In this guide we’ll look at the best woodturning lathes for the UK market.
We’ve compared size, construction, tech spec and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Is The Best Wood Turning Lathe for the UK Market?
More Detailed Wood Turning Lathe Reviews
Charnwood W815 Mini Lathe Review
The Charnwood W815 Mini Lathe is the best mini lathe for the UK market due to its 250-watt motor, cast iron construction and electronic variable speed control.
While it is small, this mini lathe is also powerful and durable. The small lathe has a 250 watt (1/3 hp) motor which provides speeds of 750 – 4,300 rpm. It also has a cast iron bed, headstock and tailstock.
The electronic speed control makes this small lathe easy to adjust without needing to manually change the belt. It has a spindle thread size of 1″ x 8 tpi. It also features a cam lock tailstock for quick and easy setting.
The lathe machine can turn bowls of up to 200mm (8″) and spindles of 330 mm (13″).
This small hobby lathe is ideal for the hobbyist who wants to turn small items such as pens, goblets and small spindles or bowls.
Lumberjack SWL350 375W Variable Speed Wood Lathe Starter Kit Review
The Lumberjack SWL350 375W Variable Speed Wood Lathe Starter Kit is the best wood lathe for beginners because it is reasonably priced, has a 475 Watt (1/2 HP) induction motor and comes with 3 turning tools.
This lathe machine provides a good introduction to woodturning and is suitable for a range of small projects. It has a screw-type tail stock and a 3/4 inch x 16 TPI spindle thread. The Lumberjack woodturning lathe has a turning capacity diameter of 14″ (350mm) and features 4 turning speeds.
The tools that come with this lathe machine allow you to get started straight away but do need initial sharpening to get the best from them.
This Lumberjack lathe offers a great introduction to woodturning and will allow you to easily progress to larger projects.
Proxxon Micromot DB 250 Woodturning Lathe Review
The Proxxon Micromot DB 250 Micro Woodturning Lathe is another candidate for best small lathe on the UK market as it is suitable for turning very small items such as chess pieces, pens and models.
This micro lathe is ideal for anyone wanting to make small items such as models or doll’s house furniture. It also offers a great introduction lathe if you want to attempt woodturning for the first time.
The small lathe features a 100 Watt motor, variable speeds of 1,000 – 5,000 rpm, headstock spindle bore of 10 mm and tailstock travel of 20 mm. It comes with 6 collets, a drive centre, live centre and face plate. The Proxxon lathe is easy to set up, adjust and use.
This is a great micro lathe for model making and provides a good introduction to woodturning.
Woodturning Lathe Buyer’s Guide
Woodturning lathes come in a variety of sizes. A standard sized wood lathe will allow you to turn larger pieces such as spindles and bowls. Micro and mini micro lathes are more suitable for craft projects such as pens, models and chess pieces. It is important to check that capacity of the wood lathe before you buy to ensure it is large enough to cope with the projects you have in mind. Extension kits are available for some woodturning lathes to allow you to tackle larger tasks.
The best woodturning lathes have a headstock, tailstock and bed made from precision heavy cast iron, with stepped pulleys for different spindle speeds, cam operated steel levers and Bristol locking levers.
Smaller hobby lathes may be made from aluminium.
Different wood lathes have a range of motors offering differing revolutions per minute (rpm). The best wood turning lathes have variable speeds. Some have manual speed adjustments while others are electronic.
Wood lathes also come with different spindle thread diameters and TPI (turns per inch). The industry standard is a 1″ x 8 tpi thread, but smaller sizes are available for hobby use.
Most woodturning lathes come with a tool rest and some come with some chisels, too, which is ideal if you are looking for a starter set for small craft uses.
You should always wear safety goggles when using a lathe as dust, debris or splintered pieces of your workpiece could fly up and damage your eyes.
You should also dress appropriately and never wear loose-fitting clothes as these could become ensnared in the tool.
How do I use a woodturning lathe?
Before beginning work, read the instructions that came with your wood lathe and ensure you are familiar with how your lathe machine works.
Select a suitable piece of wood. Beginners should start with a soft wood which is not too knotty, and it is best to start with a short piece of wood. You should ensure it doesn’t have any cracks or splits as damaged pieces can pose a safety hazard.
Follow the instructions that come with your lathe machine to secure the piece firmly
Place the tool rest parallel to the length of the work piece, ensuring it is as close as possible but without being so close the work piece will hit it.
Hand turn the work piece to make sure it doesn’t hit the tool rest.
Choose your tool. Most turning projects are started with a roughing gauge to create the basic shape.
Turn the lathe machine on, making sure it is at the lowest speed setting.
Begin moving the cutting edge of your tool parallel to the rotation of the work piece. Continue along the length of the piece.
To smooth your work, increase your lathe speed and hold your cutting tool so it barely contacts the wood.