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Extending the Harbor Freight lathe

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Tobby Cook, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. Tobby Cook

    Tobby Cook

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2020
    Messages:
    2
    Location (City & State):
    Vernonia, OR
    I have never lathed before and wanted to get into it for my son who wants some bats made up. I have a small budget to work with and am looking at the Harbor Freight model 34706 12x33.

    My question (and sorry if its a repeat, I couldn't find when I searched) is can this lathe be extended? I need a 33 inch bat and would like some wiggle room. Also if I want to do pens, do I need a mini lathe also? Is it "delicate" enough?

    Thanks for any response or tips you can share for doing this.
     
  2. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2019
    Messages:
    194
    Location (City & State):
    Bashaw, Alberta
    Don't know much about harbor freight up here in canada but I have made pens on my 16x48 lathe. As the saying goes you can turn small stuff on a big lathe but you can't turn big stuff on a small lathe.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  3. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,840
    Location (City & State):
    Brandon, MS
    Did a search on the site and saw no extension. Best bet unless you are very handy is a new lathe or a friend with a longer bed
     
  4. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,923
    Location (City & State):
    Nebraska
    I needed to turn some longer pieces a few years ago and bolted (2) of the harbor freight lathes together that I already had. You just need to make sure you are on a level floor and align the two beds on the same plane and make sure the tail-stock center aligns with the headstock spindle center.
     
  5. Dean Center

    Dean Center

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,127
    Location (City & State):
    Bozeman, MT
    Stay tuned. John T. is a regular here, has or had a HF lathe, and has made bats for his grandson who is playing minor league ball currently.

    My recommendation would be to look for a used lathe. The HF lathe might allow you to make a bat, but it would only be 30" or so, at the longest. Craigslist can be a decent source for used equipment and several turning clubs in your area can be an even better source. People think about selling stuff for a long time before they get around to pulling the trigger and if you put an ask in the club newsletter, you may get exactly what you want at a good price. To find clubs, long on to the AAW main web site (woodturner.org) and hover over the Chapters heading. The first item is "find a chapter".
     
  6. John Torchick

    John Torchick

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,815
    Location (City & State):
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    Had one and no extension available. For the money, it's a good lathe. Just make sure you keep moving the speed control lever. I didn't and it froze up.
     
  7. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,923
    Location (City & State):
    Nebraska
    The Harbor Freight lathe uses a Reeves pulley system for variable speed control, you need to clean and lubricate the moving surfaces of the reeves pulley on the headstock spindle and motor shaft on a regular basis. If you ignore this maintenance item you will have issues as John Torchick mentioned above. A shot or two of WD-40 weekly or monthly depending on usage of your lathe will keep it working smooth. Apply the lubricant and run the lathe up and down in speed several times, apply another application of lubricant and run the lathe up and down in speed and this will loosen the debris from the shaft and the inner surface of the pulleys.
     
  8. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Messages:
    303
    Location (City & State):
    Windsor, Pennsylvania
    I have 2 of those HF lathes and never considered lengthening one. It was common over 100 years ago to have a wooden lathe bed, usually of warp resistant hardwood. the ways would be made of two stout 3 x 6 to 10's sometimes even with a metal strap running the length on the top to help resist wear. I don't know if the harbor freight lathe head, banjo and tail stock could be shifted over to a wooden bed for a baseball bat or two. A lot of effort just to make do. (Those lathes are decent beginner lathes, the length being one of the shortcomings.) You might look for a turning club and see if a member has a lathe of sufficient size to help you with your quest. .

    I suppose it might be possible to go slow and use a steady rest and have the tail stock removed. Use a chuck or other holding device on the head stock end (you would really need to lock the wood in so it can't shift to left or right) . That HF lathe comes with a banjo that has a swinging tool rest extension that could probably just reach enough, but the leverage and torque out there would make turning very very tough.unless you turned the handle end first for about 14 inches of it's length and then flipped the bat and turn from the steady rest back to the head stock. This is something where I am just thinking out loud and without years of experience as to what may be possible, Others may have a dozen reasons why it is impossible or impractical.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020

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