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advice on purchasing a heavy metal lathe for wood working??

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Sekiar, Jun 26, 2004.

  1. Sekiar

    Sekiar

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2004
    Messages:
    7
    Just a few days ago I was ready to order a Jet 1442 wood lathe, however, I have a mini Jet and love it and probably will do 90% of my turning on it. I also have a 13 inch gearhead Jet metal lathe that I use often on metal only, and have been looking at a heave 3-in-1 Grizzy 9729 that offers a 16 1/2 inch swing over the bed and 31 inches between centers. The unit weights about 700 lbs. Why would this not be a good wood/metal lathe for turning larger items? I don't seeing any problem in making an adapter, if needed, for a wood chuck.......This unit only cost about $300 more than the lighter Jet wood lathe. Anyway I would like your opinion on this. Thanks again in advance. Charles
     
  2. Ken Grunke

    Ken Grunke

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    Looks to me like the milling head will be very much in the way for turning anything much bigger than 6-8" diameter. Does it come off, or swing out of the way?
     
  3. dkulze

    dkulze

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    If you look around at past threads, you'll find a lot of discussion on the Grizzly lathes. I think the general consensus is that the inexpensive Grizzlys are full of features but tend to not actually work that great. Fine for basic stuff but need alot of tweaking and aren't very precise. As for the 9729, it may be a much nicer machine as Grizzly does make products that tend to match their cost.

    What you'll find with the Jet is that it is a well built, precise machine that works as expected and is extremely reliable (much like the mini, which is an indestructable little workhorse). If you need more weight, build a stand and fill it with sandbags. The one advantage to heavier machines is that off center or variable weight pieces of wood tend to vibrate the lathe less (if you've ever seen a 400lb lathe walk across a shop you'll appreciate this). The larger swing is nice too.

    Another option to consider if you're already working up towards the $1000 mark is to take a look at the Powermatic machines. Very good value lathes.

    Dietrich
     
  4. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    You can certainly use a metal lathe for woodturning. That said, I advise against such just from a maintanence standpoint. Metal lathes are designed to have metal chip on and in them, not wood dust. They are used to being well oiled and as such, part of the overall routine is to oil everything down. Using it as a woodlathe means a whole lot of cleaning, especially with a gear head lathe.

    If you have a metal lathe, use it for metal and with the funds, buy a dedicated wood lathe.
     
  5. dkulze

    dkulze

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    Missed the point on my other post. Metal lathe is ok for wood if ya got nothing else. Would need some modification, probably, but would work. Wood lathe is a different machine and will be easier to use and more effective for woodturning. If you're not committed to using an existing metal lathe, don't get a metal lathe to turn wood would be my reccomendation.

    Dietrich
     
  6. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    A metal lathe works pretty good for a wood turning lathe except for 2 problems. One is the compound rest gets in the way a lot. Wood lathes have a small tool rest banjo for a reason.
    The other is oil. If you actually use the the metal lathe for metal you will probably use lubricating oil for some cutting actions and definitely tapping on the lathe. Oil doesn't go well with wood.
     
  7. Bob Hadley

    Bob Hadley

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Messages:
    118
    If you are going to make pool cues, for sure buy a metal lathe. For bowls, I suppose you could manage small ones, but it wouldn’t be much fun (isn’t that what this is all about?).

    I have a Hardinge cross-slide that I have adapted to bolt mount on my wood-lathe. It comes in handy when I need to machine metal parts (insert tooling and no oil, thank you).

    BH
     

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