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Building a productive workshop means finding all the right tools. Lathes come in a variety of styles and power levels, making it easy to find the right tool for your projects. Classic handheld tools, like the PSI Woodworking LCPM3 3 Piece HSS Pen Turning Lathe Chisel Set, are a great choice for simple projects. More advanced projects might benefit from powerful machines. Tabletop lathes, like the Craftsman Mini Lathe, provide excellent work and precision on woodworking projects. The professional workshop will want to consider powerful stand-alone lathes, like the Bolton Tools BT1340 13" x 40" Gear-Head Metal Lathe, for the best precision and results.
Go for a spin: Create the pieces you want with woodworking lathes
A lathe is what you need when you want to shape wood like a potter shapes clay. While the wood spins on the lathe, you use hand tools to shape it. Depending on the lathe, hand tool and your woodworking skill level, you can create everything from furniture legs and spindles to bowls and toys.
Sears has plenty of lathes and hand tools for you to choose from to make all of the projects on your woodworking project to-do list. There are two basic types of lathes: stationary and bench top. Stationary means the machines are too large to be portable. However, a stationary one is the type to choose if you have bigger projects or a large number of projects to tackle, because of its powerful. That's not to say the bench-top models aren't powerful, though. They'll definitely help you get the job done. You'll want the bench top if you have a small budget and are short on workshop space.
When it comes to the amount of capacity a lathe has, you have to look at the distance between centers and the swing. The distance between centers determines how long a piece the lathe can accept. For example, if you are making a lot of tables and chairs, you'll want to focus more on the distance between the centers. The swing determines the diameter of the piece you can work on with the lathe. If you're an artisan making large bowls, however, you'll have to focus on the swing. Keep in mind that with some models you can add a faceplate, which means you'll be able to handle the largest of projects. Did you know there are even micro lathes to allow you to make very small pieces, such as dollhouse furniture?
The larger the piece of wood, the more power you need from a lathe. The horsepower range for lathes is 0.5 HP to 3 HP. Hardwoods are best for projects that require durability, while softwoods work well for projects with intricate designs. Power will give you speed, but sometimes slow and steady wins the race. You need to complete different projects at different speeds. There are lathes with step pulleys, but level and electronic controls are easier to use.
If you have a big project, check out the JET with heavy-duty cast-iron lathe bed and legs that give you all the stability you need and a lot less vibration. This 16-inch by 42-inch giant accepts even 2 by 12s. There's a handy tool storage basket for chisels and other hand tools you'll need.
On the other end of the spectrum, check out the mini-lathe from Craftsman, America's most trusted brand. It has a 12-inch spindle capacity and a 4-inch bowl-turning capacity, so it's compact but still powerful. It has a three-speed motor for 1,350, 2,250 and 3,500 rotations per minute. With it you'll also receive a bonus three-piece turning tool set.
Sears knows that you need more than lathes in your workshop, so we offer a variety of other machines and tools from trusted brands. We offer products in a range of prices, too, to meet every budget. So when you're shopping for a lathe, also check out our selection of woodworking drill presses, woodworking planers and wood sanders. Sears has everything you need to get your projects done right.