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I started using the lathe with a very primitive roughing gouge I made from an old abused screwdriver and some small carving gouges.  I ended up buying some older Buck Brothers skews to use from Harland B. Fosters, a local tool dealer located in Great Barrington, MA, that sells antique tools in addition to new ones and Hardware — think a small town cross between Lee Valley tools, Rocklers, Garret Wade and somebodiy’s grandfather’s shop.


Turning with the mini lathe is pretty simple.  It reminded me a lot of glass blowing in terms of its immediacy.  Making furniture is usually a slower, mediative process and turning is a little different.  It was fun!  I tried some old maple, poplar, and oak.  The maple was the best — and worst.  One of the pieces had too many curls and my primitive gouge kept digging in too much.  The next few pieces I tried were much nicer and the Buck Brothers skews handled the maple better.

The poplar was a little soft, but sanded out OK.  I made a simple handle from the maple and a small “paper clip” cup out of the oak.  (Yes, you can turn bowls with this lathe — small ones at least.)  Turning spindles felt a little bit safer than turning bowls.  If I dug in while turning a spindle the worse that would happen would be that the wood would stop turning while the live center and the drill would keep going.  Digging in while turning a bowl was a little more dramatic as the bowl would move quite a bit.


All in all it has been a pleasant experience.  Except for the loose end caps I’m well pleased with the purchase. Since I don’t know anyone with a lathe, this was the least expensive way I could find to try out turning.  As I mentioned, I plan on setting this up with a dedicated motor in my studio so that my boys can turn.  (They already have a small Sjoberg bench).  I’ll probably use it to make tool handles with until I get a bigger lathe.

Thanks, Michael, for taking the time to let us know how it turned out.  It looks like this would be a great, inexpensive way for anyone to give turning a try! 

Mini Wood Lathe [Adjustable Clamp Co.]
Street Pricing [Google Product Search]

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16 Responses to Hands-On: The Adjustable Clamp Co.’s Mini Wood Lathe

  1. Steve Thompson says:

    Cool review. Would have never considered this (thinking it a mere gimmick) without it. Now I might for a couple of simple small projects I have pending. Thanks.

  2. Rob says:

    Is there any way to attach a chuck to this lathe? Does anyone know what the spindle thread is?

  3. Michael W. says:

    Rob, I’ll see what the spindle thread is and post it.

    If your interested in using a chuck too, you might want to check out the Grizzly H2669 Hobby Lathe


    It attaches a little differently with the drill passing through the headstock unit, so you could conceivable use the drill’s chuck.

  4. Michael W. says:

    Here it goes, the lathes paperwork lists the threading as “1/2″ – 20UNF”. Hope that helps.

  5. Rob says:

    Thanks, Michael. I don’t think there is a standard chuck that is threaded 1/2 – 20 but there might be some adapter available. I wasn’t looking for one of these for myself (I already have 4 lathes, 2 wood turning, 2 precision) but a lot of people I know want some sort of turning tool and are using drill presses / hand drills and I was hoping to give them a better option. Thanks!

  6. Michael W. says:

    Do you mind sharing what kind of wood lathes you have? This is all new to me and I’m open to any advice that you may have.

  7. Rob says:

    I have a Jet 1236 (12″ swing, 36″ bed) and a Bonnie Klein Micro lathe (5″ swing, 12″ bed). I have the smaller lathe to travel with me to do turning demos. My best advice other than keep your tools sharp, is match what you are turning to your lathe. The Jet I have isn’t that big and really I shouldn’t turn anything larger than 6″- 8″ around on it, despite the fact that I can swing the headstock around and get something 18″ on there. The reason is mass. More mass = smoother turning. Add to that, the minimum speed is about 500 RPM and something that big is moving pretty fast. Now if you start with something that’s pretty well balanced, you can go larger, but for a log (if you were doing a natural edge bowl or something like that), stay smaller. Let me know if you have any other questions, you can email me offline if you want motodog1991 at yahoo dot com.

  8. Baz says:

    I wanted to buy this type lathe and I try to buy from Grizzly, but they don’t ship or sell or do not sell under 200$. What a company want to do business in internet era of shopping. Anyone could tell me about the lathe and how and where I can buy it. Thanks

  9. Doug says:

    How does the faceplate attach? I have an old shopcraft lathe that I bought at a garage sale that is missing the faceplate. I uses a 1/2″ – 20UNF spindle and was hoping I could buy and use a replacement faceplate for this lathe.

    The shopcraft looks like this: http://www.stripersonline.com/surftalk/showthread.php?t=558587

  10. Doug says:

    Just for the sake of future searchers who may wind up here, I can confirm that the faceplate for the Jorgensen Lathe does fit the spindle on the Shopcraft lathe. I order one and it spun right on.

    It is quite lightweight aluminum – lighter even than the other Shopcraft parts, but if you need one, it fits.

  11. Bobby says:

    Hey – I just wanted to say thanks for doing the write-up. I was going to buy a Grizzly hobby lathe, but it turns out that they are out of stock on them until May 20th 2009. I can’t wait that long for one because I have a need for one now. I called the nice folks at Adjustable Clamp Co (link at top of page) and ordered a couple of them. For $39.95 how could you go wrong? I got the Grizzly 1/2 HP 2500 RPM drill to go along with them for $25 ea on sale…so for like $65 plus shipping, I’ve got what I need. Plus, Adjustable Clamp Co. didn’t charge me a $5 oversize charge for shipping like Grizzly would have.

  12. Eric Baculy says:

    Several years ago I had an idea for a spindle turning system utilizing the table saw as the means of machining parts made of wood, plastic, solid surface(Corian and others) or a combination of the three with a two axis pattern system for making duplicatible turnings. The Adjustable Clamp Co’s mini-lathe provided the perfect off the shelf platform to build the system which I first crudely prototyped before I contracted a machinist to build the final prototype. The TurboLathe is patented and is currently being reviewed by a manufacturer for market feasibility.
    Check it out on youtube at turbolathe and let me know what you think. I apologize for the crappy video but I haven’t had the time to make a new one.


    Eric Baculy

  13. Tim says:

    Well… It’s $118 plus shipping now”…

  14. Andy says:

    It can be found for much less than $118+ I’ve seen them for ~$80 US on multiple sites.

  15. lisa says:

    I love my Alexa and my echo I use in my house. I want to give one to my Mom because she’s losing her sight and I think and echo might help her. Can I loads the apps I think she could use like news , trivia using my phone apps then give it to her? My mom doesn’t have a phone because of her vision plus if the family adds the apps or the device she could use her echo. My Mom doesn’t have a computer either but her complex has wi-fi. Can someone help me help my 97 yr old mother. Thank you

  16. Kathy says:

    I have found that white mushrooms soak up the most of the butter flavor, so they are my favorite! If you already love the little ‘shrooms then portabella would be lovely in this! Just my opinion 😉

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