The TCL10VS commander from PSI woodworking is a very nice little lathe. It has a great feature set for the money and solid construction. While PSI might not have the brand reputation of some of the other major players they do offer a lot of value, and the reviews on this particular lathe have been quite positive.
With an 18 inch length center-to-center and 10 inch swing over the bed this lathe is either a big mini lathe or a small midi lathe depending on who you ask. Paired up with the TCLC10XB Extension Bed it extends to 43 inches in length, which opens up a wide range of possibilities. The motor in this lathe is a 3/4 HP variable speed, which is quite good at this size and price range, a lot of comparables come with motors in the 1/3 – 1/2 HP range. It should be noted that there is a low and high speed position controlled by a belt, the speed is not continuously variable across the whole range of speeds and also the minimum speed is closer to 500 rpm than the 150 listed in the specs. Neither of these are very serious concerns though.
|Size||10″ x 18″|
|Motor||3/4 HP, Variable speed|
|Features||Cast iron body, indexing, digital readout|
With cast iron construction this lathe weighs in around 90 lbs. which should make it a solid choice for any small to medium sized projects.
There’s a lot of nice extras with this lathe, that might not be necessary but are great to have. The digital readout is great for letting you know exactly what speed you’re at which is very helpful in producing consistent results. There’s an attached work light and tool rack which are very convenient.
What other people are saying:
I have worked on someone’s elses small lathe a couple of times and really enjoyed it. However the price of the other lathes made it prohibitive at the time. When I saw this one it had everything I wanted and then some and the price was $200 less than the others I have been looking at. I really enjoy the quietness of the machine and the soft start. I think it is a great lathe and a good value.
I’ve done my homework when it comes to finding the right lathe. The Turncrafter Commander has more bang for the buck. The variable speed adjustment is the best thing ever. For the majority of projects you never have to change the belt pulley. I would recommend this tool for any diy’er, beginner or intermediate level.
If you’re looking for a small lathe without breaking the bank the PSI Commander 10 inch lathe offers a lot of value for the money. It’s a step up from something like the shop fox w1704 in terms of power construction and size and at the same time offers more features for the money than some of the name brands. Available on Amazon.com with free shipping, click here for the listing.