The Shop Fox W1704 is one of the best Shop Fox tools that tackle small projects such as turning pens. But what makes it so popular with wood turners? Here are a few of its features:
Made to sit on your average workbench, this Shop Fox lathe is made from cast iron. Comprised of sturdy parts, the company has ensured serious quality control so that it lasts a long time. Its cast iron construction ensures low vibration and keeps it from moving during operation.
Shop Fox W1704 is a mini wood lathe that is driven by 1/3 HP, variable speed motor. The fact that it offers 700-3200 RPM spindle speeds makes it a versatile wood lathe for a variety of wood turning projects. Unlike other wood lathes where you have to stop the operation and then access the door in order to change the drive belt position, here you just have to turn the knob and set the speed, which is a great feature on an inexpensive wood lathe like this. The motor gives enough torque for cutting even the hardest wood. But the unit runs quietly.
With dimensions of 7.1×27.9×13.7 inches, this Shop Fox lathe is the smallest wood lathe, weighing only 50.8 pounds. It offers only a 12-inch distance between the centers. so it is recommended that it holds wood pieces of only 12” in length. It also depends on the chuck you are using. If you are using a larger chuck, then it will hold shorter pieces of wood stock. This tool comes with an 8” swing, which means that it provides you with 4” of space from the center to the lathe bed, sufficient for turning a bowl or a pen or any other small wood piece. However, it lacks power for turning bowls larger than 4”.
Tip: Always keep measuring tools with you if you are going for repeat projects. Note down the specs in order to reproduce a design. Choose suitable wood for your projects. Beginners shouldn’t choose knotty wood or burl or ones with a high moisture content, as they don’t give good results.
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Standout features: Inexpensive, 1/3 HP motor with variable speed, heavy cast iron construction, child lockout on the switch (which many expensive wood lathes don’t have).
The only con that this Shop Fox lathe has is that a handwheel on the headstock is lacking, but it is so budget friendly that this feature can be overlooked.
Compared to Jet JWL-1015 this midi lathe has less horsepower ½ vs 1/3, but compared to PSI Turncrafter Plus, this has more horsepower 1/3 vs ¼.
One of the most important aspects of buying a wood lathe is that it should have accessories available on the market. Fortunately, the Shop Fox W1704 accessories are readily available. You will find plenty of MT#1 attachments such as pen mandrels, drive centers and chucks, online or at your local woodworking store.
Overall, Shop Fox W1704 is a quality product for the price. It is very easy to set it up. It comes with two different size tool rests. Wish it was ½ HP instead of 1/3 HP, however.
Tip: Don’t wear loose clothing while working with a lathe. Always turn off the lathe and let it stop completely before leaving it. It is better to free spin your wood stock before turning the wood lathe on to ensure that it clears the tool rest.