Whether you use it for personal accessories, home décor, or ornament, wood tends to have this unique elegance. By owning a good wood lathe you can create pieces of practical use around the house, like bangles, rings, pots, goblets, or even furniture legs.
Ask any professional and they will say that you cannot run a successful woodworking shop without having the best wood lathes 2021 ready to go at any hour.
Because as with every specialized shopping you have to do the research, we thought it would be useful to compile some of the best pieces ranging from a mini wood lathe or even serious ones.
Now, if you are just starting building your rack even with a small wood lathe, this will be very helpful, as several companies produce a wide array of options. We scanned and analyzed several wood lathe reviews from the market so let’s see what we’re talking about.
Home Maker Guide created for informational purposes only. Thus, we neither endorse you in any way to buy specific products in our reviews, nor making you act like it’s written in our guides. We are reserving the rights for you to make your personal decision.
ARCHIE ADAMSEditor-in-Chief of the Home Maker Guide
A wood lathe is a machine designed to shape the wood in any form you desire, whether it is a vase, spindle, vase, bowl or any other items. To create such a device you have to attach a piece of wood to a spinning arm and then use various tools to trim the wood when the wood lathe machine spins.
When you are about to build vessels out of carved wood or you have designed other specific implements for the general use, especially if you are just starting, you need to get the best wood lathe for beginners that you can find. Also, the fact that it will take far less time than it would have taken you if carved manually, and an unmatched level of finesse at the execution of the surface.
The wood that is supposed to be turned must be done so at a regular speed that is considered appropriate. Judging by how a regular table top wood lathe would perform, a good speed is between 500 RPM and 4000 RPM. If you want to take away a valid point then know that the wider a stock is, the lower the speed you need.
The difference that we can notice between the two wood lathe options is that the metal lathes can serve both woodworking and metalworking. Whereas the wood lathe machine can only serve the purpose of woodworking, the good part being that you can get a cheap wood lathe for any budget.
The former has a design specifically made for sanding, drilling, cutting, or turning pieces of wood into house items
When you have the best wood lathe for the money you have in the budget, the next step is learning how to use it best and do the job that you need. First, you need to make sure that the lighting in the workshop is proper as it is a vital part of the process. A good try is getting a mobile lamp that can shine light at different angles and help you see certain imperfections.
When looking at a benchtop wood lathe with its sanded surface, it can look smooth but have some marks underneath all the fine powder, so that’s where a good light source can make the difference.
When it comes to choosing the best wood lathes you have to consider several key factors to look for when going around the hardware general store. Let’s see exactly what those features are.
If you prefer to buy a variable speed wood lathe or a bigger one, you have to take into consideration what exactly you will execute with it. Once you know what some of the projects are, you will know what size of a hobby wood lathe to get.
If you decide to go for a large wood lathe, be prepared to chip in with some more money as the manufacturing process takes longer and is more expensive than when you craft the best mini wood lathe.
It is a good thing that you can use several types of materials, such as aluminum, titanium, steel or plastics. The materials used by the best full size wood lathe mustn’t go above the size limitations, such as the diameter and length of the machine.
Another important aspect to keep in mind when buying a beginner wood lathe is to know that the material will affect some aspects of the manufacturing process, such as the speed of the rotating lathe.
Some of the best motors for an inexpensive wood lathe would be around 750 watts that have at least a 400 mm processing distance, otherwise, you risk to violate some of the basic safety instructions about woodworking with the best midi wood lathe.
Some call the spindle as the heart of the headstock, as it is an essential part of the woodworking rotating-cutter machinery, as they are the support of millions of cutters that are featured on the surface of the spindle. Some wood lathe brands take pride into their spindle technology and market it as a special feature on the box
The speed control needs to be mastered in the first few lessons that you take a beginner in woodworking. For instance, let’s say that you are to be working with a small tree trunk that is around 3 inches wide. You will then have to use the heavy duty wood lathes at a speed of 600 rpm to safely gouge away. After you are done with the first high points you can move over to a speed of 1500 to 2000 rpm.
By knowing what type of wood you have then you can set the proper speed for its processing, meaning that dry wood will be more difficult to shape and you will need a higher speed.
The distance that is between the two centers and the swing will help determine what capacity your wood lathe has, which means you will know the maximum size allowed for the wood piece you are about to turn. Take this useful information and use it to prevent scenarios where you have a piece that is too big and don’t fit tightly on the lathe. If you know that you are about to work on big pieces of wood, then our advice is to buy a lathe with a bigger swing capacity to not risk any unforced errors that might resolve injuries. That reminds us of the importance of having the best work gloves out there.
The indexing positions are used as guiding lines for the whole sketch. It is the most fundamental step of any project, as that is the exact moment when your plan will receive an outline and a general idea of where things are headed. You can use an indexing wheel that can be attached to the spindle and become a helpful assistant in your workshop, as you can always lock the disk at any angular position you like.
When turning a 40-50 lbs. piece of wood it is clear that you will need excellent stability on your wood lathe as you don’t want things to get out of control when spinning at 2000 RPM.
That is why most of the heavy-duty wood lathes have to be bolted down to the floor so they have absolutely no movement whatsoever during the turning process.
Make sure you rigorously test the stability level of the device before deciding to buy it, as there is never too much caution when it comes to work-related accidents.
A good thing about today’s wood lathes market is that there are so many different manufacturers that are competing for the market, that they make it impossible for you not to find something in your budget. The prices go from $150 to $2000+ depending on the purposes that you are buying it, because if you need one for industrial purposes then you will most likely take out a decent amount from your budget, as opposed to buying a cheap wood lathe for your own personal woodworking shop from your garage.
A mini wood lathe is designed to be a machine that gives you the ability to create various shapes and structures from any piece of wood that can be attached to the lathe. What you have to keep in mind at them is that you will have to work together with the turning arm and help finalize your ideal results.There are so many things that can be crafted out of a benchtop wood lathe, including a sugar bowl, a toy for babies, or even a flower vase.
The midi lathes are generally beefier and bigger than the mini lathes and can give your wallet a pretty surprise, as they can be very cheap, between $280 and $340. A good feature about them is that they fit so well into any sort of work and will take up very little space on your floor. They were introduced somewhere around the late 90s.
The general purpose of these heavy-duty wood lathes is mostly industrial as there can be serious amounts of money made from woodturning. That is why they then tend to be bigger and heavier than other models on the market, and you might need the best router table you can find to match it.
The motors are quite powerful on them as they are designed to make the handling process a little bit easier and more comfortable. Make no mistake, these are not the kind of machines that you would fit in the backend of your home garage.
We will go through some of the most important accessories and a couple of ideas about them.
For setting up a wood lathe, you first need to make sure that you have all the necessary space around it so you can safely maneuver the device when executing your projects. After you have carefully selected the space and put the whole machinery in place, you have to prepare the surface. Make sure you use the best sandpaper you find and clean the steel area and then apply a light coat of wax for the final polishing session, the same way you did with the best wood router that you have in your workshop. After you have done this thoroughly all-around the device, with every single piece of metal, then you are ready to happily use it.
If you are looking for installing a lathe for the first time, then don’t worry as most of the general devices available on the market today are easy to use and you can get the hang of it quickly. Perhaps you would like to start with a mini or a midi wood lathe and stay away from those heavy-duty lathes that are used in factories and other large construction operations. If you get one that has around 500-600 watts power and can get to 4000 RPM then you have more than you need for your first time.
It depends a lot on what are the purposes that you are interested in when buying a lathe. If you plan to work in projects that involve wood pieces and metal pieces as well then it is recommended for you to go with the metal lathe machinery, because it can help you process both of the material. As opposed to the wood lathe that can only help you with the woodworking projects as it cannot process metal sheets.
We will let you decide what is best for you, based on what we mentioned above.
As we stated earlier, one can’t process metal objects on a wood lathe, as it lacks the basic key components that are required for metal-working. It can only be used for wood.
They can be dangerous if you don’t apply all the important safety instructions and use only safe equipment when you are working on your projects. You have to be somehow skilled with a chisel because if you don’t hold it at a proper angle it could force your wrist and even break your arm or worse. It’s no joke when it comes to wood-turning so we strongly recommend you take all the necessary precautions when handling a lathe.
If you are about to wear gloves before operating a lathe make sure they are tightly fit on your hand as there is the risk of a loose glove to get caught into the spinning machinery and generate serious injuries. Avoid having loose clothes or loose gloves when operating with a spinning device, not only when operating a lathe.
Our top choice is the JET Variable Speed Wood Lathe as it is one of the best wood lathes that we have ever seen. The vast majority of the reviewers had this model on their top three preferences and we think that it has a certain weight. By using the top-tier functions that are installed on it, all your projects will be simplified and accelerated as you are most likely to finish earlier than you projected. These are the best wood lathes 2021 has seen so far and we strongly recommend it, as well as all the other hardware tools on the homemakerguide site.