What’s the best full size wood lathe?

If you’re in the market for a large wood lathe we’re going to compare several different popular models from top manufacturers and provide an in depth look at the feature sets and specs of each one.

We’ll be looking at lathes that have swings of at least 16″ and more than 32″ center to center. Tools of this size tend to include motors at least 1.5 HP and in most cases there are extensions available if you need something with a bit more length. If you’re looking for something smaller you might be interested in this summary of mini wood lathes.

The full size wood lathes we’ll be looking at today are the W1758 by Shop Fox, the JWL 1642EVS from Jet Tools, the Powermatic 3520B and the Nova 1624-44 . These four lathes offer a lot of different features and cover a wide range of prices, so there should be a good fit for anyone. Continue reading

rikon 70-100

What’s the best mini wood lathe?

Are you looking for a small wood lathe? We’ll look at four lathes from different manufacturers and compare them in terms of size and weight, motor, features and price.

First off what is a mini lathe? Different people will tell you different things, but for our purposes we’re going to stick with lathes that have less than 12″ of clearance over the bed,  less than 18″ center to center and motors smaller than 1 HP. Anything bigger than that we’ll call a midi lathe instead.

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The History of the Wood Lathe

Today’s wood lathes almost exclusively rely on electric motors to generate turning power and for the most part all follow the same basic design. But prior to the industrial revolution wood was being turned for thousands of years on increasingly sophisticated man powered lathes.

People have been turning and carving wood since at least the sixth century BC and possibly earlier. Wood pieces that have characteristics that suggest that they might wave been produced by turning have been dated to 1400 BC which would make the art of wood turning over 3000 years old. Continue reading