If you could wish wood into any shape you desire, then there would be no need for wood lathes. But as the universe would have it, you need one to form certain wood products. Whether you are trying to make a wooden vase, an effigy, a bowl or a spindle, they will come in handy. For one who is just venturing into the craft of making these type of wood products, choosing your machine can be a bit tough. But now that you are here, it may not be as tough anymore. Here, you will find some of the best wood lathe for beginners.
A wood lathe is one very important machine for woodwork artistry. You could even say lathes scribble beauty on the bodies of woods. The better the lathe, the more beautiful your woodwork is. There are many wood lathe in the market out there. They all have features that could attract a beginner. But that does not necessarily mean that they are the best wood lathe for beginners.
In this article, we review 10 of the best wood lathes and weigh their pros and cons for you. We also emphasize the main features you have to look out for and other things you should know before you buy your wood lathe.
The Proxxon Micromot DB 250 Micro Woodturning Lathe is a mid-range wood lathe. It comes at a mid-range price and this should not be out of range for most people. It also packs some features to justify its price. Moving the machine around may not be much of an issue because it weighs about 2.7 kg. It operates at 220 – 240 volts and consumes 100 watts of power.
It comes with 6 collets and each collet is of a different size. The sizes of the collet are 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10 mm. With 6 collets, this product can work well with workpieces within a broad radius range. The collets are not all that comes with options. The product also has 3 centre distance swing over supports. It has a centre distance of 25 mm, 40 mm, and 250 mm. The headstock spindle had a bore measuring 10 mm. At the other end, the tailstock has a travel measuring 20 mm. These parts come in handy when you are making small pieces of your woodwork.
The motor runs between 1000 rpm and 5000 rpm. The speed is controlled by an electric speed controller and the controller permits continuous speed control. Other features of this product include a drive centre, a faceplate, and a live centre.
The T-Mech Wood Lathe 1m Woodturning also falls in the range of the mid-price wood lathes. The features are quite okay when compared with the price at which it is offered. It is not hard to notice how long this product is. It measures about 1 metre and will work with short wood pieces and long wood pieces up to 1 metre.
Unlike the first product, the speed control on this one is not continuous. It has 4 distinct speeds instead. The speeds the spindle operates at are 810 rpm, 1180 rpm, 1700 rpm, and 2480 rpm. The motor operates at 1400 rpm. You can create an array of wood products with this machine. From small-sized products to wood projects with diameters up to 350 mm, the T-Mech Wood Lathe is suitable.
It comes with 6 free chisels and is suited for use on tables or benches. The machine is powered by voltages between 220 and 240 and it consumes about 40 watts of power.
Next on the list is the Axminster Craft AC370WL Variable Speed Woodturning Lathe. This machine is quite powerful and durable. It is made from cast iron and packs a lot of interesting features.
First is the centre distance. It has a centre distance of up to 1.1 metres. The good news here is that with this length, you can work with long wood pieces on the wood lathe. It also has a centre height of 185 mm. If you double the centre height, you get the turning diameter – 370 mm. With this diameter, you are not limited to just small woodwork. You can create woodwork as wide as 370 mm with ease.
The headstock is not fixed. It is movable along the axis of the bed. This means that you can set the headstock the way you want and the way that works best for you. Asides sliding the headstock along the bed, you can also swivel it. The headstock is designed in a way to give you as much flexibility as you need. At the other end, the tailstock comes with a revolving centre to add more flexibility to the operation of the lathe.
It uses a spindle system that allows for continuous variation of spindle speed. It comes with a 4-legged floor stand. You can choose to use it while it stands on the floor. You can also choose to place it on a bench or table for you to use it. Other outstanding features of the product include the 4-prong drive centre, an outboard tool rest extension, the 150 mm faceplate, and the 300 mm tool rest. One thing about this is the price. It comes at a relatively high price. If what you want is a budget lathe, this is not what you are looking for. Well, except your budget is other people’s luxury.
The Wood Turning Lathe Holzmann D460FXL is a wood lathe powered by electricity. It is powered by a voltage of 230 v and consumes between 550 and 770 watts of electricity. There is more to this than the electricity it consumes.
It has a centre height of 153 mm and this translates to having a maximum turning diameter of about 306 mm. This is considerably high and it means that with this you can create woodwork with diameters up to 306 mm without a hassle. It also has a centre distance of 457 mm but this can be extended up to 550 mm. this comes in handy when the 457 mm is not long enough for your wood piece.
The speed can be tuned infinitely. The spindle speed comes in 3-speed ranges. The first range is 650 rpm – 1450 rpm, the second is 1250 rpm – 2800 rpm and the third is 1600 rpm – 3800 rpm. Between these ranges, you can tune the speed continuously.
The tailstock bore has a diameter of 10 mm and the tail spindle has a travel of 50 mm. The wood lathe weighs 33 kg. It also has some other interesting features including a faceplate, a long & short tool rest, a life centre, and a 4-side grab chuck. The price is quite huge but perhaps it is fair.
The first thing you should know about the SEEAN Mini Lathe Beads Polisher Machine is its durability. The body is made of stainless steel and that makes it resistant to dust and rust. It is beautiful, well designed, and resistant to impact. The engine portion of the wood lathe has convection holes for cooling. The convection holes coupled with the conductivity of the steel helps prevent overheating.
It uses a ball-bearing motor that has a maximum speed of 7000 rpm. The control tunes between 0 and 7000 rpm continuously. If you are cutting wood, it is best if you do not exceed 4000 rpm. But if you are grinding, you can go beyond this speed. The lathe cuts with high precision and operates with low noise. This makes using it a bit more bearable for you.
You have 2 power options when using this. You can either use an AC power source or a DC power source. For the AC power source, 230 volts is required to power it. For the DC power source, you need between 12 and 24 volts. The machine consumes about 150 watts of power. You can use it for cutting, grinding, milling, engraving, polishing, and much more.
It is lightweight so moving it around is easy and it also comes at a very low price. It is one of the cheapest on this list.
The Draper 60988 300mm Mini Wood Lathe is a workbench wood lathe and it functions with variable speed. It is made of cast iron and this makes it very durable. Asides being durable, cast iron also reduces the vibration felt while operating. This makes for convenient use.
The product comes with a long and short faceplate. The long face plate measures 150 mm while the short one measures 50 mm. The Draper Wood Lathe suits DIY and small-scale woodworks. The bed is a swing-over type bed with a length of 200 mm. This machine also comes with a no-volt switch. The no-volt switch is a safety feature that helps prevent damage due to power surges.
This lathe weighs 20.8 kg which is not too heavy. It runs on 230 volts of electricity and consumes 250 watts of power. The price is closer to high-end than mid-price.
When you get this, you get durability and efficiency. The Benchtop Lathes Woodworking Lathe Machine is a benchtop wood lathe. It is made of stainless steel. So, you can expect resistance to dust and rust. You can also expect some sturdiness and minimal vibration while the wood lathe is working.
The spindle operates at speeds between 850 rpm and 2150 rpm. Even at these speeds, it operates at low noise yet it is very precise. Although it is portable, it is quite powerful in its function. It works for cutting, engraving, polishing, milling, and many more.
The bed has a length of 1000 mm. So, you can cut longer spindle and wood pieces on it easily. The wood lathe has a maximum turning diameter of 350 mm. This prevents you from being limited to working with small pieces of wood.
It weighs 22 kg which is not so heavy. It runs on 230 volts of electricity and consumes 400 watts of power. The price falls within the mid-price range.
The Mini Lathe Polisher Machine by Poweka works for wood but not just wood. It also works for stone, ceramic, glass, peach, and many more materials. The body of the machine is made of an organic transparent dustproof glass cover. This cover has convective holes on the side to control heat flow in the motor compartment.
The length of the bed is 180 mm. So, you can clamp a spindle or wood with a length up to 180 mm with the lathe. The maximum turning diameter is 70 mm which is quite small. The chuck can hold wood pieces with diameters within the range of 0.6 mm to 6 mm.
The spindle operates at 7 speeds between 4000 and 8000 rpm. Even at these high speeds, the lathe operates at low noise, high stability, and with high precision. The machine runs on DC power source with 24 volts of electricity and consumes 80 watts of power. Weighing about 1.5 kg, you have a lightweight on your hand. It is not just light, it is also portable making it easy to carry around. It falls within the low-price range and is very inexpensive.
Wisamic Mini Motorized Lathe Machine works for wood, metals, plastic, acrylic, and more. Asides the drive belt cover, all the parts of the machine are made of metal. So, you can expect some durability.
The lathe has a working material length of 135 mm and a maximum working diameter of 20 m. both these features are small and can be better. It has a centre height of 25 mm and the slider can travel up to 160 mm. The motor runs at 20,000 rpm but you have the option of getting the one that runs at 12,000 rpm.
The product is powered by 24 volts of electricity from a DC power source. It consumes 24 watts of power which is low – this is a good thing. It means the Wisamic Lathe Machine consumes less energy than the rest. This machine works for DIYs and small-scale woodworks. It does not suit professionals. It weighs 4.12 kg and is lightweight. It is not so expensive.
The name gives away the most special feature of this product. It is a 6-in-1 lathe machine. You can assemble it in 6 different ways. For each assembling, it becomes a lathe with a different purpose. This machine works as a miller, an engraver, a cutter, a grinder, and a driller. It works for metals, wood, and acrylic.
The outer body is made of aluminium alloy and Zinc alloy. These materials provide a good degree of durability to the body of the machine. The machine weighs about 3.2 kg and is lightweight. Asides being lightweight, it is portable and can be carried around easily.
The chuck holds wood pieces with diameters between 1 mm and 6 mm. The bed is suitable for materials as long as 135 mm and with a maximum diameter of 20 mm. The slider can travel up to 50 mm. It has a maximum operating speed of 12,000 rpm. Even at this speed, the machine operates at low noise.
You can power it with AC and DC electricity. For AC, 100 – 240 volts of electricity will power it. For a DC power source, 12 volts of electricity will do the job. The product consumes about 29 watts of electricity and this is impressive.
Making your choice from amongst the wood lathe available may be one of the toughest decision you have to make. But with this guide, you may just make the best decision you can. There are several features to consider when choosing your machine but we consider the most important here. For the best wood lathe for beginners, look out for the following:
Depending on your account balance, the cost may not be an issue for you. But, it could be an issue for many other people. A wood lathe for beginners will only function for small scale and DIY processes. In other words, you are unlikely to use it for commercial processes and make money. So, you should consider the cost very well. You would not want to invest too much money in an item that may not fetch you returns.
Length of the Bed
The length of the bed is another important factor. The length of the bed determines the size of the longest materials you can use with the machine. This is important if you are going to be working with large materials. It is easier to use a long material on a machine with a long bed than to adjust the machine to suit the length of your material.
Maximum Turning Diameter
After checking for the length of the bed, the maximum turning diameter is another important factor. Like the length of the bed, the maximum turning diameter determines the maximum size of material that can be used with and produced from the machine.
This is another important factor. You would not want your electricity bills to go way up just because you bought a wood lathe. Check for the power rating on the machine you intend to buy. Products with ratings lower than 100 watts have lower energy consumption rate.
If you are working with quality, your transition from being a beginner to being an advanced user can be smoother. If you are not using the best machine you can find, what you put in may be less than what comes out. But if you work with one of the best wood lathe for beginners, your output can be better than your input.