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Thread: metal vs wood lathe

  1. #1
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    metal vs wood lathe

    Is there a difference between a wood lathe and a metal lathe? I believe the tools you use would be different, but can you adapt a metal lathe to turn wood?

    thanks

  2. #2
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    RE: lathe


    There are some differences:

    1. Metal lathes are generally sturdier and heavier. Of course,
    there are some real sturdy wood lathes around, but turning
    metal needs a very sturdy lathe.

    2. The way the tool is used. Metal lathes use a short tool
    mounted on a tool holder that rides on a carriage. The carriage
    can be moved along the bed, and the tool can be moved according
    to the diameter being turned. This is done with cranks and
    wheels.

    3. Wood lathes use handheld tools. In a wood lathe, there is a
    tool rest, something that looks like a T.

    If all you wanted to do is turn a straight cylinder, or other
    simple shapes, you can do with with any metal lathe, with no
    modifications.

    To do freehand turning on wood, you will need a tool rest.
    This is a simple piece to get or make. The big problem is
    that you will still have the carriage, and unless the lathe
    is long, it tends to get in the way.

    Of course, you can get rid of the carriage and get a tool
    rest, in which case you have converted your lathe to a wood
    lathe.

    fred
    My life is taking a new turn...

  3. #3
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    RE: lathe

    I was planning on learning how to turn bowl, vases etc. Can anyone help me with the lathe to purchase? motor, speeds...
    thanks

  4. #4
    Sonny Edmonds
    Guest

    RE: lathe

    Kirby,
    You gotta help us out here. First, you need to do some homework of your own. You need to narrow it down, fella.
    How much do you want or have for this venture? A basic mini lathe runs in the neighborhood of $300. But the sky is the limit for the big lathes. Up to $5000, and more.
    But that is the tip of the iceberg. The accessories can run the investment way out there. Tools, Chucks, Jaws, and a mirad of other things can run the investment to many times the cost of the lathe alone (for the starter lathes).

    How old are you?
    Do you figure this might become a lifetime venture for you? Or something to dabble with and forget about?
    Help us out with some ideas beyond wanting to make bowls an vases.
    Take a look [link:shop.woodcraft.com/Woodcraft/dept.asp?dept%5Fid=2150&gift=False&0=dept%2Easp%2C dept%5Fid%3D10000%26Tree%3D%2CDepartments&1=dept%2 Easp%2Cdept%5Fid%3D1045%26menu%5Fid%3D%26Tree%3D0% 2CPower%20Tools&Gift=False&mscssid=0091011E76743C4 DC8BBFE0938BC13A5 | HERE] for some ideas.
    Come back with some spicifics, like for one, How Much Do You Want To Spend???
    We're here to help you, but you're off to a rough start. :7

    :D

    [link:www.sonnyedmonds.com | Sonny Edmonds]
    "Precision Firewood Specialist"
    God Bless America !
    One Nation Under God!
    "I was raised around lead based paint.
    It ain't an excuse, just a fact."

  5. #5
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    RE: lathe

    This is a hobby for me. I thought that the size of the motor dictates what you can turn. No, I dont want to spend an arm and a leg, but the segmented bowls sure are beautiful. Its something to aim for.

    I am taking a bowl turning class next sat at woodcraft. Hopefully I'll learn something there and then I can ask more educated questions.




  6. #6
    Sonny Edmonds
    Guest

    Now THAT'S an Excellent start!

    Woodcraft sells several different lathes in a full gambit of sizes.
    I really wanted to post a link to a little Mercury lathe they sell. Had I known back when I started, that's what I wish I had gotten to start with.
    Now I have a highly modified Delta Midi and DVR in my shop. My jury is still out on the DVR. Oh I love the lathe, no dought about that. But I also like the speed control of the DC motor I grafted to the midi.
    The DVR's have been modified from what the ad sez, though. Mine has a 100 RPM bottom speed. That's great for applying finishes, in my book.
    Not to mention starting off with a rough chunk.
    Ask a million questions, listen to the feedback closely, and have a ball!
    You're starting off on the right foot with the class to get your feet wet. :7
    Just don't forget, it is a deep vortex.... this turning thang! ;)

    :D

    [link:www.sonnyedmonds.com | Sonny Edmonds]
    "Precision Firewood Specialist"
    God Bless America !
    One Nation Under God!
    "I was raised around lead based paint.
    It ain't an excuse, just a fact."

  7. #7
    Member
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    Dec 1969
    Location
    New Milford, Connecticut, USA.
    Posts
    1,582

    RE: lathe

    The woodcraft class will likely help you immensely in deciding what you need. Pick the instructors brains for what they think. I started out at a Woodcraft course and look where it got me. On second thought, don't look. ;)

    Best Regards,

    Bill

    "If it is worth doing, it's worth overdoing"

  8. #8
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    Location
    Columbus, Georgia, USA.
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    RE: lathe

    Bill... Where ya been man???

    Thought maybe ya got lost in a pineapple field or sumptin ;)

  9. #9
    Sonny Edmonds
    Guest

    RE: lathe

    Bill's been out galavanting on "Business", SIGH! ,again. :7

    :D

    [link:www.sonnyedmonds.com | Sonny Edmonds]
    "Precision Firewood Specialist"
    God Bless America !
    One Nation Under God!
    "I was raised around lead based paint.
    It ain't an excuse, just a fact."

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Goose Creek, SC, USA.
    Posts
    164

    Now THAT'S an Excellent start!

    The Class was Great!! I made a cherry bowl and finished it there too.
    Now on to gettng my first lathe. The instructor suggested the new Delta Midi lathe. They had 2 in our class. He said one of the draw backs was the lowest speed is 500rpm. A bit to fast for finishing.
    Oh well, time to research.


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