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709 posts

Ultimate Geek

Vodafone NZ

# 141058 28-Feb-2014 11:12
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I'm thinking of taking up woodturning as a hobby. I'm only planning on making very small objects like pens and hairsticks, so I don't need a full-sized bench lathe. I'd be turning acrylic blanks and occasional exotic hardwoods - no metal. Not yet anyway hehe.

Any members here with recommendations for a machine? I'm hoping to spend <$1000 if possible. Also some names or links of suppliers would be brilliant. Everyone I've asked has told me to check Trade Me, and tbh I don't really know what I'm looking for so some advice from an experienced turner would be amazing. :)


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192 posts

Master Geek


  # 998435 3-Mar-2014 21:28
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A few thoughts:

1. Your best bet is to contact your local or nearest woodturners' or woodworkers' guild or society for advice. You will find such groups will comprise people who are only too happy to help a novice.

2. If you're in Auckland you can visit Carba-Tec, who carry a number of small lathes.

3. If you get advice from an experienced woodturner or woodworker you can buy Sieg lathes through TradeMe (Carba-Tec sells, or at least sold, them also).

4. If you aren't able to get any independent advice and do want to go to a machinery shop, take along a bloke who can at least translate for you. (Not intending any sexist insult here - my wife is a keen woodworker)


1514 posts

Uber Geek

  # 998581 4-Mar-2014 09:35
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I can't provide any info sorry but wish I had the space for a lathe. Good on you for giving it a go!


35 posts


  # 1000410 6-Mar-2014 22:42
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Yes, there is carbatec, they sell the smaller jet lathes which I hear are ok. The smallest one gives you plenty of $$ left for chisels etc.

Machinery house also has a few under $1k but I can't see any brands there that would make me want to take a chance on them, general Chinese stuff.

Jet equipment is chinese/taiwanese and it has fairly good quality compared to the other generic chinese stuff.

Of course some pop up on trade me from time to time. The mini / midi lathes are all you need to look at for the size work you are talking about.

1365 posts

Uber Geek

  # 1000499 7-Mar-2014 08:18
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It is also worthwhile having a look at some of the training videos on YouTube to do with lathes.

Usually when I am looking for wood-working stuff apart from seeing what people use in the UK (my home country), I also just tend to look at product demo's or training videos on YouTube and see what they are using. Sometimes one can pick up a useful list of things to consider when out shopping.

Software Engineer


2122 posts

Uber Geek

  # 1000522 7-Mar-2014 08:41
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Don't know a lot about wood lathes, but you may need to look into which ones allow you to use a chuck of some kind rather than the regular wood turning spike jobby to hold the material. I imagine a chuck would be an extra.

I'd actually advise visiting a few small machinery/tool shops (hand tool house, the tool shed, places like that) and see what they have to say. It you tell them you have no idea, they should be able to tell you all you need to know.

Location: Dunedin


709 posts

Ultimate Geek

Vodafone NZ

  # 1000591 7-Mar-2014 10:42
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Thanks for the advice folks! I'm checking out Carba-tec as we speak :) I'm starting to think it might be a good idea to sign up for a crash-course  with an experienced turner, who would hopefully be able to give me a little bit of real-world advice. YT and books are both fab resources, but because I want to make very specific objects, I can't find info on what tools to use specifically.

Thanks again - yet another hobby to sink some money into hehe.

192 posts

Master Geek


  # 1000606 7-Mar-2014 10:58
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International > Woodworking > Books > Woodturning

I count three books on turning pens. No idea whether they'd help you in your endeavours but they won't be junk and how can you ever have too many books?


35 posts


  # 1000625 7-Mar-2014 11:08
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I don't know what area you live in but one place you might be able to get some practical advise is at one of the mens sheds.

I didn't know about it until I saw a link on this forum in another thread. I joined to get my son in to woodworking, although I have everything they have and more my son doesn't want to work in my workshop, he wants to be around other people :)

I have gone to the one on the north shore and see people using the wood lathes so I am sure something can be gained by talking to people there.

This one is in glenfield but I think there are a couple dotted about, one out west as well. I was at voda from about 2000/2001 - 2009/2010

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