There are a few factors to consider when choosing a mini wood lathe. The most important of these are the swing size, the bed length, and the construction or weight of the lathe. You may also need to choose between variable or fixed speeds. Additional considerations include the availability of spare parts and technical support.
If you intend to use wide pieces of wood, you should look for a lathe with an adequate swing size. A mini wood lathe with a swing size of 10 inches (about 25 centimeters) can hold a piece of wood up to 10 inches in diameter. This can be especially important if you plan to make wide objects such as bowls.
The bed length of lathe refers to the maximum length of the objects it can hold. If a lathe has a bed length of 12 inches (about 30 centimeters), it can hold an object up to 12 inches in length. A mini wood lathe might be extended through the use of a bed extension, which is normally purchased separately.
Weight and construction of the lathe are less obvious factors but are equally important when choosing a mini wood lathe. Most people would assume that lighter construction is better, but heavier lathes are more accurate. A cast iron bed will help absorb the vibration when turning a piece of wood, and this means that the turning will be more precise.
Another important consideration is whether you want a mini wood lathe with variable or fixed speeds. A lathe with variable speeds can change speeds with the push of a button or through the use of a foot pedal. Variable speeds offer a greater level of control over the turning. If you plan to take on projects that require frequent speed changes, a lathe with variable speed could be a better choice.
A mini wood lathe with a fixed speed can still change speeds, but only by changing the belts on the pulley. In order to do this an access panel has to be removed, so changing speeds on a fixed speed lathe means interrupting the turning process to change the belts. Lathes with fixed speeds are more suitable for projects where the entire object can be created using just one or two speeds.
You should also research the availability of spare parts for the model you want to purchase. Imported lathes can be cheaper, but it can be difficult to find spare parts. Having parts imported can also be expensive, so it is best to check with suppliers beforehand.
Technical support is another consideration that is sometimes overlooked. It is good to know that assistance is at hand should you need it. Imported products do not usually offer technical support. Check for products that have toll free support numbers or that offer e-mail assistance to clients.