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Metal working lathe

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Dwightshroot

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I would like to lathe as my new hobby. I tried a (questionable) harbor freight lathe and the damn thing isn’t centered at all. I’m looking for anything better than that, the more tooling the better, want to learn threading and possibly have enough chuck to mess around with cutting/threading some spare AR barrels I have laying around.

Thanks for looking

Edit: I’ve now realized I am poor and may need to seek a little harder than a wanted ad. Still open to offers
 
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Letfreedomring

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I've been thinking of dipping my toe into this as well. I've been checking out the 8"×14" chinesiums on ebay with metal gears. Just not sure if I want to dive in that deep in case it's not my thing. There's quite a few YouTube videos on the subject. 👍
 

dennishoddy

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It's tough finding a lathe with a throat big enough to do barrels. Most of the affordable ones are pretty small. I have one lathe that can do a pencil barrel, but nothing bigger.
The tooling is going to cost as much as the lathe if you get the right stuff or stumble into a deal like I did. Estate sales can be your friend.
 

joegrizzy

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It's tough finding a lathe with a throat big enough to do barrels. Most of the affordable ones are pretty small. I have one lathe that can do a pencil barrel, but nothing bigger.
The tooling is going to cost as much as the lathe if you get the right stuff or stumble into a deal like I did. Estate sales can be your friend.
yep, as a woodworker, i got almost all of my REAL tools from estate/garage sales. my current wood lathe is indeed my greenie shopsmith, but it turns what i need it to. and it's also about five other tools when i need it to be.

there's not really "entry level" stuff like the chinesium products you mentioned. for anything anymore.
 

dennishoddy

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yep, as a woodworker, i got almost all of my REAL tools from estate/garage sales. my current wood lathe is indeed my greenie shopsmith, but it turns what i need it to. and it's also about five other tools when i need it to be.

there's not really "entry level" stuff like the chinesium products you mentioned. for anything anymore.
I have three lathes, one woodworking.
All obtained at estate sales with an amazing amount of tooling to support them. I have the South Bend set up as a milling machine.
 

Dwightshroot

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My HF lathe came with an upgraded 4” chuck and looks like it’s been upgraded to steel gears, should I just look into centering the chuck before I chuck it? Is there any serious potential with this thing?
 

dennishoddy

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My HF lathe came with an upgraded 4” chuck and looks like it’s been upgraded to steel gears, should I just look into centering the chuck before I chuck it? Is there any serious potential with this thing?
What model? Some of the higher priced HF tools can be surprisingly good and I'm a tool snob.
 

joegrizzy

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I have three lathes, one woodworking.
All obtained at estate sales with an amazing amount of tooling to support them. I have the South Bend set up as a milling machine.
yep, i have walked into places like woodcraft and looked at how much a good set of lathe chisels would be. outrageous and definitely way more than i could pay.

estate sales you can find really good quality steel for cheap if you know what you are looking for or take some time to google on your phone while your there and don't let anyone know what you're looking at.

those estate sales can get wild these days.

yeah so far i've used my 50's era greenie in various configurations:
>grinder/flapwheel to clean, restore, and polish the various knobs and levers on itself
>wood lathe to turn a few baseball bats
>drill press
>horizontal boring


i have most of the parts for the bandsaw in a box, but i have a benchtop bandsaw that i use for that purpose. i've got the table saw attachment and several others, but i doubt i will ever those functions. but if i *needed* to, i have no doubt it would function fine. even for a machine that is nearing 70 years old. i *think* it's a '55.
 

joegrizzy

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What model? Some of the higher priced HF tools can be surprisingly good and I'm a tool snob.
yep, i would google your exact model and/or youtube it and look for upgrades.

yeah yeah, i know "i shouldn't have to upgrade muh tools" but hey if you buy those $400 lathe skews, THEY AREN'T SHARP mostly because they want you to set whatever grind you want on them, but still.

i have lots of harbor freight tools myself, including a few of their woodworking tools. scrollsaw, disc/belt sander. i've found little parts to upgrade each of them here or there from youtube videos, and i must say sometimes a very small thing can make a world of difference.
 

dennishoddy

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yep, i have walked into places like woodcraft and looked at how much a good set of lathe chisels would be. outrageous and definitely way more than i could pay.

estate sales you can find really good quality steel for cheap if you know what you are looking for or take some time to google on your phone while your there and don't let anyone know what you're looking at.

those estate sales can get wild these days.
The HF wood tools are actually pretty good. Windsor I think is the brand.
I bought some English Sheffield steel tools awhile back that set back my budget for awhile and can't really say they are hands down better than HF.
If I'm turning a 1.5" block of Osage Orange into a turkey striker for a slate type turkey call, I'll have to sharpen the tool three times before finishing. The wood is that hard. The Sheffield requires two sharpening's but is 4X the price.
If using walnut or other hardwood, I can complete the job with the same edge from start to finish. That osage orange is incredibly hard.
 

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