Choosing the right wood lathe

Woodworkers create wonderful items out of wood. Apart from artistic pieces and furniture, the carpenters also work with wood to make cabinets, doors, window frames, cupboards, etc. however, the basic step involved in woodworking is woodturning. The basic requirement for woodturning is a good lathe, sharp gauges and skew chisels.

 Wood lathe and its importance

The lathe is one of the important tools of a woodworker because it is primarily meant for cutting wood to the desired size and shaping it into desired form. A wood lathe can reduce the time that is required to make wooden objects which include even the carved ones. Also, the finish of the product is great only if the lathe is good.

Choosing a wood lathe

The wood lathes that are available in the market are of different sizes, shapes, and specifications and of course price. But, price alone cannot be considered as a deciding factor as far as a wood lathe is considered because as we have seen already, the quality of woodwork depends on choosing and using the right wood lathe.

Factors to consider while choosing a wood lathe include:

The base– A sturdy base is a basic requisite for the wood lathe to make quality turned objects. The base of the lathe is nothing but the solid horizontal beam that runs across the base of the lathe and is also referred to as the bed of the lathe. The bed has to be heavy for the lathe machine to be sturdy. If it is not and has a slight vibration, it would not only make the process of turning difficult but would also make it unsafe for use.

The lathe measures – With respect to measures, there are two things that deserve attention

  • The length of wood that you are likely to work with which should ideally be the length of the lathe
  • The diameter of the wood you would be working with which is considered as the swing capacity.

It is important to choose the lathe capacity depending on what you usually do using the wood lathe. there are small wood lathes that can be placed on the workbench for making smaller things like pens, pencils etc. A large lathe is required for turning wood for furniture. you also have medium-sized lathes that come with extendable bed . However, a full-length lathe with a continuous base would always be a better choice because the extendable bed might sometimes cause vibration. Also, consider the height of the spindle. If it is too low it can result in backache and if it is too high it might be difficult to align it with other tools. The spindle that is at the right height of your elbows would be an ideal choice.

The motor-  The motor capacity should match the wood turning requirements. 1/8 HP TO 3HP motors are used and they can give speed that range from 400-3000rpm or more. The motors come with variable speeds. Choose motor depending upon the piece of wood you are about to turn.

The head stock and tail stiock, the power switch and the tool rest are the other factors that you have got to pay attention to when you are about to buy a best wood lathe.  Choose based on your needs and based on whether you are taking up  woodwork as a hobby or a profession.