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Thread: New Steel City Granite lathe

  1. #1

    New Steel City Granite lathe

    I am not much of a wood turner but traveling last week got to see the Steel City Granite wood lathe. WOW! that thing was a chuck of machine.
    Just wondering what wood turners think of a Granite Lathe.
    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
    - Rick Dale

  2. #2
    Dave - I haven't seen one yet but I have to wonder just how durable the granite would be. I mean, you drop something on a metal lathe it dings up and you can sand it out. Drop it on granite and it would most likely chip....... then what?

    Like I said - I haven't seen one yet and they may be really nice to use. Hopefully someone with actual experience with these lathes will jump in.
    Steve

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  3. #3
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    I got to see one in Richmond, Va when there a couple of weeks ago at Woodcraft. Like Steve I don't think I would want one. If you happen to drop a chuck or something on it I would be afraid it would chip. It is a heavy thing for sure.
    Bernie

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  4. #4
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    forget droping something. howabout to many very out of balance blanks that vibrate the thing and it just snaps off and goes flying? i could understand if they made the bed granite and then reinforced with steal, so the granite was more for just looks and weight. but i dont think it would take the stress of a head stock that well can it?
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  5. #5
    Hmm, had a look at the web site and I have some reservations about a 'stone lathe'
    No doubt it would be solid and heavy. But, and there are a few buts. I guess I 'll see how they last in somebody elses shop before doing anything.
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  6. #6
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    The biggest concern I would have is the large jump in speed from 500 to 1350.

    "5 speed- 500,1350,2200, 3000, 3600 RPM"

    With any off balance piece that is quite a jump...but then again 500 is pretty fast already for out of balance and that is what my Jet 1220 has for a low speed also. According to the specs it out weighs the 1220 by 36lbs (161lbs vs 125lbs) that extra weight and the 27" length might be helpful. The 1/2 hp motor is a little weaker but should still do the job.

  7. #7
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    The biggest advantage I see it that you wouldn't have to worry about rust when turning green wood.

  8. #8
    Guess I'm missing something here. Why would you need granite for a lathe? I can see the tablesaw, jointer and even the bandsaw, but a lathe? If it's for the weight, sand bags are pretty cheap.

  9. #9
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    I like Steel City Machines, from what I have seen of them. Very good designs, and solid construction.

    Having said that, I think they are getting silly with the granite thing.

    In tool making evolution we started with the stone age, went through the bronze age, and finally into the iron age. Why go backwards?

    Okay seriously though. Aside from rust resistance, which is a benefit, I don't see any other reason to use granite. It chips and cracks fairly easily, and with the torsional forces an out of balance blank puts on a lathe, I could see a granite lathe bed cracking PDQ...

    Now having said that, I would love to have the SC 17" VS Drill Press...
    Trying to follow the example of the master...

  10. #10
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    I have their 14" granite BS and 17" drill press and love them both. Have not had any problems with the granite table on the BS chipping or cracking. My main concern with this lathe would be, considering how dense granite is, it probably would not dampen vibration very well, if at all.

    Tim

  11. #11
    I haven't seen any of the granite lathes, but I did see a Ridgid tablesaw at Home Depot with a granite top split in half. I asked how it happened and was told "some of the help are a little rough on things". Cast iron will break, I have done in many a boiler section with a sledge hammer, but it is not easy work. Looks to me like one good blow would take out a granite top, might take out a cast top too. Anybody ever break a cast top?

  12. #12
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    Granite Lathes???? the next thing you see is someone making one out of concrete!?...... oh wait that's already been done.

    I stopped in WC STL today and looked at it.

    It looks solid and heavy, substantially more than its competitors. But for a mini lathe is it overkill? By that I mean, I read here and elsewhere about the Jet lathes and the others and generally the weight of those machines isn't commented on.

    joe
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  13. #13
    It's hard to tell from the photo but (If you never seen one in person) it is much, much larger than a Mini- like the JET or the like. A lot larger.
    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
    - Rick Dale

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lehnert View Post
    It's hard to tell from the photo but (If you never seen one in person) it is much, much larger than a Mini- like the JET or the like. A lot larger.
    It was setting directly across the table from a Delta Midi(?) or what ever that new small Delta lathe is.

    A Rikon was next to it, all were comparable in size.

    The difference is the mass of the granite.

    joe
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  15. #15
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    This topic has been discussed before

    Here' a link to another thread on Steel City's new lathe: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=113777

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