My New Lathe Has Arrived!

A few months ago I really started to notice that I just wasn’t completely satisfied with my aging Laguna brand lathe.  I was using it essentially daily and it wasn’t really designed for that level of use.  At the time I first got it, it was a major improvement on what I had started with, but as I grew as a wood turner I needed something better, more reliably built and easier to use.

I did my due diligence and research and although I did seriously consider the Powermatic line, in the end I decided to go with the all-American made, in Wisconsin, Robust American Beauty lathe.  The Robust American Beauty lathe had all the essential features I was looking for in variable speed, easy-to-use spindle locking, one of the largest over bed clearance measurements on the market, easy to use add-ons and accessories such as tool rests and tailstock tilt-away features, plus a very sturdy cast-iron construction with stainless steel rails that will never rust no matter how wet the wood I work with happens to be.


Yes, it is a very expensive machine, and all in with delivery and accessories I paid $8,300 for it, but I am confident that it will be the last lathe I ever buy or need, so I was willing to make the investment in a machine I believed in, especially the American made part of it, and that is strongly what swayed me from the Taiwan-made Powermatic to tell the whole truth.  I was able to talk directly to the man who makes the machines in Wisconsin, along with his wife who handles the shipping so I had a sense of personal connection and trust, backed by a whole machine 7 year warranty which can’t be beaten in the industry today.  While I could have purchased the machine through Robust directly, I opted to work with one of their distributors, Craft Supply USA, because of their buyer reward program that gives me about $275 worth of store credit, with no expiration date, for purchasing through them.  The price was ultimately identical, including a discount for cash payment, so the store credits sweetened the deal just enough for me and Roger at Craft Supply was good to work with.


Unfortunately, I haven’t used the machine yet, so it is still shiny bright from the manufacturer because I am recovering from a hip replacement and am not yet back to turning shape, but my devoted and ever so creative husband Tim has managed to position the machine in my tight shop space, with the help of the add-on caster set from Robust themselves, although I am not sure how he did it by himself without damage to him or the machine.  I hope to have my Dad, Steve, out in the next few weeks from California to help test drive it as I couldn’t have purchased it without his generous assistance of a loan to help offset the initial cost while I pay it back over time.

A new machine of this grandeur is a big moment for any wood turner and I look forward to updating everyone about what I am certain will be the amazing performance of this magnificent new addition to my small shop.

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