Picture of How to Select a Lathe
It’s a bit obvious, but the first thing a woodturner needs is a lathe. It’s actually the world’s oldest ‘power tool’ – see the panel (left) for a bit of history. As you begin to investigate what’s available, you’ll soon discover that there’s a bewildering choice of models, with very different specifications and prices, and it’s very easy to become confused about exactly what you require. If this is your situation and you need some help, then this feature, originally published at hobby magazine highlights the main factors you need to consider before you buy.
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Step 1: The Lathe Today

Picture of The Lathe Today
Woodturning has progressed enormously in recent years and is now no longer just a means of producing functional items, but is fast approaching the status of an art form. To fuel this massive increase in popularity and demand, many woodworking machinery manufacturers have hurriedly added lathes to their range, but a good machine requires a number of essential features that are often overlooked in the rush to get new equipment onto the market.

Step 2: Cheap and Cheerful

Picture of Cheap and Cheerful
There are lots of very cheap lathes on the market that all look the same and appear to give you a lot for your money, photo 1. These machines are very much entry-level models, being sufficient to get you started, but if you progress much beyond very basic work you will soon find them very limited. Some even come with a stand and incorporate variable speed, but there is a definite correlation here between the price you pay and the quality you get.
Dynamit32 months ago
Thanks for all the great info! Choosing a lathe still seems a bit daunting and I was hoping to get your opinion on my tentative choice to begin turning with. I've never done it and would say I'm more interested in bowl work than spindle but want to be free to go where the turning takes me.

Thanks again
saosport10 months ago

Thanks for all the great info. Do you have any idea of a good brand small table top lathe. I want to make mostly smaller items nothing over 24" long or over a 10" bowl.

sami1111 year ago
Lovely post for selation of lathe machines thanks for sharing with us.
MyHobbyStore (author)  sami1111 year ago
No problem, thanks for reading.
rimar20001 year ago
Very useful info, thanks for sharing!
MyHobbyStore (author)  rimar20001 year ago
Thank you!
Super effort!
MyHobbyStore (author)  GyroGearLoose471 year ago
Thank you - I'm hoping to post more items of interest
Ranie-K1 year ago
Did they copy you, or did you submit this to this site, too?
MyHobbyStore (author)  Ranie-K1 year ago
Hi, thanks for asking. I work for and we're adding some basic tutorials from our related hobby magazines.
So you do hold the copyright for the articles you are posting here or are reposting with permission of the holder?
MyHobbyStore (author)  AndyGadget1 year ago
Yes, we hold the copyright for the articles we are posting here.