(2020 Review) TOP 8 Best Wood Lathe For Beginners

The lathes are devices that are usually used in workshops, workshops, and industries . There are also compact versions intended for hobby use. Before choosing a lathe, if you have not yet decided on the model and features, we invite you to take a look at our guide and review of the most popular models on the market right now.

These are the decidedly best products that we have examined in detail here. The buyers have pointed out to us  that they consider top for quality product like the Proxxon 37020 DB 250 Lathe  and the WEN 3421 Variable Speed Mini Wood Lathe   that are a decidedly expensive but professional category model.

The 8 Best Wood Lathe For Beginners- Reviews In 2020

Rank #1: Proxxon 37020 DB 250 Lathe

TheProxxon 37020 DB 250 MICRO Woodturning Lathe is produced by the well-known German company Proxxon. Therefore it is a tool designed specifically for precision work and suitable for machining small pieces.

It has a power of 100 watts and generates a variable speed from 1,000 to 5,000 rpm; it is capable of processing single pieces but also allows the production of small parts in series, it is also equipped with six grippers of different sizes for clamping the pieces, guide center, activity center, and front plate.

The Proxxon DB 250 is considered one of the best wood lathes for beginners of 2020 as regards its particular type. It is among the best-sellers thanks to its high quality, both in terms of manufacturing materials and assembly and in terms of performance offered. The only flaw is its extreme specialization; in fact, it is suitable only for small jobs.

Pros

  • Proxxon quality: Proxxon is known worldwide for its power tools designed specifically for precision work. The Proxxon lathe is made of steel and aluminum and is stable and resistant.
  • Quiet: The small 100 Watt motor is efficient and reaches a maximum speed of 5,000 rpm, but the noise emitted is very low and can be used at home without problems.
  • Electronic control: Thanks to the automatic speed regulation on the lower range, it can also be used for semi-automated painting processes.

Cons

  • For small jobs: Its performances range from hobby to professional level, but only for small jobs. So it is recommended almost exclusively for modeling.

Rank #2: WEN 3421 Variable Speed Mini Wood Lathe

The WEN 3421 Variable Speed Mini Wood Lathe is also a wood lathe designed for small jobs, therefore suitable for both creative craftsmen and hobbyists, in particular for those who practice shipbuilding. In comparison to the Proxxon examined previously, however, the Holzstar is more expensive.

The main body is made of cast iron, and this allows it to increase stability and, consequently, also precision. It is also designed for mounting an extension that serves to increase the distance between the tips. The engine has a power of 370 watts, but the speed generated is lower than the Proxxon, varying only from 750 to 3,200 rpm.

Despite being a good lathe, according to buyers’ opinions, the engine is far noisier and tends to overheat very quickly. Moreover, the extension is an option to be purchased separately, and therefore affects the overall expense.

Pros

  • Reliable and stable: The main body in cast iron, in addition to being safe and resistant, makes it a very stable platform and allows you to work with a reasonable degree of precision, as required by the type of work for which it is designed.
  • Versatile: In addition to small objects, it is possible to mount an extension, to be purchased separately, however, to be able to workpieces up to a meter long, to create table and chair legs.
  • Powerful: 370 watts of power and four adjustable speeds, from 750 to 3,200 revolutions per minute, so that any variety of wood can be worked without problems, including those with the hardest essences.

Cons

  • Overheating: Unfortunately, the engine seems to overheat reasonably quickly, after just 20-30 minutes of work. It is, therefore, not suitable for intensive use.

The RIKON 70-100 Mini Lathe  is a compact stationary machine, whose reduced size and weight allow it to be placed even in a small space or, if necessary, to be moved and transported easily.

It has a powerful motor and an excellent versatility of use: it can perform roughing, sanding, painting, and polishing operations. Its performances, however, are strictly limited to the hobby user group. The Einhell lathe is an inexpensive power tool, designed to be used occasionally. In a non-intensive way, the company itself, in the instructions, recommends limiting the work period to 10-15 minutes, given the tendency of the engine to overheat and go into an automatic safety lock.

If you are looking for a professional tool to use for work, therefore, it will be better to go elsewhere. Still, if you are looking for a tool for your small home hobby workshop, then the Einhell lathe is undoubtedly worth considering.

Pros

  • Economic:  The competitive price is one of the major draws of the Einhell lathe, especially for the range of users for which it is intended. It is especially recommended for beginners DIY enthusiasts.
  • Compact and light:  Its vocation as a “domestic” tool is also evidenced by its small size and low weight, which make it easy to place even in small rooms, and to be transported when needed.
  • Versatile:  In its small way, it can do many jobs, from roughing the pieces to painting; but always within the limits of measurement, load, and expected working life.

Cons

  • For hobbyists only:  The performance level is optimized for non-intensive use. Being light, it tends to vibrate a lot. Moreover, the engine overheats if used too long.

Rank #4: Erie Mini Metal Milling Lathe

On the other hand, you are looking for where to buy a new precision parallel lathe for professional use, then we recommend the 0708 model produced by the Italian company Fervi, an expensive but well-equipped lathe capable of providing high-level performance.

The price may appear decidedly high, but in reality, it is well proportioned to both quality and performance. For this reason, buyers consider it the best professional-grade lathe among the various models sold online. It has a power of 400 watts with 230V power supply, tapered bearings for the spindle shaft, the noni are adjustable and also has protections for the mother screw and the spindle.

It is delivered in a wooden case, therefore well protected, and the accessories supplied also include a free steady rest, the thread comparator, a fixed tailstock CM2, a fixed tailstock CM3, and a fixed turret for 12 mm tools.

Pros

  • Professional: It is a professional lathe in all respects designed for intensive use and, therefore, particularly suitable for professionals and for the most demanding hobbyists who can face the expense.
  • Excellent materials: Solid and reliable, the Fervi lathe is made of first choice materials, even the gears of the speed change system are made of superior quality steel.
  • Well equipped: The range of accessories includes many elements, including four hex keys, the key for the spindle, two different tailstocks, six jaws, and more.

Cons

  • Price: The high cost makes it a niche model, accessible only to the most demanding professionals, artisans, and hobbyists.

Rank #5:PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Midi Lathe

The PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Midi Lathe, on the other hand, is a Micro model designed to perform precision work of various types, including threads, on metals, and other materials, ideal for the construction and transformation of precision mechanical components, for the vehicle maintenance and model making.

It has a power of 600 watts and a digital control system for magnetic induction that allows you to work in two different modes, one with a speed range between 50 0and 2000 rpm and one with a range between 1500 and 3600 revolutions per minute, depending on the type of material and the work to be performed.

Unfortunately, it has some defects that tend to weigh over time, however, such as the sliding surfaces of the carriages, which are rough and unfinished, for example, the transversal undercarriage and other small essential details.

Pros

  • Versatile: It is specifically designed to work with different types of materials, including various types of metal, and therefore it is incredibly versatile in use, even if limited in any case to precision work.
  • Double speed scale: The digital control system of electromagnetic induction allows you to adjust the speed according to two different ranges, to optimize the yield based on the material you are working on.
  • Structural quality: Not only the body and main components but also the gears are made of steel. The architectural quality is excellent and well proportioned to the cost of the appliance.

Cons

  • Small defects: The only flaw is given by a series of minor imperfections, which, over time, affect the performance and, above all, on the level of precision.

Rank #6: JET JWL-1221VS Wood Lathe

The ceramic lathe produced by the Swiss company Glorex is a simple manual tool with ball bearings, about 5 centimeters high and with a diameter of 22 centimeters.

It is not electric and is therefore free of the pedal, motor, and other mechanical components, except of course for ball bearings, which guarantee smooth rotation.

It is practically a potter’s wheel, which, however, being motorless, is not particularly suitable for modeling large pots; on the other hand, it is excellent for shaping small pieces but above all for painting and decorating.

It is characterized by an extremely advantageous price and easy accessibility, so buyers recommend it not only as an additional tool for expert potters and potters but also as a first lathe for beginner potters, to familiarize themselves with the processing methods of clay before moving to a motorized wheel.

Pros

  • Affordable price: The Glorex lathe has been appreciated above all for its low cost. After all, it is a manual action tool, simple both as regards the design concept and for its use.
  • Versatile: Its features make it usable by both beginners and more experienced professionals and hobbyists; it can be used to model small pieces, but it is excellent above all for painting and decorating.
  • Easy to clean: It is also effortless to wash, as being free of mechanical and electronic components can be safely immersed in water.

Cons

  • Manual: Being a manual potter’s wheel, it is not suitable for creating large pots. Instead, it is recommended for beginner potters, before switching to a motorized model.

Rank #7: Shop Fox W1836 Wood Lathe

With the Shop Fox W1836 Wood Lathe , we return to precision equipment for processing wood, aluminum, soft metals, and plastics, such as Teflon and Delrin polymeric resins. It is a lathe for hobbyists, but it is a top of the range model in its category, as you can guess from the price. Therefore it is also suitable for non-intensive professional use.

It is equipped with a mobile trolley with a longitudinal feed system and rapid adjustment of the direction of movement, safety microswitches on the protection of the spindle and of the gear compartment, to safeguard the operator, protective screens in transparent plastic and protection fuse for the motor.

The flaws, if they can be considered, are the reasonably substantial price that limits their accessibility to the most demanding hobbyists and those who have no expense problems, and the low engine power.

Pros

  • Mobile trolley: Usually, this is a function that is only found in professional lathes. Yet, the Valex lathe is equipped with it, and buyers have found it very useful for roughing and finishing work.
  • Precise and safe: The spindle offers the right level of precision; it is also equipped with two sets of new jaws. It also has numerous protections for both the engine and the operator.
  • Versatile: The Valex lathe is suitable for both woodworking and soft metals and plastic materials, for roughing, finishing, polishing, threading, and many other applications.

Cons

  • Low power: The motor has an absorption of only 250 watts, and given the type of lathe, the power is not exactly the best. It is recommended for non-intensive hobby use.

If we have not yet managed to dispel any doubts about which lathe to buy, we add the KKmoon model to our ranking, especially interesting for the ease of use and for the completeness of the accessories included in the set.

Although the motor is not very powerful, with this product, it is possible to cut various types of wood and other materials, because it has numerous tools, including a table saw. In this regard, as anticipated, the accessories are different; in fact, it is possible to have a mobile metal tool holder, a drill key, a metal saw table, a screw key, and many others.

It is mostly a universal set, which, by the way, has the characteristic of being offered at a competitive price. To all these elements, there is also the possibility of installing and adding a flexibility shaft for polishing, drilling, engraving, or cutting.

The power of 80W also makes it economical about the energy consumption class.

Pros

  • Universal set: The package contains a large number of accessories, all suitable for different activities. For this reason, the KKmoon mini lathe can be listed among the most complete on our list.
  • Value for money: For the number of tools and accessories and the quality of materials with which it is made, it has a good quality/price ratio.
  • Versatile: Thanks to the amount of accessories included, it is possible to cut wood, glass, and other harder materials, as well as to model, drill, and engrave.

Cons

  • Motor power: The 80W power yields little on more critical jobs. The engine, making a comparison with similar models, does not always reach maximum potential.

Accessories

Lathe tools

PSI Woodworking Lathe Key

The PSI Woodworking Lathe Key contains a series of lathe tools, and in this case, we are talking about 7 T8 keys, seven inserts, and seven stems. The keys are made of 42CR steel alloy while the advertisements are in tungsten carbide, therefore suitable for turning iron, aluminum, and the like.

Steel can also turn, but only steel with a lower hardness index.

The buyers found them functional and of good quality, despite their Chinese origin, also their size is 10 x 10 millimeters, and this makes them compatible with a wide range of lathes.

It is primarily those designed for hobby use.

Buying Guide - How to choose the best wood lathe for beginners?

 

What is the lathe and which model to choose

The lathe is a stationary machine tool whose price can vary from 50 to 5,000 euros and more, depending on the type and intended use, to decide which lathe to buy. Therefore, it is good first to have a clear idea of how and for what to use it.

Its applications range from the simple branch of DIY to industrial ones; for convenience and duty of synthesis, in our purchase guide, we will focus mainly on models belonging to the medium-low economic range, which ranges from around 50 to 1,500 euros, where the machines destined for the broader market segment are concentrated, namely that for hobbyists and small-scale professional use.

We will, therefore, offer a brief but detailed overview of the various models on the market, reporting the characteristics and limitations of the multiple types, to help you understand how to choose a good lathe that can meet your specific needs.

Mini hobbyist lathes

The first differentiation criterion, for a lathe, is given by its dimensions. On the first step in the “hierarchy” of these machines, there are precisely the mini-lathes, in which the dimensions of the support base can vary from 30 x 6 centimeters up to about 100 x 45 centimeters.

The mini lathes are further divided by type. Some are designed to work only with wood, while others can also work with plastic and metals, for example. Furthermore, they are also standard concerning the quality of the materials and the assembly, on which the degree of precision of the appliance depends, and for the motor power, which varies from about 100 to 600 Watts, which affects the performance level of the lathe.

The prices of mini-lathes, including simple non-motorized potter wheels, can vary from around 50 to 900 euros;, however, that the cheaper models are of low quality, except for the manual potter wheels of course. Despite being made with excellent materials; they are more lacking in assembly, they tend to generate more noise and vibrations and, consequently, to be less precise. This does not mean that they are the most requested by hobbyists, who use them occasionally and do not have significant demands in terms of yield.

Professional mini lathes

As for the mini professional lathes, however, the same rules described above apply, both as regards the measures and dimensions of the various models, both in terms of structural quality and performance, with the difference that in their case the prices vary within a higher range, starting from 1,000 to 2,500 euros and above.

Because of their high price, however, the professional mini lathes are well assembled and treated in detail, they are made with first choice materials and alloys, and their motors are more efficient and guarantee high performance and precision. They also benefit from the quality and number of accessories available, which increase their versatility of use and the type of materials they can work on. Their cost, however, makes them the exclusive preserve of professionals, and ideal in the context of a small workshop or craft workshop.

Frequent questions

What is the lathe used for?

The lathe is a stationary tool designed for the machining of pieces placed in rotation at different speeds. The possible processes consist mainly of modeling, engraving, milling, polishing, threading, boring, and even painting of various materials, such as wood, plastic, metal, ceramic, and clay.

The lathe is therefore characterized by a wide range of applications ranging from purely hobby and domestic to industrial. Depending on the type of application for which they are intended, the lathes can have different sizes and characteristics; the smaller ones, just to give an example, are used for the processing of little pieces to be used for precision mechanics, or model making. In contrast, the standard lathes are quite versatile and can be used both for hobby and professional level, in joinery and mechanical workshops. Industrial lathes, on the other hand, are designed for the processing of large pieces to be used in the construction of ships, planes, and various components for civil engineering.

Two particular types of lathe, on the other hand, are the potter’s wheel used for modeling and painting clay and ceramic intended for the creation of pottery, and the lathe for phonographic engraving, also known as the phono engraver, explicitly designed for engraving the dies then used as a master for the mass production of vinyl records.

How to fillet on the lathe?

The methods for threading on a lathe vary according to a discrete series of parameters, starting with the type of material on which you want to work. The other elements to be taken into account are the type of thread that must be performed, which can be external or internal, and, therefore, the specific kind of accessory to be used, male or die.

Therefore, starting from these premises, the threading on the lathe requires the operator or the control program, according to the type of lathe used, one feed per revolution which corresponds to the thread pitch. Furthermore, the tip of the tool used must have a shape corresponding to that of the thread to be obtained. As you advance one step for each turn of the piece, therefore, the tip traces a thread that follows the shape of a cylindrical helix.

The threading is never performed in one go, the number of passes to be completed must be determined based on the shape of the profile, and the stability conditions of the machine and the piece. Furthermore, at each pass, the tool must repeat the same path as the previous passes, and consequently, its movement must be synchronized with the rotation of the lathe spindle.

How to use a lathe

How to build a wood lathe

Among the various types of existing lathe, the one for wood is the model that lends itself more readily to self-construction. Since wood is the most comfortable material to work on, in fact, a too powerful motor is not required, and a usual hobbyist drill can also be used.

As for the base, the supports, the trolley, the guides, and the other structural elements, these can be obtained from recycled materials; the most straightforward and cheapest solution involves the use of the same wood, cut, and shaped in the desired sizes. Of course, it is good to start by tracing a scheme, even in a simplified way, of the lathe, so that you can prepare all the pieces separately and then assemble them, first dry to check that they coincide, and then with the use of vinyl glue and screws.

Once the main support structure is ready, on the end where the motor should generally be located, you will have to apply a two-piece clamping collar, of the appropriate size to fix a usual hobbyist drill. The use of the collar instead of a “definitive” fixing solution offers the additional advantage of being able to remove the training from the support, if necessary so that it can be used frequently.

Using bolts, pins, bearings, and other hardware, on the other hand, you can make the tailstocks, finish the trolley and make all the other necessary elements.

How to make a clay pot without a lathe

To create clay pottery without using the lathe, it is enough to resort to the methods used at the dawn of human civilization, which even after the invention of the wheel have been handed down and used to this day, especially by the populations of the American continent, where the wheel it only came in the 15th century.

Among the best known traditional methods there are the pizzicato one and the Colombiano one; the pizzicato method, also known as the thumb method, was used by the Native Americans and consists precisely in taking an amount of clay equivalent to the size of a fist, balling it up and holding it in the palm of one hand while with the thumb of the other one presses so as to create a cavity. Subsequently, by pinching the clay and rotating it slowly, it is modeled so as to make it assume the desired thickness and flaring.

The colombino method, or wick, is one of the most common and involves the creation of long clay salamis by rolling, the salamis must have the same thickness along their entire length, and this must be equivalent to the thickness of the base.

To summarize, therefore, in the colombino method, a round clay base is prepared first, on the edges of which the salamis are then applied to each other until they assume a cylindrical shape. By subsequently working the sausages with your fingers and tools, therefore, you can thin and shape the jar in the desired shape.

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