Can a Metal Lathe be used for wood?

Diamond G Knives

Well-Known Member
Just curious as I have 0 experiance with either.

Can (or should) a metal lathe be used for turning wood?

Wondering if i can get double duty out of one machine??

Thanks and God Bless,


can it ? yes if you are willing to make appropriate tooling. is it a good idea? no. I have done it in a pinch, I have 35 years of woodturning behind me and was able to make cutters with proper geometry, and a toolrest for freehand work that attaches to the compound of one of my South Bends. It got me through until my cheapie wood lathe showed up but was a nuisance. I use that South Bend for center drilling handles but that is the only time it gets wood



Well-Known Member
Yes it can, like the guys above have said.

It generally won't do it particularly well; speeds are often quite a bit lower on metalworking lathes. Tooling, particularly mounting toolrests for largish work, may need a bit of ingenuity, though that's part of what having a lathe is all about.

Assuming you can sort the tooling and your work fits within the envelope you have, the biggest real problem you are likely to find is the wood dust. It can make a horrible rusty mess of a nice lathe frighteningly fast, and near-obsessive attention to cleanup is warranted. Obviously your climate (humidity) will affect this, as will the types of wood you turn. Based on my experience a few years ago with a Myford ML7 in South-West England, I'd advise anyone to find the money for a cheap wood lathe somehow.

Diamond G Knives

Well-Known Member
Thanks Guys,
Thanks what I was wanting to know.
Currently I dont have either, Im shopping and just wondered if I needed one or two lathes. Looks like the answer is 2!

Thanks again for your input!

God Bless