Turning Archive 2007

ROBUST lathe impressions - Part II (long)

Ed Moore
>Last year at Louisville I saw the ROBUST lathe that Brent English had on display at the AAW Symposium. I checked out the Tilt-Away tailstock feature thoroughly and was really impressed with the quality of the construction and the thought that went into the design. As many of you know, I purchased a ROBUST 25 x 18 with 3 HP that arrived in late September of 2006.

I wrote an extremely favorable report on the lathe after I had had it a little while, promising to write a follow-up after I had a chance for some heavier work. This is that follow-up. And I am still as positive about the lathe now as I was earlier. I have used the McNaughton coring system and the lathe did fine. Any problem was related to the operator, not the lathe. [grin] I have put some heavy pieces of red oak on the lathe and it handled them as well as could be expected. If I continue to make large red oak bowls than it would be prudent to add some weight - which would also be the case if I had a Oneway 2436 or Stubby 750.

I still think the Tilt-Away feature for the tailstock is a brilliant solution to the heavy tailstock problem. After 9 months of use the Tilt-Away ways are still aligned perfectly. This is a great feature.

The lathe cannot be started when the spindle lock is engaged. And this feature has prevented many errors on my part.

Brent has designed a new tool-rest with the small round bar glued on the upper edge. This bar is harder than the usual soft steel and does not mar easily. He was also extremely clever and changed the shape of the rest so that you can get a steeper angle with a tool. I recommend this rest to anyone whose lathe has a 1" post.

My conclusion after 9 months is that I absolutely made the best choice of a lathe for me when I selected the ROBUST 25 x 18. I feel that overall it is as good as any other lathe and it has a few features that give it a definite edge. Did I mention the stainless steel ways - they come standard on the ROBUST? Wet red oak can do a number on the ways of a lathe - but not mine. I endorse this lathe enthusiastically.

Earlier, I issued an invitation to come to my shop near Roanoke, Virginia, and test-drive the ROBUST if you are considering one. (John Lucas, when will you be here?)

If you are in Portland, PLEASE stop by the ROBUST booth and tell Brent that Ed Moore sent you. [grin]


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