Harbor Freight 8×12 wood lathe unboxing and initial impression

Harbor Freight 8x12 wood lathe unboxing and initial impression

I’ve been wanting a lathe for a while and all it took was for my family to leave me alone. Well, that, and for the lathe to be on clearance at Harbor Freight.

Now that I’ve used the lathe for a few weeks I’m impressed. It works well, is more solid than I expected (which isn’t saying much), and it let me get into wood turning very inexpensively. Like I said in the video, the tool rest lock is a bit flimsy. I’m expecting to rip it off at some point, but it hasn’t happened yet. No big loss if it happens, now that I know I enjoy wood turning I’d be OK with upgrading at some point. That being said I have nothing else to compare it to, but if I needed to drop $300 on a mini lathe I wouldn’t have given it a shot.

As for the $20 chisels, they’re better than I expected for $20. You get 8 chisels that somewhat hold an edge for almost nothing. You’ll need to give them a really good sharpening out of the box and you’ll need to touch them up often when working. In just a few weeks I’ve made a lot of pens, bottle stoppers, handles, etc. and if you keep them sharp they work well. The great thing is I was able to try 8 different chisels, decide what I really like, and upgrade them one or two chisels at a time.

If you’re interested in this lathe or chisels, the part #’s are below.

8 in. x 12 in. 1/3 HP Benchtop Wood Lathe: Item #95607
Wood Lathe Turning Tool Kit 8 Pc: Item #62674

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