This question is probably on the minds of many woodworkers. Is it worth buying a wood lathe? Should you invest all that money in such an expensive piece of machinery? Is there any other way to get similar results as what you would obtain from a wood lathe without actually having to buy one?
We will explore these questions and more so that you can make your decision about whether or not to buy this type of machine.
What Is A Wood Lathe?
A wood lathe is a machine that allows you to take long pieces of wood and turn them into smaller, more manageable pieces. It can also be used for things like making bowls or other objects that require turning in circular motions.
It is a very versatile tool for those who work in wood and it’s worth taking the time to learn how to use one. They are quite easy to master with just a little bit of instruction and practice.
How Much Does It Cost To Buy One?
The cost of a wood lathe varies depending on the size and the features it offers. A typical machine, though, will set you back around $300-$600 for something that is entry-level and has decent quality.
There are some really nice beginner machines out there that can be had at prices as low as about $200 if you’re lucky enough to find them on sale or in the clearance section of your favorite woodworking store.
It’s not too hard to find a machine for less than $200 these days, so it might be worth spending some time shopping around before you make this huge purchase.
What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Having A Wood Lathe?
There are a ton of benefits to owning one. It is useful for things that require making something circular. Like bowls or vases and it can also be used in other applications as well.
A wood lathe doesn’t have any parts that will wear down over time so you’ll never need to replace anything on the machine which means your costs will be limited to the initial purchase of it.
Wood lathes are also versatile machines that can make all sorts of things, not just bowls or vases. You could use one for turning pens and other small items as well if your shop is equipped with a drill press for drilling holes in those types of projects.
The main advantage is that they help you save a lot of time. Rather than using a jigsaw or other saw to cut your wood, you can use the lathe and it will turn out perfectly.
Accuracy is also a great benefit. It is hard to make something perfectly round and uniform with other tools. But the wood lathe does it for you in just seconds.
You also get really nice finishes on your work because of how smoothly the tool cuts into the wood without splintering or leaving rough edges like a blade would do when cutting.
What Are Some Disadvantages Of Having A Wood Lathe?
The main disadvantage is the upfront cost. With an average price of $300-$600, it can be hard to justify in some cases.
Another disadvantage is the learning curve associated with using a wood lathe. It takes some practice to be able to make really nice things on the machine. But it is worth taking the time because you’ll reap all of these benefits after mastering it.
You will also need to buy some tools and other materials. Tools are not very expensive but depending on what you will be turning you might spend a few hundred bucks.
The size can also be a disadvantage. A wood lathe is quite large in most cases so if you have limited space for storage you will need a midi lathe.
Is It Worth Buying A Wood Lathe?
Absolutely! It has many benefits and paying $300-$600 upfront can result in a lot of savings later on when you would otherwise be using other methods to do your projects that require turning wood pieces into different objects.
The more time-consuming approach will produce inferior results as well so having a lathe is a no-brainer.
It is a lot easier to turn using a lathe and many objects cannot be done in other ways.
If you are not sure what wood lathe to buy you can read more on our blog. We review different wood lathes for different purposes like pen turning, fishing lure making, and many more.
Plus a wood lathe is a very versatile machine and can be used for many different types of projects.
If You Do Decide To Buy One, What Should You Look For In Your Purchase?
The two most important features to look for in a wood lathe are what type you will be using it for and how much space you have available.
For example, if you need something that can do bowls or vases. Then make sure the machine is capable of doing those types of projects. For bigger projects like table legs, you will need a wood lathe with a distance between centers of at least 30″. So make sure to check before buying one.
If your shop has limited storage space for the machine, then you’ll need to consider a smaller lathe. There are many different types of machines so read reviews. And take your time deciding what type is best for you before making the purchase.
Other features like variable speeds, digital readout, and reverse function are all great to have too. But don’t worry too much about them if you are just getting started.
Wood lathes are great for a number of reasons. It can help you to create unique pieces that would be more difficult to make with hand tools alone.
The investment in a wood lathe is worth it because once you have one, the cost per project drops dramatically and they also last forever when well taken care of.
So if you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth buying a wood lathe, we say go for it!