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lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: Mike Daigle (174.90.129.---)
Date: December 20, 2018 12:00PM

Hi everyone, I'm considering buying a lathe to turn handles and reel seats. As well as likely get into some woodworking projects with it.
Looking for any recommendations on what to look for. Don't want to spend too much, but also don't want to end up with junk by being too cheap.
Any recommendations here? What should I be looking for?
From my early research the potential problems I'm seeing is finding one with a long enough bed. I want to be able to turn handles for float rods which can get long.

Thanks in advance for any help in this.

Mike

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Re: lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: December 20, 2018 12:13PM

Most of the midi lathes offer bed extensions if you need more length.

...........

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Re: lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: Phil Erickson (---.dsl.pltn13.sbcglobal.net)
Date: December 20, 2018 12:14PM

Take a look at Penn State Industries web site. They have a number of nice lathes. I use the Midi size for handles, grips, reel seat inserts and other small wood projects. I originally bought the Mini size, and eventually found it to be too small.

I recommend the variable speed control, and there are bed extensions if wanted for long length projects.

Their quality is good and their service is excellent.

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Re: lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: roger wilson (---.hsd1.mn.comcast.net)
Date: December 20, 2018 03:38PM

Here is a decent lathe that will do the job nicely.

[www.harborfreight.com]

But remember, buying the lathe is only the first step.
It is nice to have a couple of different chucks for the head stock as well as some live tail stock pieces with ball bearings.

Also, it is nice to have the bed extension to ease the shaping of grips. The additional length is very useful when installing and removing various pieces and tools in and out of the lathe.

This is a picture of the Excelsior lathe that I own.

[www.rodbuilding.org]


Note the additions to the basic lathe that I purchased or made.
- head stock chuck
-tail stock chuck
- ball bearing work support.
- bed extension

Because I do a lot of other things with the lathe in addition to rod building, I have several more different chucks of different types, as well as tools, drill bits etc.

A general rule of thumb.

Pay the cost of the basic lathe.
Then, likely pay an additional cost that may be near the same or exceed the initial price of the lathe for chucks, tools, bed extensions that one adds to the basic lathe to allow the various jobs that one might want to do with the lathe.

Good luck

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Re: lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: Hans Shull (---.wiblast.com)
Date: December 21, 2018 06:02AM

I love my Shopsmith. Great lathe and all the other power tools needed for woodworking as well in 1 package.
Pick them up used for a song.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will spend the mortgage money on fly rods and waders

Hans
Chester NH

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Re: lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: Jay McKnight (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com)
Date: December 21, 2018 07:22AM

I have a 70-100 Rikon that I really like. It's 16" between centers which is plenty of room for the longest of grips. It's small enough and light enough that I can pick it up and move it yet heavy enough that it stays put without being anchored to a bench. I'm quite certain you can purchase bed extensions for it if you're getting into baseball bats and shovel handles in the future.

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Re: lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: roger wilson (---.hsd1.mn.comcast.net)
Date: December 21, 2018 08:00AM

Although an 18" bed length will work for most rod grips, it is very convenient to have an additional 18 inch bed extension on the lathe.

I commonly use some long tools etc. By virtue of the extra length in the bed, it is easy to move tools in and out without having to take the work out of the headstock chuck.

Good luck

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Re: lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: Jon Hood (---.sub-174-228-162.myvzw.com)
Date: December 21, 2018 11:31AM

I have the lathe from Harbor Freight with a few additional chucks. It is the one Roger mentions above - General Machinery. It works very well - I use it for mainly rod building - grip shaping, sanding, cork blemish filling, etc. I have done a few other projects though and again - good solid lathe- good price!

Jon Hood

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Re: lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: roger wilson (---.hsd1.mn.comcast.net)
Date: December 21, 2018 08:07PM

From time to time, I subject my lathe to some pretty severe use.
In addition to rod building and grip shaping, I also use the lathe as an aid to build some machines.

As part of this process, I will often spin a piece of material and with a stationary drill bit in the tail stock advance the dril bit into the spinning work piece to have a perfectly centered hole.

As a result, there is a lot force - at times - on the tail stock clamp.

To lighten the load on the actual clamp for some of these server drilling chores, I have fabricated an additional clamp for the lathe bad.

It is simply two pieces of 1/4 inch aluminum with a hole drilled through the center of both pieces. I have a bolt running through the two pieces of aluminum and with a bolt on top of the top piece slide the heavy duty clamp so to speak against the back side of the tail stock on the bed lathe and tighten the bolt. Then, I can put as much pressure as needed on the tail stock while drilling and have 0 issues with the tail stock sliding on the lathe bed.

Good luck

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Re: lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: Mike Daigle (174.90.129.---)
Date: December 24, 2018 12:10PM

Thanks everyone for all the replies! Definitely lots to think of.
Being in Canada I cant find as many good deals, we dont have harbor freight here. But still have seen a few possibilities. Also have seen a used Shopsmith locally. Guy is asking more than I want to pay now, but I've seen it listed for a while so likely gonna go in with a lower offer after the holidays. The positive about that machine is I will get a bandsaw and table saw out of it also. WHich are 2 tools I need!

Thanks again everyone.

Mike

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Re: lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: roger wilson (---.hsd1.mn.comcast.net)
Date: December 24, 2018 01:39PM

Mike,
I respect the post about the shopsmith and your potential use of a shop smith.

Shopsmith does make excellent tools. However, I have never been a fan of any sort of multi tool setup. In a word - setup time. Every time that one goes from one tool to a different tool, there is time involved to change the multi tool for a different use.

I would much rather have a dedicated tool for a specific task.

But, do pick up the equipment that will do the job for you as well as how it all works out for your pocket book.

Best wishes

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Re: lathe for turning handles and seats
Posted by: Hans Shull (---.hsd1.nh.comcast.net)
Date: December 26, 2018 07:35AM

Anything you need to know about the Shopsmith, just ask. I've been using them for many years and love them. If you are small on space they can't be beat. Set up time is no big deal when you get used to them. I can go from any configuration to any other in less then 2 minutes.Plus if you plan out the work in advance, there are minimal changes between operations. The 510 and 520 are the better options in the Mark 5 series. The table and support systems are better and the table is larger than the older 500 series. Also look to see if all the tables, extensions, and legs are with the tool when you buy it.
I have pretty much every attachment they ever made except the air compressor. It all fits and stores in a 3' by 8' space against the wall in my 1 car garage and the includes the dust collection system. The big problem is that they become their own hobby! You will find yourself looking on @#$%&, Craiglist and yards sales for all the extras that you can get for them. I know a guy that has 1 of every model ever made.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will spend the mortgage money on fly rods and waders

Hans
Chester NH

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