My New Lathe

With perfect timing, just weeks before the tariffs came along I bought a new Grizzly lathe. I had no idea that the price would jump another $269 the next month, but having owned and operated the machine for a couple of months I have to say I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to pay the extra fee. As somebody who makes part of his living on a lathe, this machine has performed beyond my expectations. Delivered to your door, it currently runs $2,233.25 including freight and tariff fees.

Here's what I like...
It has a 3 HP, 3-phase motor with an inverter so it runs on standard 220 volt juice (20 Amp), and it accommodates work between centers up to 42". But one of its best features is that I can remove the tailstock and slide the headstock along the ways all the way to the tail end. Then I can theoretically turn something outboard that's about my own height in diameter.

There are two speed ranges - 100 RPM to 1200, and 100 to 3200. The low range has more torque. The direction is reversible, which makes sanding a lot easier. The spindle is 1-1/4 x 8, the tapers are all #2 Morse and the tool rest is 14" wide. Overall it's 81" long.

Here's what I didn't like...
Not a lot of complaints here, but I did have a small issue with the controls. When you get this almost seven-foot long, cast iron behemoth with a 3-phase motor, you might be forgiven for expecting the controls to be pretty rugged, too. They're not. They're just small plastic knobs - I had to replace the forward/reverse knob and the reostat (speed control) within a week or so. But in keeping with our experience with Grizzly (we've purchased many machines including a large table saw, 20" thickness planer and 8" jointer), the customer service was impressive and I had replacements within two days.

I also discovered that adapters for using 1" chucks on this 1-1/4" spindle are not satisfactory, in my opinion. There's a little wobble. I turn long, thin Blackwood finials for vessels, and the adapters didn't hold up. So I got a new Vicmarc chuck and all is well.

Here's what I added...
The Vicmarc chuck (at left, below) is a real improvement to the shop. We have five other chucks for our 1" x 8 tpi thread JET machine, but this is bigger, easier to use and beautifully engineered. (That's a piece of blackwood in the jaws.) Going left to right through the photos below, for the feet I drilled some holes in plywood squares that are about the size of the lathe's adjustable feet, and then I screwed those to the floor to stop the machine wandering. I made a steady rest for long spindles using a couple of inline skate wheels, and then added a shelf to hold all the bits and bobs.

Woodezine2 Woodezine3 Woodezine4 Woodezine5

And here's the first job off the new lathe.
It was seven turned pieces for a client's renovation of a walnut Gilbert #8 hanging regulator clock.


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