Wood Lathe is one of the useful tools that you cannot afford to miss in your wood workshop. Although you can handle most of your projects without a wood lathe, you might need this tool if you want to produce items with even and smooth surfaces.
If you want to specialize in wood turning, buying the right lathe will not only make your work easier but also help you create high-quality products out of wood.
Before venturing out in the market to find wood lathe for turning bowls, it is important to know that you will find many brands on the market. As such, you need to make a proper tool assessment if you want to find equipment that will suit your various woodwork projects. You must keep in mind that each of the tools’ manufacturer designs and constructs their tools specifically to catch your attention. As a result, buying the right lathe for your workshop becomes a challenging task.
As a result, we seek to help you narrow down your search by compiling the top lathes for turning bowls that you will find in the market today. We also include a buyer’s guide that discusses the factors that you need to look out for when shopping for wood lathes.
Best Full-Size Wood Lathe For Turning Bowls 2019
|Product||Size, in||Power, HP||RPM||Voltage, V||Weight, lbs|
|Jet JWL-1640EVS||16.5 x 40||1.5||40-3200||115||375|
|Powermatic 3520C||20 x 36||2||15-3200||230||726|
|NOVA 1624 II||16 x 24||1.5||215, 360, |
690, 1030, 1450, 2180, 2900, 3630
|Laguna REVO 1836||18 x 36||2||50-3500||230||570|
|Grizzly G0766||22 x 42||3||100–3200||230||496|
Jet JWL-1640EVS – Best Overall
Among our best overall wood lathes is Jet JWL-1640EVS that is designed ideally for woodworking enthusiasts who are willing to spend more to acquire a high-quality piece of lathe equipment. The lathe brings you a remarkable experience that combines unrivaled control and capability to deliver perfect results on any wooden surface.
This lathe comes with a good height off the ground, which will allow you to operate it and do your woodwork in a comfortable manner. It is also ergonomically designed and weighs 375 pounds, which is heavy enough to minimize the vibrations that often occur when turning. Moreover, it ensures you have a stable working platform.
It comes with a variable speed of between 40 rpm and 3200 rpm that allow you to turn your wood pieces with different measurements. It also features an improved tailstock quill locking system that incorporates an anti-rotation key. Moreover, the tailstock comes with Acme threads that are responsible for a smooth, consistent, and durable movement.
Another great feature that comes with this lathe is that it comes with an extended spindle nose that houses dual headstock spindle bearings. The headstock slides and rotates effectively to provide optimal versatility. Moreover, it pivots up to 360 degrees.
Due to the high-end features that come with this wood lathe, we highly recommend it to all woodworking enthusiasts.
Powermatic 3520C – Best Customizable Lathe
Powermatic 3520C is the fourth evolution of the wood lathe products from Powermatic. As the fourth evolution, this device comes with the most recent features and improvements from its previous models. If you are looking for a wood lathe to use on your professional and commercial projects, then this could be the right one for you.
It features a solid heavy-duty cast iron construction that allows it not only to deliver the ultimate stability but also to enhance its durability and functionality. The heavy cast iron also minimizes the vibrations, thus allowing you to work on your projects comfortably.
It features a powerful 2 HP motor designed to run comfortably at 220 volts. This motor delivers two-speed ranges: 40-3200 rpm and 15-1200 rpm. With its digital readout, you can easily switch the speed to variable speed controls.
The wood lathe comes with enhanced features that improve its functionality. These features include a movable control box that makes the machine highly versatile. Its adjustable riser block allows a 6-inch or more adjustment, thus allowing you to enjoy optimum comfort when turning.
It also comes with a new ergonomic spindle that is self-locating for easy one-hand operation. The extend spindle nose is extended to give you easy access to the workpiece. Moreover, it comes fitted with a tailstock that incorporates anti-rotation key and acme threads to deliver a smooth operation while increasing its durability.
Nonetheless, all these high-end features come at a very high cost that is out of reach for most people. If you are working on a budget, therefore, we recommend that you go for reasonably priced wood lathes.
This wood lathe weighs 726 pounds, which gives you a stable turning experience. Moreover, it comes with a fully enclosed VFD for improved user safety.
NOVA 1624 II – Best Priced
This is one of the most popular NOVA wood lathes that come with a fresh look and black in color. Its award-winning features ensure you have the experience that you always want whenever you are working on your turning projects. NOVA 1624 II provides ultimate versatility and power that allow it to deliver excellent turning functionality for many years.
It features a powerful 1.5HP motor that delivers 8 speeds that range from 215-3600 rpm for US and Canada and 178-3000 rpm for others, which is ideal for bowl turning. The motor is also reversible, which means that it delivers a great finishing and can be operated easily even by the left-handed turners. What’s more, the 360 degrees swivel head will allow you to position your piece wherever you want it, thus making the turning comfortable and easy for you.
Its ergonomic design incorporates high-quality steel and cast iron stands that offer a solidly stable foundation for comfortable working. It is built for people who have a large workshop and those who want a larger wood lathe. With its 360 degrees swivel head, this lathe is ideal for turning larger bowls.
It comes with an extendable bed that allows you to handle even long projects comfortably without necessarily having to use most of your workshop room. In fact, it comes with a bowl turning capacity of 16-inch when onboard and up to 29-inch outboard when using optional outrigger accessory.
We highly recommend this lathe because it comes backed by a full replacement 2-year warranty on all parts and an additional 3-year warranty on all the parts except the motor, consumables, and electronics.
Laguna REVO 1836 – Best Powerful Wood Lathe
This Laguna REVO 1836 lathe comes with a new design that also comes loaded with excellent features that will capture the attention of any serious bowl turner. Among the great features that will catch your attention is the ergonomically angled control panel that is manufactured from anodized aluminum.
It features an electrical powerful 2HP motor that runs on 220 volts. This powerful motor produces a reliable speed of 1725 rpm. This electronic variable speed is obtained via the VFD that converts a one-phase input into a 3-phase output. As a result, you can be sure to attain a significant amount of torque even at very low settings. Moreover, it comes with a two-range speed of 135-3500 higher rpm and 50-1300 low rpm.
Essentially, this is not an ordinary wood lathe because it comes with an elegant knurled control knob that is ergonomically fitted with a rubber grip for comfortable operations. Its bed features a solid steel construction that allows the cast iron headstock to travel effectively and smoothly. The steel construction is preferred for this wood lathe because it not only makes it durability but also strong and stable.
It features a tailstock and headstock lock handles that are ergonomically positioned on the back in order to eliminate interruptions that might hinder the flow of your projects. Since the ergonomically designed handles utilize a cam lock, you can be sure to have a firm feel without any deflection.
This lathe weighs 452 pounds, which is relatively light for portability. However, this weight is not enough to suppress the vibrations on very large projects, which means that you might not have a seamless operation.
If you intend to buy a wood lathe that is powerful enough for your personal projects, then we recommend this wood lathe.
Grizzly G0766 – Best Easy to Use
This lathe is ideal for people looking to turn large bowls wood pieces and large diameter projects. It is designed for easy installation and use. If you are looking for an easy to use lathe that can also handle a variety of projects, then this is the right pick for you.
Its powerful 3HP motor is probably the first feature you will notice once you switch on this lathe. It also comes with a variable speed of between 100 and 3200 rpm. With this range you can be sure to enjoy optimal flexibility in your wood turning experience. The process of changing the speed has also been simplified since you don’t need to fiddle with the belts.
In order to dampen down the vibrations while working on your wood pieces, this lathe is constructed from a cast iron that weighs 350 pounds. It also allows for additional weight to be slotted in the custom shelf between the stands that are constructed purposely to accommodate this addition.
This lathe allows you to swing a 22-inch over the bed and 16-inch while under the tool rest. The headstock can rotate 180 degrees, thus making it easy to turn your materials.
If you want the lathe comparable in size with Powermatic 3520C but twice cheaper, then this Grizzly is for you.
Thinks to Look Out for When Buying a Lathe for Turning Bowls – Buyer’s Guide
Purchasing a lathe tool is not an exercise that you take lightly, especially if you are a committed woodworker. In fact, it wouldn’t be wise to walk to the store and pick the wood lathe that you first come into contact with or that is within your budget. With such a strategy, you might end up buying a lathe that is not suitable for your needs. To help you out, we have compiled this guide to help you identify the ideal wood lathe for your workshop without having to make mistakes that might be costly. Here are the factors to consider.
What kind of projects will you be doing?
Before visiting any store, think about the kind of projects you want to complete using the wood lathe you intend to buy. This is definitely the key to getting the right lathe for your tasks. If you intend to work on a small project, for instance, then a mini tabletop lathe will do just fine. If you will be working on larger projects, however, then a larger full-sized lathe is what you will be looking for. Before you spend money on a wood lathe, therefore, consider the projects you will be frequently working on and pick the right lathe for those particular projects.
Motor and headstock
You will find out that different wood lathes come with different motors that range from 1/8HP to 3HP or beyond. Many modern lathes also come with variable speed controls that
If you intend to turn bowls, then consider an interchangeable faceplate lathe that comes with a center that allows you to work easily without the tailstock. Since you will be working on a piece at a consistent rate, you need to note that large materials will require a beefier motor. If you will be turning bigger bowls, therefore, look for a headstock that will rotate smoothly from the base since you will get more clearance and still comfortably use your tool rest.
The tailstock refers to the rotating pin at the end opposite to the headstock. It ensures that the spindle maintains a central position while rotating evenly. When buying a wood lathe, therefore, be sure to check whether the tailstock perfectly locks your material to the bed because it will allow you more adaptability when turning your wood.
Height and weight
It is important to look at the design of the lathe you intend to buy because its ergonomics matter. This is because you will want a machine whose design is at the core of your work. Look for a lathe that features a seat at the elbow height. It is important that you don’t get the wrong height since you will find it difficult to operate and work with it comfortably.
When it comes to weight, you need to consider the heavier lathes as they offer great stability that is needed for smooth turning of materials. This is because in the case of a lathe, the heavier it is the better. This is because it will offer you more stability and balance. Furthermore, a heavier wood lathe will dampen the foreboding vibration. So if you want a stable and well-balancing lathe for seamless operation, consider getting a heavier lathe.
The base of the Lathe
Irrespective of the size or type of lathe you intend to purchase, you will certainly want to have one with a solid foundation. In order to get a lathe with a solid foundation, look for one constructed from cast iron. The cast iron material is heavy enough to keep the lathe stable and not vibrate during operation. Even the smallest vibration can significantly affect your job or even cause an accident. When it comes to the base, go for a heavier and more rugged one that will allow you to work with ease.
When turning your wood, there are those pieces that will require different speeds in order to attain the best results. For instance, table legs will need a faster rotation as compared to bowls. To get better results in different materials, therefore, look for a lathe that comes with a variable speed that provides more versatility as well as tailor the rotating speed according to the material worked on.
This requires you to look at the available space in your workshop. If you have a limited room space, for instance, a lathe that rests well on any bench size is an ideal choice. If your workshop is spacious enough, then you can settle for a lathe that is fitted with a bench.
This is probably the most important aspect to consider when shopping for a wood lathe. This is because you have to rest your workpiece against it whenever you are turning. It is crucial that the tool rest be fully adjustable to allow you to lock it securely into position. Depending on your tasks, however, you then you need to consider different sizes of tool rest. This will allow you to swap them within the bed mount while offering you flexibility in case your project entails cutting spindles and bowls.
Among the many components that are frequently reviewed when purchasing a lathe, the location and size of a power switch is mostly overlooked. When considering the location of the power switch, it is important to consider one that is easily accessible for switching on and off whenever the need arises.
This is also an important feature to look out for in a lathe before you finalize your purchase. Be sure to check the warranty that accompany the purchase of a lathe and its conditions before you buy any machine. What happens if the need to return it arises? What is covered and what is not? In line with this, it is advisable to consider brands that offer a 5-year warranty.
As you can see, getting the best wood lathe requires you to have much information about the equipment you intend to buy. This will ensure that you get the right tool for your needs. With this review, we believe that you are in a position to buy the right lathe for your intended projects.