Question about used lathe

Here's my 2-cents:

I have an old Delta 4 speed pulley lathe.  I find turning 8/4 stock for chair and table legs work much better at the highest speed.  It not only speeds up the turning time (less time turning) but also produces a much smoother surface.  But I would not do this for 12/4 and 16/4 bed posts.  Everyone works differently and this works best for me.

Dennis Bork
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
Dennis- Yes, it can definitely be faster at the higher speeds. I tend to wrap my hand around the work, and that can hurt at the higher revs.......I'm also looking for the old look where you can usually see the turning tool marks and I find it easier to do at the lower speed.

I had that old DELTA 4-speed pulley lathe and I think It's a great machine for 90% of the turning that most of us do-Al

Uh...the olde hand burn.  I buy a pair of split leather gloves (ruff on the outside) to wear when I turn those long spindles or legs.  Eventually a hole will burn through.  But at $2-3 a pair it is well worth it.

Dennis Bork

I tried that once and was afraid the finger tip of my glove would get caught between the work and the tool rest on the underside.  I also don't like to turn in long sleves or loose fitting clothing.  I wear gloves when I sharpen my drawknife and for some hatchet work. 

What do you gents think about HSS and High carbon steel tools?  I have some cheap HSS tools that work fine, but I don't like sharpening them?  Do you guys hone your tools or go fresh from the grinder?


I go straight from the grinder. The HSS tools are nice because you don't have to worry about overheating and softening the steel. I find if I hone I get a secondary bevel and that can cause trouble on the lathe as you can't ride on your bevel as you turn. I hollow grind my tools , I am sure there are others that grind a convex tool.
I have used a very similar lathe to do some of the furniture that I have done. I noticed that you said your use of this lathe would be limited. I have used this same model to do a number of turnings (I have also figured out a way to extend it to do 48" legs for the back of a 1690 chair). I would like to get to the level of some of the other woodworkers on this site; however I believe that we all start with entry level tools and move on from there. If that lathe was available here in Connecticut for that price I would buy it and not care if it came with the cabinet.

I don't grab the spindles with my hand wrapped it.  I just gently hold the palm of my hand/glove up against the spindle.  The trick is to not push with your hand, just let your hand act as a steady rest.

Dennis Bork
I use HSS, good quality, and love them.  I sharpen on the grinder and go right to the work.  Do not use gloves, I feel that could be dangerous.  Once you have a good understanding of what you are doing it is OK to increase speed. 

          Jim Vojcek