Turning Archive 2007

Am I crazy to buy a big lathe?

GolfSteve in Calgary
>Am I crazy to buy a big lathe as my first lathe? I've always wanted to get into turning, but I'm not particularly interested in bowls. My primary interest is furniture building, so I'd probably mostly do spindle turning, pens, parts for furniture, etc. I'd like to have a lathe with an indexing head.

Anyway, I've got an opportunity to buy a General 260-20 VS with a bunch of faceplates, a nova or oneway chuck (I'm not sure which), two tool-rests, a half-dozen gouges, and a bunch of wood blanks for $2500 CDN. That's a lot of money for me. The thing is in great shape and is available at 50% of the new cost.

I know that a stretched mini lathe would do the job for 90% of what I want to do (at half the cost), but that big General lathe has always caught my eye. I'm tight for room in my shop and the big General will take a lot of room. Is it possible to do pen work on a big lathe like this?

I've searched the archives, and for the most part people seem to recommend going for the bigger lathe since you'll probably upgrade later anyway. It's a lot of money and a lot of room.

Any advice you can share?


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