Best Wood Lathe in 2017 – Wood Lathe Reviews


The best wood lathe can transform your workshop! Making wood utensils

Nothing quite completes the workshop the way that a lathe will.

One of the most essential components to any well outfitted workshop (professional or otherwise), the right lathe – especially one of the best wood lathe for kitchen projects options out there – is going to open up a lot of extra versatility as far as the kinds of projects you will be able to tackle are concerned.

Picture-perfect for turning square blocks of wood and rough material into rounded table legs, balusters, wooden bowls, and baseball bats (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg), a lathe is going to give you the ability to express your creativity in woodworking the way that few other tools will be able to bear

Of course, you’re going to need to make sure that you have purchased the right wood lathe for the kinds of projects that you’re going to be working on in the future. This is going to be a little bit more difficult than picking up a new set of chisels or finding the right router, but it isn’t impossible.

If you’re just getting started in the world of lathe turning, it’s always a good idea to get your hands on a quality (but inexpensive) lathe for kitchen projects. The only able to get down the basics with this tool, but you’ll also have the flexibility to hammer out some very impressive results.

Even better than that is the fact that you’ll be able to make all kinds of projects for the kitchen – and there might not be any better Christmas gift then custom wooden kitchen projects that have been turned on the lathe!

Here are three wood lathe projects for beginners to better outfit your kitchen with

Before we dive headfirst into breaking down all of the different things you want to focus on when looking for the best wood lathe for kitchen projects, we’re going to touch on some of the projects that you’re going to be able to tackle once you have this tool in your shop.


A beautiful wooden bowl

If you’ve ever seen those wooden bowls at Williams-Sonoma that go for anywhere between $30 apiece and $120 apiece (or a lot more), you know exactly how crazy people go for custom wooden bowls.

These aren’t impossible to make without the best wood lathe for kitchen projects, but unless you have fallen in love with chiseling material out for hours and hours on end and then sending things down to a mirrorlike finish – contributing more hours and hours of elbow grease into the project – you’re going to need to have one of these tools in your shop to get the job done right.

You’ll be able to pump out dozens of wooden bowls with the right lathe in a fraction of the time, and you’ll be able to turn five or six dollars of raw materials into a $120 wooden bowl in an afternoon!


A new wooden rolling pin

A rolling pin is one of the most versatile and flexible kitchen instruments you’re going to come across, and the backbone of any kitchen that is serious about baking.

Regardless of whether or not you’re looking to make pies, bread, pizza, muffins, pretzels, or anything else that’s going to be baked from freshly prepared dough, you’re going to need a rolling pin – a heavy, durable, and perfectly balanced rolling pin – to get the job done.

With the right lathe, that’s almost effortless!


Custom wooden trivets

Trivets serve a very functional purpose on top of the decorative one that they perform in the kitchen or on the table.
Simple “prop up” solutions that help keep hot pans and hot dishes off of surfaces that might otherwise get scorched, trivets (wooden trivets especially) are going to add a lot of utility and high style do your kitchen and aren’t all that difficult to make when you have the best wood lathe for kitchen projects in your shop.

Breaking down the different types of wood lathes

The problem in finding the right wood lathe for your specific needs isn’t that there are so few top-quality options to pick and choose from, but instead that there are so many!

There are a bunch of different kinds of wood lanes out there for sale, ranging from simple and straightforward “mini lathe” to much larger and heavier duty lathes that can work in wood as well as most every metal. To simplify things though, the major types of wood lathes fall into the following categories:

  • Bench lathes – Giant piece of equipment that can handle incredibly large pieces of stock without breaking a sweat. These pieces usually have a 2 HP motor (or greater) attached to them and require quite a bit of shop space for efficient operation.
  • Wood lathes – Designed specifically to be used with wooden construction materials and wooden construction materials only, they are a bit of a niche tool (and therefore a little bit on the expensive side of things). Smaller than bench lathes, they are still pretty large, and you’re going to want to make sure that you have a flat top in your shop dedicated to lathe operation.
  • Mini Lathes – These compact lathes are designed to provide all of the utility that a much larger lathe would, but are designed specifically to use much smaller pieces of material to begin with. Most of them can accept pieces of material that are anywhere between 10 inches and 12 inches long (depending upon their swing capacity), and are best suited for hobbyists or those that don’t anticipate using a lathe all that often.

Here’s what to look for when buying a new wood lathe

When you’re looking to purchase a new wood lathe, there are a couple of different things that you’re going to want to look closely at.

For starters, you’re going to need to know whether or not your lathe is going to be able to be mounted directly to your benchtop or whether it should be mounted to the floor. The overwhelming majority of heavy duty lathes out there are floor mounted units, but those that are looking to get started with a smaller lathe or even a mini lathe can usually get away with a benchtop solution.

Just understand the limitations of benchtop mounted blades before you jump right in.

You’re also going to need to know about the maximum capacity (both between the centers and the maximum swing of the tool) before you can comfortably purchase one lathes over the other. Unless you know that your lathe is going to be able to handle the kinds of projects that you have in mind, you simply can’t order one with any confidence.

Capacity (more than anything else) is going to limit what you were able to do with your new lathe, so always try to go for one with a capacity that outstrips your wildest expectations so that you have room to grow.

Motor size is the final thing that we are going to touch on when it comes to the factors that determine whether or not one lathe is better than the other for your specific needs. The larger the motor, the more efficiently and quickly it’s going to be able to chew through material. Get your hands on a lathe that can handle the job.

These are three of the best wood lathe for kitchen projects options on the market today


Jet 708360 JWL-1642EVS-2

The Jet wood lathe is considered by many in the woodworking industry to be one of the best (if not THE best) wood lathes for those that want to tackle kitchen projects.

With its variable speed control system, its ability to handle larger pieces of stock (up to 16 x 42” of raw materials), and its heavy-duty construction – it weighs 420 pounds and mounts directly to the floor for the ultimate instability – it is far and away one of the best wood lathe for kitchen projects on the market right now.

The beautiful thing about this lathe is that it’ll be able to effortless handle pretty much anything you throw at it. As heavy duty as they come (and, as mentioned above, mounted to the floor for extra stability), this is the kind of lathe you’ll find in professional woodworking shops all over the world. You’ll be able to turn out kitchen projects left and right when you add this beauty to your shop!


Delta Industrial 46-460

Delta tools have always been big favorites in the world of woodworking, and this “mini lathe” is certainly more than enough for anyone just getting started to get a lot of utility out of.

With a 12 ½ inch swing capacity (the largest in its class) and a powerful one horsepower motor, it’s certainly large enough to tackle all kinds of kitchen projects – including the ones that we mentioned above – without any real worry at all. The fact that it has both forward and reversing functions is another big bonus, and something that helps to set it apart from other mini lathe options.

Delta tools have always been regarded as some of the most durable and reliable in the woodworking industry, and this is no exception. You should be able to expect this lathe to keep on turning out quality kitchen projects year after year for the next decade or more. With regular maintenance and quality cutting tools, this just might be a “buy it for life” kind of tool!


SHOP FOX W1752 Mini Wood Lathe

The SHOP FOX is very much a budget focused mini wood lathe buy, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t well worth the investment.

It includes a 10 inch swing, has a half horsepower motor, and can accommodate pieces up to 38 inches long when an extended bed option (sold separately) is attached to the unit. The adjustable tool rest is convenient to use, the warranty (two years) gives a lot of confidence to this purchase, and it’s just generally one of the best wood lathe for kitchen projects you’ll come across right now.

The real standout feature on this particular lathe, however, is that it is able to handle softwoods and hardwoods with equal ease. Some lathes out there really don’t have the juice or the power to run through hardwoods like oak (or even harder woods like ebony), but this mini-lathe can push right through without any real slowdown.

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