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If you are thinking of purchasing a woodturning lathe the following brief information may be of help in deciding which type of woodturning machinery will meet your requirements. It is easy to make the wrong choice and this may restrict the work that you can do. There are many woodturning lathes on the market and some are very poor quality whilst others are well designed and made to last indefinitely. I have not seen a supplier advertising lathes as poor quality so time researching the subject will be well spent.
Think about the size of work that you would like to do, small work pieces can be just as satisfying to make as larger work. The size of the woodturning machinery that you choose will limit the size of the work that can be produced. You can turn small work on a big lathe but the opposite will not apply.
The best lathes are made with heavy cast iron headstock, tailstock and lathe bed to reduce vibration. If a bench top machine suits your requirements it should be secured on a strong heavy bench, as this too will reduce vibration in use.
You will have to consider choosing a lathe with variable speed or manual speed change; variable speed will add cost to your budget. Variable speed control is a great asset with any lathe as the speed can be gradually turned up or down to suit the job in hand, however it is not essential. The alternative system is to have a lathe with manual speed change, this was the only option for turners up to about 20 years ago and it did not inhibit woodturners when making beautiful work.
All of the woodturning lathes listed on this website are of cast iron construction. We do not carry lathes made from light sheet metal because they will not meet the criteria above.
I hope this information will be of help. Happy woodturning.