Thursday, 17 October 2019

HAFCO WL-18 Lathe

While over in Ozzie I was asked by my daughters partner to give advise on a Hafco lathe which was for sale because he was keen to learn some woodturning.
I never heard of Hafco before so we decided to have a look and work out if it would be a suitable sturdy lathe for what he wanted.

The engine room has a set of pulleys with adjustable diameters which give a continue speed control from 500 to 2000 rpm adjustable with the handle at the front.

The lathe bed, head and tailstock all cast iron and sturdy enough for some reasonable size work.  Swivel head and outboard facility included and a good toolrest also.  The lathe package included faceplate and a set of woodturning tools in a wooden box with a stamped mark on the tools 'made in chian'.
This error print made me a little suspicious about the quality of the steel and they looked a bit rough on the edges.

The swivel head locked nicely in at 45 and 90 degrees and the extension for the toolrest needed to be attached when working outboard.
This extension was of a rather light construction and indeed it needed support with a stick between toolrest and floor.

After some ' negotiating ' we managed to get the sale price down to A$ 300 which was a pretty good price for this lathe incusive tools.

So after everything was installed we powered up and started making some spindles with plenty beads and coves praktising and a small plate done with the paper glue method because of the lack of a chuck.
The tools were not too flash and needed sharpening a lot because they lost the edge fairly quick but that was to expected also with this Ozzie timber which is a lot harder to turn compared to what we usually have here.
I must admit that I occasionally had trouble getting a clean cut before sanding and had to resort to some shear scraping techniques to reduce the fine ripples.
I spend a great deal of time teaching the various tool handlings and jotted down the info on a sheet of paper with drawings so he could use this as a reference when practising.   Anyway it was nice to be able to make some shavings while staying at my daughters and to be able to pass on my expertise.

Final word about this lathe; well worth the money invested but there is a tendency of vibration possibly caused by the drive system.
Lathe needs to be bolted down and when outboard turning toolrest need support under it.  Motor is a bit light to my liking I managed to stall it a couple of times so light cuts here I think.

Peter Aalders

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