The 109 lathe has a lot of weakness. The most obvious ones are:
- A weak spindle. The spindle is 0.55" diameter. From what I read, it is very easily bent. I suspect that in my playing with the limit of it, I have probably bent mine also.
- No graduated dial.
While contemplating on different options, there are a few choices when it comes to hobbies lathes. Among the most obvious ones are:
Each have its advantage and shortcomings. I have been scanning the local Craigslist hoping to find something interesting. Soon, a HF 7x10 came up at an amazing price of $150. That is a very good price. And I am the first one to respond to the buyer and setup the time to take it.
I thought through that again and again. Yes, at that price the value would be hard to beat. But I don't need two lathes. Yes, I can sell the old one and get my money back probably. But what is the purpose of having a lathe? I am not having a project that needed a lathe to complete. The lathe itself IS the project. Indeed, I have more (easier projects, for beginner at least) to work on on the old 109 lathe than those of the HF lathe. Plus, it is a simple lathe that everything is out in the open. The fact that it is weaker could actually be its strength for me to really learn how to do things properly.
We all know the most important use of a tool is to build other tools. So to build these I have in mind with the challenging weak inaccurate lathe would make things really interesting. These weaknesses are not insurmountable. They just require you to be more creative and do things properly. Take for example the weak spindle. If I am doing something that bents a half inch steel bar unintentionally in my garage, I am probably doing something wrong.
So I have cancelled my appointment with the seller. My project is now playing with the 109 lathe and see where I can bring it up to. I think it will be a fun journey.