Companies have rolled out several new offerings, giving consumers an array of options and capabilities
Lathes were a dominant product category at the AWFS fair, held July 15-18 in Las Vegas. From mini-lathes to copy lathes, most of the major lathe manufacturers had a new product to tout.
Here's a look at what Woodshop News found:
Delta has introduced two benchtop or midi-lathes, including a 1-hp variable speed model 46-460 with a reverse turning feature and the five-speed, 3/4-hp model 46-455.
Product manager Bill Harman says one of the highlights of both models is their large swing capacity that allows for the turning of a variety of decorative projects up to 12-1/2" in diameter.
"Most units in this range have a 10" swing capacity, so it gives you about 25 percent more capacity for larger diameter bowls and other projects," says Harman.
In addition, the lathes offer 16-1/2" of center-to-center capacity - allowing the turning of pieces ranging from long chair legs to short thimbles. Another common feature of both lathes is Delta's patent-pending quick-change belt tensioning system, which ensures smooth belt-pulley speed range transitions, accurate belt tension settings and maximum torque transfers, according to Harman.
Other features on both lathes include a 3" faceplate, as well as 6"and 10" tool rests for the turning of small and large spindles, respectively. The lathes also are equipped with an indexing pin to lock the head stock spindle in 24 different locations for fluting and other decorative applications.
The 46-460 offers a speed range of 250 to 4,400 rpm, while the five-speed model operates at 500, 950, 1,550, 2,700 and 4,000 rpm, according to the company.
Optional accessories include a reversible chuck, stand, stand extension and a modular bed extension. Each bed extension increases bed length 25-1/2" up to a maximum of 93" between centers.
Offering the capability to rotate forward and reverse, the 46-460 is the only reversible benchtop lathe on the market, says Harman. The reversing function eliminates the difficult and sometimes impossible task of reverse mounting workpieces in order to sand and finish. Ideal for turning bowls and hollow vases, the reversing action aims harmful fine dust away from the turner and directly into the dust collector as well. Model 46-460 has a suggested retail price of $599.
The five-speed model 46-455 sells for $499.
If you are looking for a versatile heavy duty industrial wood lathe, Grizzly Industrial has an answer with the release of its model G0694 that weighs more than 600 lbs. The 3-hp, 220-volt, 3-phase machine operates on 220-volt single-phase power via a built-in inverter, allowing for low-speed torque and variable-speed capability on common single-phase power.
"This is a large, very heavy machine made for serious wood turning," says Bill Crofutt, Grizzly quality control manager. "We would expect this to be used by the very advanced hobbyist and professional shops that require the advanced features of this lathe."
The lathe has a 20" swing over bed, 24-1/2" swing over gap, 43" distance between centers, 16-3/4"swing over tool rest and extensive variable speed range. There is a digital speed indicator, forward/reverse switch, outboard tool rest attachment and built-in storage cabinet.
"This is the heaviest, largest, most powerful and most advanced wood lathe Grizzly has ever created," Crofutt says. "It weighs over 600 lbs. in place and is capable of handling almost any wood-turning task you can give it. And by using a built-in inverter, it allows us to use a variable-speed 3-phase motor on single phase."
The model G0694 is 97" long x 17-3/4" wide x 49" high and has a footprint of 77" x 16-1/2". The bed, headstock and tailstock are all cast iron and the cabinet is sheet metal. The machine has a MT#2 spindle taper and the spindle is 1-1/4" x 8 TPI and indexed every 15 degrees.
"This wood lathe has been designed to handle large outboard turning due in part to its extremely heavy duty outboard tool rest. Electronically controlled variable speed using an inverter allows the lathe to maintain power, yet slow to as little as 50 rpm and still reach 3,000 rpm."
The Grizzly model G0694 heavy duty variable-speed wood lathe sells for $2,650.
General International's most recent lathe is model 25-114 M1, the 14" x 17" variable-speed Maxi-Lathe VF. It can handle light- to medium-production turning projects, according to the company.
The lathe has a simple belt and pulley system that allows for three speed ranges: 250-800, 550-1,700 and 1,200-3,600 rpm with electronic dial-in variable control. It also has a large 14" swing over bed, 10-3/4" swing over tool rest, and a full 17" turning distance between centers.
The lathe features a solid cast-iron bed and headstock, an open style cast-iron tail stock, and a 1" diameter tool rest post. Both the tool rest and tailstock are equipped with steel quick-lock levers for easy repositioning and positive locking action.
Offering 24 indexing positions in 15-degree increments, the 25-114 M1 has a 3/4-hp, 5-amp motor with reverse operation and a spindle lock.
The Maxi-Lathe comes with a 6" tool rest, 3" face plate, live center, spur center, knockout bar, a large spindle wrench and safety glasses. It sells for about $500.
Unless we missed it, Powermatic didn't show a new lathe at AWFS and Jet wasn't an exhibitor.
But Powermatic did introduce its third-generation 3520B lathe in 2007, which retained features found on previous models such as the sliding headstock, electronic variable speed with low- and high-speed ranges and a spindle lock.
The company added a digital rpm readout, built-in spindle indexing on the head stock, self-ejecting quill and a redesigned tool rest. The lathe offers a 2-hp motor, 20" swing over bed and 16" swing over the tool rest base, 34-1/2" distance between centers, and 48 indexing positions. The 3520B has a suggested retail price of $3,400.
Laguna Tools offers a wide range of lathes, from entry level through production models. But the company's Platinum Series model 18/47, introduced in 2006, has created the most discussion among serious turners on the various online turning forums.
The 18/47 features plenty of cast iron in the bed and legs to dampen vibration and weighs in at 500 lbs. The headstock slides along the entire length of the bed, while the variable speed control (with digital readout) can be used in forward or reverse, according to the company.
The lathe also features a 2-hp motor, 18" swing over bed, 47" distance between centers, and 6" face plate. It sells for $1,854.
Laguna also introduced a 59" copy lathe, model A175016, in 2008. It features a 2-hp motor and a 9" swing over bed and a copier that rides on a solid steel rail. The copy lathe sells for $2,995.
The Oliver 2018 Classic lathe is a variable speed, heavy duty wood lathe designed for turning shops. With a weight of 742 lbs., the lathe eliminates the threat of chatter and vibration that often occurs when producing large turnings, according to the company.
"The thing I like the most about it is the machine's outboard table, which is included with the price of the machine," says product manager Dan Shaw. "You can actually move the outboard table to either side of the machine so you can do it on the left side if you want to do outboard turning because there is an outboard faceplate with the spindle coming out that side. Or you can move it to the other end of the machine to increase the turning length from 42" to 57", so it is kind of a dual-purpose outboard table."
The 2-hp, single-phase machine has a variable speed range of 200 to 2,500 rpm. The first speed range is 200 to 600 rpm and the second speed range is 600 to 2,500 rpm. The rpm's readout is on a digital display. The user simply needs to push a range knob to change speeds and the display will change.
"It's a variable speed-type pulley system," Shaw explains. "We decided to go with that more traditional type setup rather than the frequency inverters that a lot of them use. So what you need to do to get the range on them is basically move the pulley from one step to the other to get the two different ranges. There is a lever and you just release the tension on the motor and move the belt. It's not a big deal; it will take you around 30 seconds."
The swing over the bed is 18", 35" on the outboard side with the outboard attachment. The machine is "99 percent cast iron," including the base, legs, bed, tool rest and headstock.
The Oliver 2018 Classic lathe sells for $4,950.
Oneway introduced a sit-down lathe last year, especially appealing for older woodworkers or those with bad knees, sore backs or other disabilities.
The lathe, model 1236SD, can actually be used in either a standing or sitting position. When sitting down, the bed flips over to the lower position and it becomes a sit-down machine. Nothing is sacrificed by having the bed in the lower position, according to company president Tim Clay.
"The key strengths to the machine are that is built basically along the same lines as our big machines," Clay said in an interview with Woodshop News in January. "We go for double-bearing front and back in the headstock, adjustable leg height, a clamping mechanism in the banjo, which is patented and not equaled by anybody. We double-bore the post hole that the tool rest goes in and clamp with a sure clip button, rather than a set screw.
The Oneway lathe offers electronic speed control, a 12-1/2" swing over the bed, 36" between centers, and 24-position indexing.
"This lathe is like nothing available on the market today," adds Clay. "Not only will it open up the possibility of turning to wheelchair-bound people, but it will also make it possible for people to enjoy [turning] from a comfortable position, for a longer period of time. We are very proud of the capabilities of the machine."
The lathe has a suggested retail price of $2,995.
Rikon recently added two new lathes to its line. Model 70-050 is a 1/2-hp mini-lathe featuring a 12" swing and 16"between centers. It features a 6" tool rest, perfect for pen turning. A high-quality rubber belt promotes smoother power transfer with less vibration, according to the company. The 70-050 sells for $270.
Model 70-200EVS features an electronic variable speed and a 1/2-hp motor. A 12-position locking index head allows accurate pattern work to be performed on projects such as fluting, grooving, drilling and layout. It will also lock the spindle for accessory removal.
The 70-200EVS sells for $700.
Woodstock International has introduced its Shop Fox model W1758 wood lathe with cast-iron legs and digital readout. The 2-hp single-phase machine has variable spindle speeds ranging from 600 to 2,400 rpm. The lathe has a digital tachometer that displays the exact spindle speed.
"Because of the cast-iron construction, 2-hp motor and variable speed, we would expect this to be used by the serious hobbyist or occasionally used in a professional environment," says Bill Crofutt, Shop Fox quality control manager.
The entire head swivels 360 degrees allowing for outboard turning and the cast-iron bed allows for reliable alignment of centers. The swing over bed is 16" and the maximum distance between centers is 43". The headstock has rotation stops at zero, 60, 90, 120 and 180 degrees.
"We wanted to make this lathe as sturdy and heavy as possible, yet keep it affordable to the hobbyist," Crofutt says. "The cast-iron bed and cast-iron legs really help deaden vibration and the variable speed makes it easier to work with different diameters."
The Shop Fox lathe has quick lock/release levers for the headstock and tailstock, and an extra large tool rest for maximum chisel positioning and support. The W1758 is 72-1/2" long x 19" wide and 48" high. The lathe has a footprint of 54" x
13-1/4" and the machine weighs 287 lbs.
"Our customers really like the digital readout for spindle rpm as well as the cast-iron construction, 2-hp motor and outboard-turning capability."
The Shop Fox model W1758 wood lathe is priced at $659.
In the last two years, Steel City Tool Works has introduced granite to band saws, cabinet saws, and jointer tables and fences. The company has taken it a step farther with its five-speed granite mini-lathe. The lathe has a solid granite bed and headstock, which provides the user with added weight so the lathe will never twist, warp, rust or corrode. Granite is also not affected by heat, cold or humidity.
The five-speed mini-lathe has a 1/2-hp single-phase motor with speeds of 500, 1,300, 2,100, 2,750 and 3,600 rpm for a wide range of turning operations. It features a 12" swing over the bed with 27" between centers for ample capacity without the need for a bed extension. Other features include a push-button switch, 6" tool rest, and 3" faceplate. External hinged access doors allow for quick access to belts and pulleys for changing speeds and replacement of the belt.
The five-speed mini lathe, model 60170G, is 50" long x 12" wide x 24" high and weighs 161 lbs. It is priced at $320.
* Delta Machinery, 4825 Highway 45 North, Jackson, TN 38305. Tel: 800-223-7278. www.deltaportercable.com
* General International Mfg. Ltd., 8360 Champ-d'Eau, Montreal, Quebec, H1P 1Y3. Tel: 514-326-1161. www.general.ca
* Grizzly Industrial, P.O. Box 2069, Bellingham, WA 98227. Tel: 800-523-4777. www.grizzly.com
* Laguna Tools, 17101 Murphy Ave., Irvine, CA 92614. Tel: 800-234-1976. www.lagunatools.com
* Oliver Machinery, 1210 Andover Park East, Tukwila, WA 98188. Tel: 800-559-5065. www.olivermachinery.net
* Oneway Mfg., 241 Monteith Ave., Stratford, Ontario N5A 2P6. Tel: 800-565-7288. www.oneway.ca
* Rikon Power Tools, 16 Progress Road, Billerica, MA 01821. Tel: 978-528-5380. www.rikontools.com
* Steel City Tool Works, P.O. Box 10529, Murfreesboro, TN 37129. Tel: 877-724-8665. www.steelcitytoolworks.com
* WMH Tool Group (Jet, Powermatic), 2420 Vantage Dr., Elgin, IL 60124. Tel: 847-851-1000. www.wmhtoolgroup.com
8 Woodstock International, P.O. Box 2309, Bellingham, WA 98227. Tel: 800-840-8420. www.woodstockinternational.com
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue.