A wood lathe is a machine tool that can turn a simple and unattractive piece of wood in art, or, depending on what expectations you have from it, in very helpful and practical tools and objects. It operates by rotating the piece that has to be turned in something new and useful on its axis and there are performed different operations such as cutting, drilling.

This work requires indeed some experience to get the perfect results, but, with years passing, this wood work became a hobby for many, so, now, wood lathes are tools that often can be found in one’s garage or workshop. Very useful for beginners, simple lathes operate with care and less speed in order to get to know the art of turning wood, but, for one that does this for years, a various speed dial and powerful motor are a great help in creating masterpieces. Many start with small projects, such as pens and small toys and, after a while, they discover that all the time invested in managing a good tool is not wasted and they get to create unique pieces and even furniture or complicate cylindrical shaped objects. An experienced woodworker knows how helpful a lathe can be by rotating with the constant and perfect speed in order to obtain a smooth result and how important is to work on a stable surface with a tool that is heavy enough to stop the vibration that may cause problems in getting the quality expected foe the final wooden object. Choosing one of the following tools is going to make your job easier and more challenging by trying new projects that involve working with wood.

Comparison

Product Rating Price
JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch 4.3/5 $$$$
SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe 3.7/5 $$
1/2hp 40 Inch 4 Speed Power Wood Turning Lathe 3.1/5 $$
Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe 5.0/5 $$$
PSI Woodworking LIXGA2 Lathe Mounted Fluting Guide 3.8/5 $$

JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe

The JET JWL-1221VS Wood Lathe is the suitable tool for a professional wood worker or a hobbyist, both needing its unrivaled speed control that is one of the most important features when looking for a wood lathe. It is indeed a great help to beginners due to its smooth speed, flexibility, and great for professionals, being sturdy and having enough power to create a masterpiece. The tool has a variable speed controller and by simply using the rotating knob you can choose the speed you need and there are three belt positions for also a three speed ranges, both very useful to increase or lower the speed. The speed varies between 60- 3600 RPM. The head spindle thread is 1” X 8 TPI, the tailstock and the head are precisely aligned: there won’t be measurable run out. This lathe also has an indexing head, with a spring loaded pin that you can lock in any of its 24 positions. The length of the cord is 4 feet, leaving you enough room to place it as you want. Being a handy tool ready to take all the challenges, the quill is marked in both inches and centimeters. Suitable for bench operation, this unit is rock solid, quiet and has a smooth operation.

SHOP FOX W1704 13- Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

This model knows its precise use and it will be a true help in a workshop. Some important technical features taken into account are: cast iron construction, a 13- Horsepower, 2 Amp, Single– phase, 60 Hz and 110V motor, electric- corded, a 12- inch distance between centers and variable speed control, from 700- 3200 RPM. Suitable for bench operations, it has three bolt holes in the base to secure it on the work bench, holding it down real solid. The W1704 model has both 4-12 and 7- inch tool rest, so you can try various turning applications, also helped by an 8- inch swing over the bed. The 5-34- inch faceplate that is included helps threading onto the headstock spindle for non-spindle turning. Its considerable weight is enough to keep the vibrations down and stay in alignment, so you can pay attention even to the smallest and delicate pieces. The infinitely variable speed dial is very helpful and makes it easy to use, giving you full variable speed without you having to change the belts. Even if it is such a sturdy and solid tool, this lathe allows you to use a small stock of wood to create small objects, depending on your skill and experience.

1/2hp 40 Inch 4 Speed Power Wood Turning Lathe 14x40 In

This woodworking lathe is a heavy duty tool, especially designed to cut, sand, knurl or drill in order to create the object you want. Some technical features are: a single- phase, 350 W motor, 120 V Voltage, 60 Hz Frequency, and 4 speeds. Suitable for beginners too, due to its flexibility, durability and considerable weight that will hold it in place for a precise work, this model is easy to use and has some good instructions you can follow. The 4 speeds can be set internally and you can use them depending on what are you planning to do with the piece of wood: for roughing off you can use 1100 RPM, 1600 RPM for general cutting, 2300 RPM for fine cutting and 3400 RPM for finishing. It can be used right out of the box and it has extra belts included. The lathe arrives with the belt on the slowest speed, the motor is mounted loose, and you need to loosen the two bolts in order to increase tension. In order to change the speed, you’ll need to open the box and unbolt the motor so you can lift it up and move the belt. After a few uses, you’ll surely get very comfortable with its mechanism and it’s going to work immediately. It is recommended to read the instruction manual so you can operate with it easy and quick.

Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe

Model JWL-1015 is affordable, works well and quiet, using less power than other wood lathes, operating a motor that runs cooler and smooth, giving the results you were expecting. It’s a well built machine, having enough weight to stop the vibrations and stay in pace in order for you to get the best results. It has six spindle speeds for all kind of wood work and those are: 500, 840, 1240, 1800, 2630 and 3975 RPM. It also has integrated 24 positions indexing, and a tensioning system that was improved with easier access to the belts. The wider bed surely provides increased rigidity and it will run smooth and quicker than you imagined. The lathe can be used right out of the box and it’s great for small to medium projects, suitable for a beginner or for one that already has some experience with the art of wood turning. Its good alignment and good technical features recommend it for any workshop that operates with wood and needs some smooth cuts and finishing.

PSI Woodworking LIXGA2 Lathe Mounted Fluting Guide with Router

Perfect designed for every challenge that may appear in turning wood, this model is a good help in a woodshop and the best part of it is that now you can add flutes to your wood projects and it will operate smooth and carefully with the pieces you want to finish. It has a 1/3Hp, 110V, 60Hz variable speed motor. Its system includes a guide platform that mounts to the bed of a split, a care router bit, a trim router transport guide that adjusts to cut flutes with V or Cove Router bits and a straight bit for rounding. This tool can handle about 18” in one setup and you can use it to do almost anything in working with pieces of wood. Of course it takes a little care to manage in order to get a result, but, after a few uses, it will be easy to use. Using it, you can add style and dimensions to your turnings and you can enjoy in creating decorative flutes with it. Sturdy, but also flexible in maxing new designs, this tool will give a smooth result in no time.

Conclusion

One of the first steps in working with wood and lathers is to get to know your tools and what you should use them for in order to obtain the ideal result. It’s better to take advantage and invest in a tool that will make your finished objects to be true masterpieces. Some of the most interesting objects in small and creative projects are pens, bottle openers differently shaped, wooden jewelry boxes, bowls, simple or decorated, personalized toys, such as wooden wands, animals and football players or eccentrically wooden figures that point out how unique one can be through its work. All these need some time to exercise on different types of wood and different tools, but, in the end, it all worth all the time and hard work. Using one of the tools that we presented you can improve your technique and the way your work is evaluated. Choose to create stunning pieces, no matter if this is a hobby or you make a living of it. Investing in a lathe that can make woodworking easier is investing in your time, resources and passions.