Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional woodworker, investing in a good wood lath is important to get the right shape of the wood you desire. Having a wood lathe can make it easier for you to design creative wood shapes for different kinds of projects.
With tons of options available in the market, it can be perplexing to decide which wood lathe to choose. When it comes to choosing the right wood lathe, tons of factors go into consideration.
In this article, we have reviewed some of the best wood lathe available in the market. After reading the review and understanding your needs, you can select the most suitable option.
Need a quick choice? Check our top 3 recommendations!
Number one on our list is a versatile and highly functional product by Jet JWL. It’s the integrated indexing positions that allow the lathe to work in different ways in order to cater to various needs. One of the main characteristics of this device is exceptional speed control. You can use variable speed between 60-3,600 RPM.
With this, you can cut, sand, face, drill, and deform wood with more efficiency as well as control. Moreover, the device also comes with a spring-loaded spindle lock for more precision.
The 719200 lathe measures 12-inches and 21-inches and offers forward to reverse for a smooth transition. Moreover, the device is integrated with an advanced ratchet style belt tension system for stronger security.
Whether you are new to woodworking or experienced, this device is capable of aligning with the needs of various woodworking projects. The addition of 24-integrated indexing positions allows you to efficiently work with different kinds of woods. Within the package, you will get, lathe, tools, tools support, knockout rod, hardware, and tool caddies.
Features of the product:
- The lathe offers a speed range of 60-3,600 RPM.
- It comes with a spring-loaded spindle lock
- The lathe is integrated with DRO and control.
- There is a forward to reverse feature for an efficient transition.
- The machine features an acme thread added to the tailstock.
- The lathe comes with an innovative ratchet style belt tension system
- There are 24 integrated indexing positions.
- Along with the lathe, the package offers tools, tool support, hardware, knockout rod, and tool caddies.
Although it is mini in size, the manufacturer has not compromised with the power. This mini lathe by Rikon comes with a ½ motor that offers sufficient power for different kinds of turning needs.
It features a 10-inches swing along with 18-inches between centers, which facilitates self-ejecting tailstock. So when you have to change the speed, you can do it easily as well as securely.
Moreover, it allows easy access to speed modification. The brand designed this lathe especially for pen turning who are looking for a sturdy and dedicated lather for their wood crafting work.
Additionally, this lathe is made from cast iron, so you will not have to worry about vibration. The overall weight of the machine is 74 pounds, so you can be sure of getting a sturdy operation.
The lathes come with a five-speed ranger for versatile woodworking capabilities. The five-speed levels include finishing, turning to shape, roughing out pen billets, boring barrel holes. Within the package, you will get the lathe, wrenches, spur center, live center rubber feet, manual 6-inches tool rest.
You can gauge the reliability of the lathe by the fact you get five years of warranty with it. Within this duration, if you experience any complaint about the machine, you can get it repaired and replaced without bearing any cost.
Features of the product:
- This lathe comes with a ½ motor for power.
- It features 10-inches wings and 18-inches between centers; the product has self-ejecting tailstock.
- The lathe is made using cast iron in order to reduce the vibration.
- The product comes with a five-speed range to cover various woodworking projects.
- The package includes a lathe, tool rest, live center, wrenches, and knockout bar.
- There is a five years warranty on the product.
3. Jet JWL-1015 Wood Lathe
This mini wood lathe offers the ideal solution for people who perform small woodturning projects, turning pens, bottle stoppers, turning bowls, chair spindles, sofa legs, hollow vessels, etc. If you are a beginner, then this is an excellent product for you.
The machine weighs around 77 pounds and has dimensions of 35x18.1x14.6 inches that are ideal for beginners. Moreover, the cast iron lathe bed integrated into the product works to provide more stability. The cast iron bed is one of the best features of this product as it is wide as well as sturdy.
Additionally, the use of 24 index positions makes it easier for you to veining and cut fluting. This standard version features six variable speeds, and in the variable speed version, you will find three adjustable speed ranges.
You will get six spindle speeds of 3975, 2630, 1240, 840, and 500. Moreover, the ½ HP motor offers adequate torque in order to turn the piece of wood with minimal vibration.
In case you want to change the speed, you can easily access the pulleys and speed. On the whole, this wood lathe by JWL is built strongly with proper alignment. The machine operates efficiently and quietly as opposed to many other woodturners in the same range.
Features of the product:
- It comes with 15-1/2 inches between centers.
- The product offers six spindle speeds that include 3,975, 2630, 1800, 1240, 840, and 500.
- The Jet JWL has in-built 24-positioning indexing.
- There is an advanced tensioning system that offers easy access to belts.
- The wider cast iron bed offers better rigidity and low vibration.
4. Wen 34018 Speed Cast Iron Wood Lathe
If you are merely starting out your woodworking journey, then this is a product that you should consider. Along with being cost-efficient, the product is easy to use and extend sufficient power for different woodworking projects.
The Wen wood lathe is capable of handling wood up to 12 inches wide and 18 inches long. Moreover, the machine comes with an adjustable variable speed ranging between 450 and 3500 rotations per minute.
You will also come across an onboard digital speed display that shows the RPM at which the lathe is operating. Moreover, the lathe also has tailstock tape as well as an MT2 spindle that offers compatibility with a wide range of chucks and centers. Another impressive addition to this lathe is the 8-inches tool rest that can easily accommodate your chisels and tools.
The integrated lever clamping system is also very easy to use and can efficiently and precisely adjust the tailstock as well as the tool rest. Wen is one of the well-recognized brands in the industry.
Therefore you can ensure to get some warranty in all its products. Similarly, this 34018 Speed Cast Iron Wood Lathe is backed by a warranty of 2 years and reliable customer care.
Features of the product:
- This lathe touts a 4.5A motor that is capable of working with wood that is 18-inches in length and 12-inches in width.
- It comes with digital speed displays.
- The speed is adjustable between 450 and 3500 rotation in a single minute.
- The product features a two-year warranty.
5. Grizzly H8259 Bench-Top Wood Lathe
If you are looking for an affordable yet heavy-duty wood lathe, then this product by Grizzly is certainly the one to consider. And the low price has no negative impact on the quality and capability of the product. The device comes with a 10-inch diameter swing, which adds value to its operations.
One of the impressive factors is the distance between the centers. It comes with just the right distance, so you will have no trouble properly executing different woodworking projects, especially the small ones. It is a perfect wood lathe for beginners for the convenience it extends.
It has a simple yet valuable feature, easy to use, and a decent price tag. What would more a novice want? It is powered by a ½ HP single-phase motor that offers 110V. This is a sufficient amount of power to perform different kinds of woodworks.
Features of the product:
- It comes with a ½ HP, 110V single phase motor.
- The machine is capable of providing seven amps.
- The width of the swing bed stands at 10-inches
- Distance between the centers is 18-inches
- The swing over tool rest is measured at 6-1/4-inches.
6. Powermatic 3520C Wood Lathe
This 3520 wood lathe by Powermatic is one of the best bowl turning machines in the market. If you are looking for a wood lathe that can be used for professional projects, then this could be one of the right options for you.
When it comes to strength, you will not be disappointed as it comes with solid cast iron development. This allows not only offering optimum strength but also enhances the sturdiness as well as value.
The cast iron reduces the vibrations, thereby allowing you to deal with different kinds of the woodwork with more precision. Additionally, the product encompasses an excellent two HP engine that can operate at 220 volts. This strong engine extends two-speed ranges. One of the impressive features of these products is the computerized readout.
This allows you to change the speed efficiently and provide you with better control. Additionally, the ergonomic shaft is self-situating to offer efficient one-had activity. The integrated axle nose works to provide easy access to the workpiece.
The wood lathe machine has an in-built tailstock, which connects the hostile to the pivot key as well as zenith strings. This is done in order to extend a seamless operation while expanding the strength.
Features of the product:
- The headstock comes with a digital read for easy and precise indexing.
- It allows you to change the position of the magnetic control box to where it is most suitable.
- The product features riser blocks that enable height adjustment up to four inches.
- The wood lathe features a self-ejecting, laser-integrated quill.
- The full-enclosed VFD offers enhanced user protection.
What To Look For While Buying Best Midi Lathe?
There are different types of Midi Lathe, and here are some factors that you should consider when buying this device:
A Good Base
For a wood lathe to offer good quality turned objects, it should have a strong foundation, and for this, it needs a sturdy bed. This means the horizontal beam across the lathe’s base.
This is typically designed using cast iron. The reason why it is kept heavy is that it will reduce the vibration when the wood is spinning. Even a little vibration is not a good sign and can make it challenging to turn wood. The vibration will also make the process unsafe.
Measure Of The Lathe
Based on the project you have to perform on the wood lathe, there are two particular capacity measures that you should consider. The first is the maximum length ranging between both ends, and the second is the swing. This distance defines the maximum length of the stock that you can turn on this machine.
Moreover, the swing signifies the heist diameter that you can turn on the same. If you wish to turn something small like a pen, you can use a mini lathe, which is quite affordable. Moreover, if you travel and need to carry lathe to various places or sit down during turning, purchasing such devices is a smarter sense.
However, if you plan to turn on larger objects, then you should consider the one with a larger size.
The Tailstock And Headstock
The tailstock is referred to as a rotating pin at the end of the lathe. It works to keep the spindle in the middle and maintains even rotation. It is imperative to make sure that the tailstock is locked securely in any position along the bed because it will help in carrying different projects.
On the other hand, the headstock is threaded and designed for various accessories. You must make sure that the thread on it is a standard type. This ensures that the threaded accessories help in maintaining the efficiency of the lathe in case you plan to upgrade.
A majority of people do not care where the power switch is placed. But it is imperative to make sure that the power switch is easily accessible. This will ascertain that you can quickly turn it on when in need.
An important factor to consider while purchasing a wood lathe is the addition of tool rest. When turning the lathe, it is vital to rest the tool against the integrated tool rest. Moreover, it should be able to provide some vertical adjustment to the turner. When set, it should be locked in the right position.
Typically, the rest should be approximately 10-inches long and designed using cast iron in order to reduce the vibration. A loose tool rest can be harmful to woodturning, so ensure that you do not overlook this aspect.
Should You Wear Gloves When Using A Lathe?
Full gloves are not recommended for woodturning. However, you can use small fingerless gloves that will provide you with protection without getting in the way. These gloves are modified to remove the fingers so only the knuckles and palm will be covered.
Just make sure that your gloves fit snugly on the hand. Moreover, instead of safety goggles, you should consider wearing a face shield in order to protect your eyes. Loose clothing can get tangled in the spinning wood piece; therefore, ensure that whatever you wear does not come in contact with the wood.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the purpose of the wood lathe?
When it comes to woodworking businesses, it is imperative that you acquire the best midi lathe machine that can assist you in working with different wood types. It allows you to create high-quality furniture for yourself or the clients.
A wood turning machine or woodworking lathe machine is one of the machines that you should be using. These machines assist in the knurling, shaping, or cutting of wooden materials into accurate size.
2. Are Wood lathes dangerous?
When it comes to using wood lathes, you have to be careful, or else you can get injured or even killed. If it is spinning too fast, the machine breaks up. Additionally, the fragments will fly in a straight line with the kinetic energy from the motor.
The key in the chuck can be flung out. If the tool is not presented securely, it can become loose and hit you. Therefore, always ensure that the tool is placed securely.
3. What is the easiest wood to turn?
There is some wood, which makes woodturning easier than others. Some of the types of wood that are easier to turn include –
- Figured maple
- Pacific Madrone
- Red Elm
- Osage Orange
- Bradford Pear
4. What is the ideal size of the wood lathe?
The exact size of the wood lathe depends on the requirement of the project. If you are dealing with larger woodworking projects that include heavier wood, then you should consider larger machines.
Likewise, if you have just started out or only work with lighter woods, a mini-lathe would be sufficient.
5. How to sharpen wood lathe tools?
An easy way to sharpen wood tools is through a grinder. Place the tools in the socket in order to make it firm and move the edge back and forth in order to get even and sharp edges.
There you have it, some of the best midi wood lathe that you should consider in the market. Having a wood lathe can significantly make it easier for you to complete your woodwork.
Whether you are a novice or experienced individual, having precision and efficiency in your work can add value to the same. Additionally, working with a wood lathe comes with certain risk factors that you should not overlook. So make sure you are well aware of how to safely use the machine.
Moreover, avoid wearing any loose clothing as it can get stuck in the machine and cause a hazard. Hopefully, after reading the article, you have gotten a better idea of the best midi lathe that you should select.