working, put down the cutting tool away from the lathe and turn off the power.
How to Choose a Premium Wood Lathe?
Type of projects
The first and foremost question you should ask yourself is what kind of projects you plan to do on the wood lathe. Working on small items, like bowls or pens, will require different modes of operation.
The next thing you should consider is the space you have available in your workshop. You should consider whether you have enough space for a full-size lathe with legs, as well as any existing space limitations.
Wood lathe prices can run in the hundreds of dollars, especially those that are made by well-known manufacturers. A good wood lathe will last you for years or even decades, so investing in a good wood lathe might be a good option.
Choosing a Wood Lathe Base: What to Know
Mini lathes are the smallest wood lathes that are available on the market. They have lightweight engines with a typical horsepower of about 1 HP, allowing you to safely turn small wooden objects around as you work on them. A mini lathe takes up space of fewer than 18 inches from center to center, allowing you to fit in pieces that take up less than one and a half feet of bed space
The midi lathe
The midi lathe is bigger than the mini-lathe in every way. While traditional midi lathes use the conventional pulley and belt speed regulation system, newer models offer electronic variable speed settings.
The full-sized lathe
This is the lathe that occupies a considerable amount of space in your workshop, with almost all models being stand-alone with their own legs. The full-sized lathe is used for making longer pieces like table legs since there is no substitute for making these longer pieces. The space between the center of any typical full-sized lathe measures 40 inches or more, with a swing distance measuring over 15 inches.
Here Is the Great Wood Lathe of 20231– Best Overall
The Jet Wood Lathe is a great machine that fills necessary gaps between small, not-so-powerful wood lathes and more expensive and powerful wood lathes. An ideal lathe for beginners and advanced woodworkers who are looking to work with pieces ranging from four to six inches, the lathe can also be used to make bowls, turn spindles and create fantastic craft projects.
The rig is pretty compact and can easily be stored away. It also has a horsepower electric motor and comes with a variable speed control knob, which is fantastic for adjusting your turning speed.2– Best for Small Projects
The Shop Fox Wood Lathe is a portable benchtop lathe that is best for working on small projects, like turning pen barrels or making small caricatures. The lathe weighs only 41 pounds, and it has an 8 1/2-inch swing. Also featuring an interchangeable 7-inch tool rest, it’s an excellent lathe that provides you the right power and gives you a seamless carving experience.
Providing precision and accuracy at the same time, the lathe has a cast iron construction and a large knurled spindle. Its ergonomic grip also allows you to rotate wood objects without changing your centering.3– Best for Beginners
The Rikon Wood Lathe is a simple yet powerful tool that’s a great choice for beginner woodworkers who are looking to explore the craft of woodturning. This machine guarantees quality and performance, and it provides many of the features found on more expensive lathes. Featuring a quality motor that provides ample power for all turning needs, the lathe also has a self-ejecting tail stock and five-speed ranges that allow you to barrel holes and rough out pen billets. Also made from cast iron, it is designed specifically for pen turners who want a sturdy machine for their work.4– Best for Professional Woodworkers36% Off
The Delta Wood Lathe is used for rotating pieces around its axis for drilling, sanding, and cutting. Great for making wooden objects such as table legs, bowls, and pens it’s a very precise tool and ideal for expert woodworkers who have acquired the relevant experience.
The machine has an impressive 12.5-inch swing capacity, which is regarded as one of the largest amongst midi lathes. It has three variable speeds that make it easy to adjust your speed, and it also has a switch that changes the directions—allowing you to sand surfaces without turning them around.5– Budget-Friendly
The WEN Wood Lathe features an MT1 spindle and tailstock taper, as well as two interchangeable work rests that provide support to the chisels and other tools during operation. Also featuring a 2A motor and lever clamping system, this rig includes a useful plate for turning bowls, cups, and other non-spindle workpieces.
Coming to you with a flat wrench, a headstock spur center, a tailstock cup center, and a knockout rod, its cast iron construction provides excellent durability. Great for small projects, its slow start motor also works to prevent motor damage and maximizes safety.
People Also AskedQ: What can I make with a wood lathe?
A: You can make a number of wooden objects, including but not limited to bowls, cups, pans and spoons.Q: What type of wood is best for wood turning?
A: Beechwood is the best wood for wood turning as it is durable and abrasion-resistant, which makes it ideal for making bowls and other wooden items.Q: How long must wood dry before I can use it in the lathe?
A: To make the most out of your woodworking experience, you should research the unique drying periods for the type of wood you’re using. This is because certain types of wood will require different treatment.Q: Do I have to wear safety gear while operating a wood lathe?
A: To look out for your safety, it’s best to wear goggles while working with a wood lathe. This is because flyaway pieces can bring harm to your eyes.