Wood Lathe

What Size Wood Lathe Do You Need to Turn Bowls?

Serious woodworkers know the importance of having all the necessary accessories in their toolbox. Among the must-have essentials includes woodturners. A quality wood lathe means a lot to what you expect from your projects.

However, there are different sizes of wood lathes produced by manufacturers out here. Every size wood lathe performs perfectly in specific projects. So, what size of this device is perfect for turning bowls?

What Size Wood Lathe Do You Need to Turn Bowls?

Lathes help woodworkers to create a wide variety of decorative turnings, candlesticks, and many others. They also form essential gadgets for turning larger objects like fancy writing pens and posts as such. Consequently, the devices can turn wooden bowls, tiny and furniture legs.

However, using a lathe needs a lot of practice and skills to get the best result from the device. Fortunately, learning to use a wood lathe for turning bowls is the easiest and most enjoyable experience ever.

Just think of turning a piece of wood into a usable bowl. It sounds like something unimaginable, but it’s a real thing. After a long period of practice turning, you will come to believe it’s such an enjoyable activity. However, everything with these projects starts by choosing a wood lathe that can handle your specific task.

What is the best-sized wood lathe that can turn bowls? Purchasing lathes is a thing you will accomplish even once in life. Therefore buyers need to stay careful about the devices they purchase. Remember, we have both smaller and larger wood lathes in the market. They perform perfectly in different projects.

Smaller models do a great job in a variety of woodworking projects. They perform perfectly when dealing with small projects dealing with small pieces of wood. However, these devices don’t form the best option when dealing with larger projects like bowl turning. Smaller wood lathes don’t offer sufficient bulk required to handle heavier and larger woods employed to turn bowls.

Larger wood lathes mostly measure around 20 inches. With such a size, you can turn bowls that measure up to about 20 inches theoretically. However, in the real sense, they can turn bowls measuring between 17 and 18 inches. We reduce the measure from the original size of the device to accommodate that might require knocking off.

Usually, woodworkers don’t employ the full swing capacity when using these devices. If you worked on bowls that ended up measuring 15 inches, then probably you used about 18 inches swing overall. So, what size of wood lathe do experts recommend to turn bowls?

In such projects, you need wood lathes with a swing of at least 16 inches. Worry less about where you will purchase such wood lathes. Most of the larger lathes have swings ranging from 16 to 24 inches. There are several other market options around that have more swing specifically for turning bowls.

When using a wood lathe, you need utmost comfort and safety for the entire period. Weight also matters a lot in the overall safety and comfort you expect from the device. Remember, you need to avoid all forms of vibrations when working on your piece of wood. Most lathe manufacturers consider this aspect a lot in their construction. You will find most manufacturers constructing their models weighing over 500 pounds to prevent such happenings.

There are chances you will deal with the heaviest possible pieces of wood that the weight your lathe can’t hold. Try bolting the device to the floor to reduce vibrations that will make turning a hectic exercise in such situations. Likewise, others usually try adding weight to the bottom or lower side shelf of their lathes.

Power Required to Turn Bowls

Apart from the size of your wood lathe, you need to mind about the power you require to turn bowls. Mostly, the power of lathes gets determined by their motors. Wood lathes designed to undertake bowl turning tasks feature motors ranging from 1.5 to 2 hp.

Experts recommend woodworkers consider devices with 2hp motors for such projects. However, this depends on your wallet as well as space. If your budget allows, get a device with a 3hp motor to accomplish such tasks effectively and efficiently.

So, if you intend to work on turning bowls, you need to mind a lot about your wood lathe size. Turning bowls is classified as a heavy as well as larger task that requires a larger lathe. Therefore, you need to plan well with a device measuring at least 16 inches to undertake this project.

Which wood lathe should you consider between the larger and smaller options for your woodworking projects? Indeed a good question, and there is a need to get an idea about it before purchasing these devices.

Different people perceive that smaller lathes handle only smaller projects while larger options do everything. However, that is just their assumptions. Their answer might be valid and at the same time invalid.

Now, smaller wood lathers get designed to work on smaller wood projects. They can’t support any bigger or heavier projects. Tasks dealing with heavier or larger woods are left to the larger wood lathes. They have sufficient swing to work on heavier and large pieces of wood.

Seemingly, the larger wood lathes only work correctly on larger tasks. These are tasks, for instance, turning heavy bowls as such. They can’t make it to handle smaller jobs. Therefore, before paying for a wood lathe, determine its use. Otherwise, you will need different options if you intend to work on both smaller and larger projects.


Woodturning requires the utmost experience practice to accomplish projects. However, after mastering the whole idea, everything turns into a form of fun. Walking through the task efficiently and quickly requires a quality and sizable wood lathe. Not all sizes of wood lathes can handle projects involving turning bowls.

Those intending to take on such a project even in the future should invest in models with at least 16 inches of swing. These options can handle projects to give you the best objects ever.

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