Buying a Rose Engine Lathe
Buying a new rose engine lathe is an option that lets the craftsman get up and running quickly. It allows that craftsman to use the machine to make work, not requiring the craftsman to work on the machine to get it into operational order.
But there are others who like working on older machines to get them into working shape again. If that is something that excites you, please go ahead and pursue it. Ignore anyone who might criticize you for not using the machines. It is your hobby, so do what makes you happy. (A similar criticism could probably be leveled against those who choose to design and build their own machine over purchasing one, but that is an entirely different story.)
In the end, buying a new machine vs. repairing an older one (or building your own) is similar to home repairs. Some chose to have the work done whilst others do it themselves.
Only one used option is shown below: a Holtzapffel. There were other companies, including: Birch, Evans, Fenn, Goyen, Hulot, Lukin, Munro, and Plant. Just knowing the company names will help the ornamental turner know what search terms to use to seek information on the Internet. The British ornamental turning group, The Society of Ornamental Turners is a great place to start.
This Vimeo video shows Fred Armbruster in his shop. He's demonstrating a Birch ornamental turning lathe (starting around 0:38) and his Armbruster Rose Engine Lathe (starting around 1:22). The video is a bit long (almost 2 hours), but it shows one of the great inventors of the current day.
Notes on used machines
One older ornamental turner (I believe it was Bill Jones) expressed that he had an issue with these machines being maintained as museum pieces. Rather, he expressed that they should be used. If you do buy a rose engine lathe, please use it.
If you choose to buy a used machine, especially if you go with an older machine, you may need (or wish) to refurbish it. John Lea gave this presentation at the 2012 Ornamental Turners International Symposium discussing such activities.
The options listed below are shown in broad price groupings (like is done for restaurants). I won't try to display the costs as they will change over time, and certainly change with the options selected. In any regard, where the manufacturer has a known web site, a link is provided. The user can use those sites to get ideas of the costs.
Index of Known Options
The lathes are shown alphabetically, and no preference is given for one over another.
- Price Model $
- Price Model $$
- Price Model $$$
- Price Model $$$$
Disclaimer: eMail comments to me at OTBookOfKnowledge @ Gmail.com. The process of woodturning involves the use of tools, machinery and materials which could cause injury or be a health hazard unless proper precautions are taken, including the wearing of appropriate protective equipment.