Hitting the limits

As my esteemed readers will know, I don’t own a wood turning lathe. My lathe is a proper small engineering lathe for a metal workshop. It does what I am asking it to do, but it has its limitations, and I am hitting them more and more these days.

  1. The maximum diameter I can turn is 10 inches. That’s a decent size bowl or platter, but it’s by no means large. And there are plenty of designs in my head that are asking for larger pieces. My tutor says: well then scale it down. Yes, that’s an option, but you do lose impact.
  2. Fine spindle work requires high revs. For finials it’s best to go at more than 2000rpm, as high as you can really. My lathe does about 2000rpm, but it gets hot after an hour or so. It just wasn’t built for this sort of thing.
  3. The saddle and apron are getting in the way. Mind you, having a saddle with 2 T-slots has its advantages: I can very easily make myself add-on tools that can be mounted securely with 2 or more screws in these slots, such as my sanding table.
    On the other hand, when I want to do a nice pull cut on the outside of a bowl, there are places where I simply cannot get the cutting angle I want, because the tool handle collides with the saddle/apron.

All of which makes me think that I should buy a proper wood turning lathe. I have my eye on the Axminster AT1416VS or the AT1628VS. As long as I only have the small workshop I have right now, I think it will have to be the smaller one of these two, simply because otherwise I’d have to sell my engineering lathe, and that is not an option.

Well, watch this space…

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