top of page

Buying your first Woodturning Lathe

Updated: 5 days ago

You've just watched a video on Facebook or YouTube where a Woodturner has turned something, seemingly at great ease. It could be a bowl or a small ornamental piece and it looks so easy. A hot knife through butter as the Woodturner glides the tool across the wood surface peeling away the waste to reveal the beautiful shape underneath. Your thoughts... 'I can do that' instantly spring to mind.

You start searching online for a lathe, tools and other accessories through the maze of ads, videos, websites, blogs, vlogs and you are getting nowhere. You eventually end up on a site like Donedeal and buy a second hand lathe that is in your price range and maybe pick up a few chisels as part of a deal. Ever wonder why the lathe was up for sale in the first place? You have probably made a huge mistake and your lathe will end up idle after a few weeks. You chose poorly, you bought what you thought was ok and you are upset to the point of giving up woodturning completely.

Do the first 2 paragraphs sound familiar?


Many of my students have had similar experiences. I often get asked which lathe to go for if the budget is €500. My answer is none. I normally advise people to multiply their budget by 3 to get the machine they should be buying. A €500 or less lathe is normally a double bar bed non variable speed lathe and will end up annoying you after a while. I normally get blanks stares from students when I tell them how much they should spend or how much my machines cost me. If you like Woodturning, spend a bit more!

Buy decent handtools for a start and don't use any tools that come with a Lathe without taking advice first. I sell a range of Hamlet Spindle tools here. Excellent quality and should last you a very long time if looked after.

A sharpening station is also a must for Woodturners and should be high up on your initial list. I recommend a slow grinder from Axminster with at least 1 CBN wheel for starters. I have another blog post that shows this Grinder in action in 2 videos here if you'd like to check it out after reading this page. My 2 slow speed grinders are below, both have 2 CBN wheels which should last me the rest of my career as a Woodturner. I also have a Tormek T7 and an older Record Power whetstone grinder. I rarely use these anymore, preferring to use the slow speed grinders for their convenience.