Turning Archive 2006

Practical maximum capacity of a mini lathe?

>I've taken my second try at woodturning and now I'm on a mission to get a lathe for myself. I'm looking at mini lathes to start off with. In looking through the various models out there, it seems that most mini lathes have a 10" swing. The new Rikon mini lathe has a 12" swing, and General makes a mini lathe that also has a 12" swing and has a pivoting headstock for outboard turning. I emailed Nova about their Mercury mini lathe, which also has outboard capacity, and it appears that it's being reintroduced to the US market.

In looking at the pictures of these larger capacity mini lathes, even though they can handle a bigger piece of wood, the overall size of the lathe is still pretty much the same. It doesn't look like much was added to the lathe for stability.

My question is, for these mini lathes that have a greater capacity than the usual 10" swing, how practical is it to turn a larger chunk of wood, considering that the base is still going to be relatively small?

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