Purchasing your first wood lathe is a thrilling adventure. It may, however, rapidly become overpowering. When it comes to purchasing gear, one of the most difficult challenges I have is determining which qualities are most necessary. Here we are trying to help you with lathe buying guide.

Despite the fact that I thoroughly study any large purchase, I constantly second-guess my decision. Not in the sense of “Should I have purchased this or not?”

Instead, I’m continually wondering, “Should I have purchased THIS exact machine?” My thoughts are always turning to whether I should have spent a few hundred dollars more for a larger size or a few more features.
This lathe buying guide was created in the hopes of assisting you in avoiding these bothersome queries.

I believe that even after reading the material, you will be able to simply choose which qualities are most essential to both you and subsequently comfortably buying a lathe that is appropriate for you, if you are here for buying wood lathe.

History of this fascinating subject.
What is a wood lathe used for? Another of the oldest kinds of woodworking that has been uncovered is the buy wood lathe. In ancient Egypt, evidence of a lathe has been discovered going back to 3 B.C. Although the wood lathe has evolved in various ways over the last 2300 years, the general frame and structure have remained mostly same.

Lathes are now utilized by everyone from hobbyists in their garages to large-scale industrial plants. Table legs, rifle stocks, watch components, baseball bats, and architectural parts for structures are all made on lathes.

If you ever find yourself in Louisville, Kentucky, I strongly suggest paying a visit to the Louisville Slugger factory. They provide a fantastic tour. Their tour will show you how they began creating wooden bats for Major League Baseball players. They’ve switched to CNC lathes in the past decade or so, which produce bats tailored to a player’s preferences.

Ultimate question remains, where to buy a lathe? No worries, we will cover that too.

Types of foundations of lathe buying guide

While searching for wood lathes, the very first thing to consider is the length. Benchtop, mini-lathe, and full-scale lathes are the three most common configurations. Most likely, you’ll choose for a bench top or mini-lathe, since full-scale lathes are normally reserved for woodworkers who have been operating a lathe for a long time.

What is a wood lathe used for and where can I buy a wood lathe? To answer that question, Bench top lathes are the smallest in size and hence take up the fewest amount of room in your business. These are designed to sit on a bench in your workspace, as the category suggests. Despite their compact size, these machines are strong and attractive enough to generate high-quality work.

This division’s capacity is ideal for novices. Because of the small space needs and low cost, it’s ideal for someone who wants to see whether wood turning is a pastime they want to pursue.

Depending on the model of unit you have, bench top units are capable of producing high-quality pens, tiny table legs, and bowls up to around 8′′ in diameter. A base level device may cost as low as $250 and may cost as much as $500-600 depending on the features you choose to buy wood lathe.

The length of material that a bench top lathe can hold is restricted. The majority of these units can accommodate a piece of wood that is between 12 and 15 inches long. If you believe you may require a machine to hold longer parts, don’t rule out a bench top model to buy lathe!

You can buy extensions for certain bench top lathes that attach to your base unit and enable you to utilize longer lengths of stock. This is a feature I strongly suggest since it enables you to preserve your tiny footprint of space while expanding it as required. Getting a device with extension capabilities will cost a little extra, but I believe it is worthwhile.

The way you change the speed or RPMs of the lathe is likely to be unique to bench top machines. A lathe will typically spin between 200 and 1400 RPMs. The velocity will be dictated by a variety of things, including the equipment you’re using, the cuts you’re making, and, most crucially, the kind of wood you’re cutting.

Manually velocity adjustments will be required on the reduced bench top models. Because these devices employ a step cone pulley like the one seen in the figure, there are a few stages to completing the adjustment. Overall, the procedure is fairly similar to shifting gears on a ten-speed bicycle.

The operator must turn the motor off and wait for it to come to a full stop before proceeding. After that, you’ll have to remove the pulley cover. The customer must then move the belt onto a smaller pulley (to increase the speed) or a bigger pulley (to decrease the speed) (for a slower speed).

This does not deter you from purchasing a machine with variable speed control. It is, nevertheless, necessary to be aware of it before buying a wood lathe. This could assist you to choose between two units if you’re having trouble choosing.

Lathe buying guide: Miniature Lathe

“Mini lathes” are the size of lathes that come after benchtop variants. These are much larger than benchtop machines, and for many decades, they were the smallest lathes available – so the term “mini” is used to describe them.

Such devices will be much more stable than their benchtop counterparts. These machineries are often constructed of cast iron with steel pieces, making them much heavier. This has the advantage of reducing noise and motion throughout the cutting process. The significant problem is they’re not as transportable.


If you go shopping for a mini-lathe, the likelihood are that the stand will not be included in the price. This is frequently a separate expense from the machine. You have two choices: you may buy a ready-made base or you may construct your own.

Mini-lathes are often seen fastened to workbenches. If you decide to construct your own foundation, make sure it’s sturdy enough to withstand the vibrations and shaking the lathe will cause while it’s in operation.

Mini lathes feature a bigger spindle and swing capacity, allowing you to deal with bigger stock. With a tiny lathe, a customer will be able to turn a bowl up to 12” in diameter. The spindle capacity on these machines is substantially higher, averaging about 40 inches. This is about 2.5 times the capacity of a benchtop device. You may simply cut full-size table legs and even a baseball bat with this sort of length.

The speed changes will become considerably easy once you reach this level of unit. These devices include a knob that you may move to raise or reduce the amount of energy flowing to the engine. In contrast to the significant modification, which takes a few minutes to accomplish, this adjustment may be accomplished in a matter of seconds.

Because of the larger size and heavier materials utilized in their construction, these units are substantially more expensive than the benchtop variants. The cost of a basic unit starts at roughly $800 and goes up to roughly $2,000 like when you buy a Bolton lathe.

Lathe (Full Size) –
If you’re considering buying a wood lathe, chances are you’ve already spent a lot of time on one. To somebody who is novice to wooden turn, I just wouldn’t suggest a full size like Powermatic lathe.

The size of these devices varies based on the features and capabilities that you want. Spindles as long as 10 feet or more may be accommodated on certain industrial lathes used to carve architectural elements!

The swinging possibilities are also much superior to those seen on mini-lathes. Depending on the model, these machines may have a capacity of 22′′ or more. With all of these new features, the amount of space and money necessary to purchase one has increased. The most basic versions start about $3,000 and may cost up to $6,000 or more if you want automated precise cutting.

Below are some of the most significant qualities to consider when buying a wood lathe, in my lathe buying guide.

Swing Capacity – A lathe’s swing capacity is the maximum diameter of stock it can handle. By measuring the distance between the spindle and the mounting rail under it, you can see the physical constraint.

Spindle Capacity – The spindles capability of your lathe will decide how long a piece you can turn on it. A benchtop lathe will usually only take material up to 15 inches long.

A mini-lathe, on the other hand, may easily go up to 40′′. If you don’t have a lot of room or money when you buy your lathe, but you think you’ll need more lately, be sure it permits extensions! This will enable you to later “add-on” to your machine to accommodate longer pieces of stock.

Motor Size – Lathe motors come in a variety of sizes. Some of the smaller ones will start at 1/2 HP and progress to multiple HPs. You’ll need to consider what you’re going to cut when determining what size motor you’ll need.

If you’re working on anything tiny, like as table legs, a 1/2 HP or 3/4 HP motor would suffice. If you can afford it, I would recommend obtaining something with at least 1 HP, but it isn’t necessary. On smaller ones, you can still do good job.

Height – Regardless of the kind of lathe you choose, the height of the machine must be taken into account. More costly machines will feature settings to make them as comfy as you want them to be.


Bases are not usually included with bench top lathes and certain mini-lathes unless they are purchased separately. In the case of a benchtop lathe, it’s critical to make sure the machine is set up at the correct height for the end user to minimize needless strain.

Stretching up to your stocks could weary your arms and shoulders if your base is just too high. If that’s too low, you’ll end up with a painful back from bending over when turning. While walking beside a lathe, the general principle is that it should start coming up to your elbows.

Flexible Headstock – Your lathe’s headstock is the spinning spindle nearest to the engine. The pressure that causes your stocks to spin on the lathe is that this is. It’s critical to seek for a lathe with a flexible headstock if you want to produce huge bowls.

The fantastic thing about this function is that it allows you to rotate the headstock away from its typical position, up to 180 degrees in certain cases. This makes carving out the interior of the bowl you’re turning much easier. This functionality would not be available on benchtop lathes, but as you get into the middle tier mini-lathes that are presently on the marketplace, it becomes commonplace.

Additional Resources
Honing Instruments
Besides the price of the lathe itself, there are several other costs to consider when purchasing your initial lathe. These are going to be discussed in this lathe buying guide. Honing equipment are arguably the most costly of the “other” prices. You may expect to spend about $250 on honing gear.

As contrast to setting up and maintaining your own lathe, you need also understand how or when to hone your tools correctly, since they will dull as soon as you start using them. Poor cuts, longer labor periods, and annoyance are all consequences of using dull equipment.

A tabletop grinders are by far the most costly equipment you’ll need when it comes to honing equipment. For as low as $50, you can get a simple one without a stand. I would suggest purchasing a high-quality brand rather than the cheapest since you will be utilizing this equipment often. For roughly $130, I suggest getting the 8-inch Dewalt grinder. If you don’t have space on your workstation, you’ll need to get a platform for it, which costs about $50.

A polishing jig is the next thing you should purchase. Some of my fellow woodworkers have attempted to avoid purchasing this component in order to save $100, but having one makes life SO much simpler.

Cutting Instruments
I would suggest getting a similar level of pliers to start with if you really are buying a lathe for the first time, you can get help in this lathe buying guide. Harbor Freight has a decent set that I’ve used in the past.

If you’re fortunate, you may be able to discover a 20% off coupon to drop the price even lower. This is a fantastic pair of chisels for learning cutting and honing without the worry of damaging them if you break one inadvertently.

Lives are at risk.
With your newest lathe, don’t forget to take safety measures. It’s not a good idea to take a piece of wood spinning at 1,000 RPMs for granted. A full-face shield is the most crucial safety equipment you should get.

This will assist to prevent floating wood chips from hitting your face. There are many different prices and features to choose from, but at the absolute least, you should get a simple one like this one from Honeywell for under $20.

The next thing on your list is a pair of heavy-duty gloves, which you most likely already have hanging about your business. It’s critical to keep your fingertips safe from the chisel and spinning wood.

Finally, I recommend wearing hearing protection and a respirator to protect your lungs from the dust generated by your equipment. Lung and hearing protection are two of the most often neglected aspects of the store. Long-term exposure to loud sounds and dust might have negative consequences.

Other Things to Think About

If you’ve never used a wood lathe before, I strongly advise you to test one out before investing in one. Nothing beats spending time on a lathe to figure out which aspects you like and which you don’t. Here are a few choices for trying out a lathe before you purchase it.

However, if you want to buy some best midi lathe, then you can try our compilation.

Hackerspaces — such institutions go by a variety of names, but they’re becoming more popular, particularly in larger cities. Hackerspaces are communal spaces with a variety of equipment where individuals can work on their interests or handicrafts.

These installations might include everything from woodworking to 3D printers and other tools. This would also be an excellent opportunity to check out various tools before making a purchase. There are normally membership fees, and there are normally tiers that provide you varying degrees of access.

Local Colleges – One alternative is to check into the colleges in your area. They often provide carpentry classes, which need the presence of a woodshop. Some of these stores are open to the general public.

Local Woodworking Groups – Local or regional woodworking clubs may be found in almost every part of the nation. This wouldn’t hurt to contact these organizations to ask if they know of any local seminars that are open to the public. When you join the squad, there’s also a potential that a fellow woodworker may welcome you over and share their knowledge with someone who is just getting started.

Which work are you hoping to complete?
A wood lathe may be used for a variety of purposes. Pens, bowls, platters, decorations, chess pieces, lidded boxes, coffee cups, and tool handles are just a few examples. I mean, as an experiment, you can come up with nearly any notion.

If you are wondering how to use a metal lathe, then you can take a look at our guide to help yourself out.

How does the funding look like?
Always keep in mind that the lathe isn’t the final tool you’ll need. The lathe is designed to offer you space and allow you to spin the workpiece at your own pace. It’s more like to a car’s engine. You don’t get in your vehicle and expect it to drive you to your destination.

However, if you want to buy some cheap used wood lathe for sale, then it will be a very bad idea. Your money will be wasted, and no work can be done with that.

So, whichever project you’re working on, you’ll need to score woods, purchase accessories, and purchase woodturning equipment to assist you mount and turn on the lathe. This lathe buying guide have covered all the aspects.

Is it possible to expand your wood lathe after purchasing it?
After agreeing on a budget, it’s time to fill in the remaining blank: whether or not the lathe has enough area for me to expand. We frequently overlook this when purchasing a new wood lathe.

But consider what you’d do if you wanted to create something even more important in the future. How do you want to improve your ability to turn? What project can you go on to now that you have the necessary skills and equipment? I realize that’s a lot tougher forecast to make.

I’d suggest these four Significant Wood Lathes

Throughout my woodturning career, I’ve utilized a variety of wood lathes. In my workshop, I have three lathes (one of which is a metal lathe) where I spend my free time. So, where to buy a lathe? We’ve given you some example, and the amazon is the best place to buy. And if you want to buy second hand wood lathes for sale, then you need to be very careful.

Grizzly Industrial G0766-22″ x 42″ Variable-Speed Wood Lathe
That lathe is ideal for professional woodturners who wish to make enormous bowls, furniture, and other works with huge diameters. It also provides enough of space and energy to effortlessly rough-out complex projects at slower speeds, with 22″ of swing, a heavy-duty 1-1/4″ x 8 TPI RH spindle, electronic adjustable speed management, and a 3 HP, 3-phase engine that operates off single-phase electricity utilizing a variable-frequency drive.

As a machinist, I understand what makes an excellent wood lathe. So, if you’re looking for a wood lathe that will last a long time and provide excellent service, I highly advise you to look at these four options.


This lathe is exceptionally sturdy thanks to its heavy-duty cast-iron bed and base, and the headstock can be positioned anywhere along the bed, providing you a lot of control and freedom with your projects. Take a look at all of the fantastic features listed here! There are even used grizzly wood lathe for sale available.

Because the turner has no business fussing with the belts, changing the speed of this high-tech equipment is straightforward. In addition, the Grizzly g0766VS includes a 22-inch swing over bed. Trying to change the pace. This machine features a 16-inch bed with a tachometer bearing that allows the turner to simply move from 600 rpm to 3400 rpm as speed. The display indicates the speed fluctuations.

As a seasoned woodturner or a novice, you should be aware that there are a variety of alternative lathes on the market. This evaluation has clearly described what makes this device unique.

JET JWL-1221VS 12″x21″ Variable-Speed Wood Lathe

The JET JWL-1221VS model has settings that are simple to find and are situated in a specific location of the lathe. The device’s variable speed rate is controlled by a knob-like button that regulates the device’s speed.

Turners now have additional freedom because to the JET machine, which offers 24 indexing locations. For precise pattern work like as polishing, drilling, and milling, the indexed head brings new approaches and enhances turning accuracy. There are some used jet wood lathe for sale, but buying a new one is always amazing.


The revolutionary ratchet-type tubing mechanism is exclusive to this type and aids with speed ranch control. When a certain speed range is required, this feature comes in useful. The ratchet belt comes in three different ranges: 60-900 RPM, 1,110-1800 RPM, and 220-3600 RPM.

Those range help to improve job quality by allowing for much less uncomfortable finishing while turning patterns. Compared previous JET JWL 1221VS lathes, the JET JWL 1221VS lathe is larger and heavier, with a more muscular banjo. Its base and shaft both are larger, with the tailstock quill capable of reading scales in both inches and millimeters.

This device also has an index pin and a spindle lock to make threaded accessory removal simple. Only with ability to change belts quickly, this lathe’s disassembly procedure may be completed in less time.

Nova 71118 Comet II DR – Midi Lathe Flexible Woodworking System
the machine is powered by a 1.5 HP (1,120W) 230V induction motor that distributes sufficient power to perform larger turnings. In addition, this high-performance machine includes a pulley system that provides an excellent choice of a midi lathe.

A belt with eight rotations that reduces stress is used. The 178rpm low speed is ideal for big size wood turnings, while the 3000rpm fast speed is ideal for tiny jobs like penning.
The machine can handle turnings up to 16′′ in diameter with a maximum length of 610mm (24′′). As a result, using this machine to turn wooden bowls, tiny table components, and platters produces the greatest results.


It is able to switch larger objects effortlessly with a 360° swiveling head, which is achievable with a permanent bowls turning connection. The lever, emergency off lever, the reverse turn on this small lathe make wood sanding safer and easier.

The lathe’s Cam motion levers make the necessary changes quick and straightforward, and the leather grips allows for superb aesthetics. This device has indeed gained popularity in the United States since it is a lathe that can withstand less tension. Some turners regard the Nova 71118 II’s qualities to be excellent for a direct consequence workshop because to its adaptability.

Delta Industrial 46-460
The Delta 46-460 has everything you’ll need to complete your spinning masterwork. This strong 1 horsepower worker spins at 1,750 rpm, producing adequate speed control to tackle most finely carved woods, and this can be slowed down to 250 rpm for larger projects.

Noise and chattering are reduced by the reversible electronic variable speed using a pulley system. The unique belt tensioning mechanism enables for fast and simple speed adjustments while maintaining proper belt tension for optimal power transmission and workpiece material, according to this lathe buying guide.

The index pin secures the headstock spindle in 24 distinct positions for fluting as well as other ornamental purposes. The Delta Industrial Reversible Nova G3-D Wood Turning Chuck was created to provide you with the most up-to-date technology for excellent turning outcomes.

You may attach many expansion beds to a single lathe with the Delta modular lathe bed extension. The tune capacity is increased by one expansion to 25.5 inches.

Wrap up
This should be stated once again: It’s critical to plan your budget so it takes into account both the lathe itself, as well as the various pieces of equipment and accessories you may require in order to begin a project. For instance, a chuck and jaws might be used to sharpen the tools, just as many others are.

Even if you’re not sure whether you’ll need one in the future, opt for a full-sized or at least a Midi lathe. To turn a small size item on a larger lathe, it is possible, but to turn a huge item with a smaller one, it is not. People often first buy a little lathe to whine about their lack of foresight, and then they move on to a larger lathe.

Turning is not for everyone, so choose wisely based on your budget, and this wood lathe buying guide will help you obviously. Sign up for a club or guild if you’d like to meet new people and to use other computers. When you know what you want and what you enjoy, you will understand

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top