Wood Lathe is an important machine for woodworking. This machine is used to turn wood pieces for creating complex contours and curves for a host of woodworking projects. Wood lathe aids in the transformation a piece of wood into any desired shape and design by turning it. The machine has a bed, headstock, tailstock and tool rest. The spinning arm of the wood lathe rotates the wood while the wood is shaped using a plethora of tools by the woodworker. The spindle which is attached to the wood is connected to a belt which, in turn, is connected to a motor. Wood lathe originated during the Egyptian times.
Types of wood lathe
Pen lathe- Pen lathe is a type of wood lathe which is used to create very precise, small and intricate designs. It is used to create a plethora of decorative wooden items. Creating such delicate designs is very difficult using manual tools, thus pen lathe is the ideal wood lathe for such projects. Pen lathe is compact in size and does not occupy much space.
Floor lathe- Floor lathe is the largest wood lathe available in the market. It is the used to turn very large pieces of wood for large scale projects. Floor lathe, as the name suggests, is placed on the floor. The versatility of floor lathe enables it to be used for all kinds of woodworking projects.
Mini lathe- Mini lathe is used to impart all kinds of curved shapes to wooden pieces. Using this machine, you can make all kinds of curved designs for wooden items used for decoration and other purposes.
The following features of a wood lathe must be kept in mind to get a good quality wood lathe.
Bed- The horizontal beam going across the base of the machine is called the bed. The bed prevents the lathe from vibrating during operation. Vibration can disrupt the spinning of the wood and also makes the spinning function unsafe. Thus, the beam must be thick and should be made of a heavy duty material such as cast iron.
Motor- The motor power of a wood lathe can be anything between 1/8 to 3 horsepower. When you consider the motor power, the chief factor should be the size of the wood that you want to spin on the machine. Larger the piece of the wood, more is the power required. The power rating of the motor should be at least 1 HP even though for small wooden pieces, 1/2 HP to 3/4 HP motor is sufficient.
Swing capacity- Swing capacity is the maximum diameter of wooden piece that the wood lathe can support. The swing capacity can be determined by measuring the distance between the spindle and the mounting rail. Decide the swing capacity that you need as per the normal diameters of the wooden stocks that you would cut in the machine.
Tool rest- Tool cannot be used with free hands to cut the wood when it is turning on the machine. The tool must always be kept on the tool rest. The position of the tool rest must be adjustable and it should lock in any position firmly. 2-3 tool rests are required if you are working with large sized wooden pieces. Do not forget to check wood lathe reviews before buy one.