Mini Lathe

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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A mini lathe packs all the power of a full-sized lathe into a more compact body that fits more easily in garages, sheds, and workshops. If you're looking for quality performance and versatility from your wood turning lathe but don't want to spend upwards of 500 dollars for a full-sized machine, a mini lathe is the ideal compromise. You'll still receive variable settings that span anywhere from 500 to 2500 RPM, a 2.5-amp motor, and adjustable head and tailstocks, and all in a six-inch by 18-inch frame.

Craft animal miniatures, pens and pencils, dishes, bowls, or anything else that strikes your fancy with the help of a dual-rail lathe that reduces vibration to give you added control over your work. You'll never have to deal with a shaky bed again thanks to a heavy-duty cast-iron construction that's both sturdy and durable. Choose a mini lathe that's covered by a minimum two-year warranty that protects against defects and breakage.

Using Your Mini Lathe

Once you've chosen the stock from which you intend to work, fasten the wood to the live center and adjust the tailstock so it fits the length of your block. Turn on the motor and begin your roughing cut to establish the general outline of your project. Once it's been smoothed and sanded, it's time to break out your wood lathe tools for your finishing touches.

The tools you select will depend largely on what it is you're creating. A bowl or dish with small-scale design patterns will require a parting tool or spear point. A diamond-point or square-nose chisel, on the other hand, will be more useful in creating bolder, wider strokes. It's not unusual to come across pre-packed kits that contain a wide enough array of gouges and chisels to cover 99 percent of your wood turning needs.

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