Nov 20

Lidl Parkside Lathe, part fin

So I was tidying up after the last bit of turning and was planning on starting into routing the lathe dust collection host across the ceiling and into the cyclone lid I’ll be making using a rutlands kit to replace the dust devil clone I’m using at the moment.

(yes, you get two sets of those)

But to build the lid I had to find the plywood I have left and that was behind the lidl lathe, which I’ve been meaning to test again since before lockdown started, and just hadn’t gotten to, and if I tested it it would mean I could put off hard work for a day so, out it came 😀

Now, the last time I played with this was before anyone knew what Covid was, so it’s been a while. And at that point, I had not gotten my minilathe, hadn’t done any of the course on turning, and hadn’t spent any time actually turning. I’m still not terribly good at it, but I have been riding that bevel for a few months now and I’m almost at the stage where you know just enough to be dangerous, so I was wondering how my opinion would have changed. So I put the lightest miniature blank I had between its centers. By the way, this thing came with a faceplate (made out of pot metal) and claimed you could turn bowls with it. Let’s be clear, the only way you’re adding a faceplate to this thing is with a welder. There’s no control to lock the spindle to remove the drive center. I’m not sure what they expected you do to loosen the center, the manual claims it can be removed but I have no idea how. I mean, look at it:

Anyway, set it up…

And then tried to adjust the rest. Several times. And just gave up in the end. Can’t get into the gap between headstock and tailstock on a blank that size.

Worse, you can’t really adjust the height very much at all. If you want to use a scraping tool of any kind with this (except for a shear scraping pass with a gouge), give up now because you can’t get the rest high enough to get on centerline while also having the screw clamp the rest securely.

Also, no, I’m not using the “tools” that came with it. Seriously. No. Not doing it. Well, not with the gouge anyway. The skew might be usable if you reground it and your last name is Jones and your first name is Steve, but honestly, I’m not even sure about that. So I used my own bargain basement HSS tools.

Okay, so first off, I’m not good at one-handed turning. Don’t do it much, bar when parting or tweaking something I think is too thin and will snap without some steadying. So with both hands, I could get a single pass with the roughing gouge, but the rest isn’t helping much. It’s almost sticky in places for some reason. But that’s a small thing in the grand scheme of things.

Far worse is that that’s the lathe at about 40% of its max speed. Except that it’s struggling to maintain speed and you’ve no gearing or anything to let you get more power into the spindle to maintain the speed in a cut. So instead, you have to turn the power (and speed) up, considerably, and then the bearing start to scream. Listen for yourself (this is up to about 80% of max):

You can hear it at 40-50% struggling to maintain speed, then crank it to 80% or so and cut, and it still can’t maintain the speed in the cut but it can at least turn fast enough to fake it, but the bearings do not like the load at that speed.

They claimed, don’t forget, that this thing could turn bowls. With a straight face.

Also, using the skew is nearly impossible because you can’t get the rest high enough while keeping it locked to the rest, so the whole thing is just awkward. If the lathe had any power at all, it’d be sketchy.

I mean, okay, it looks almost clean, but you can’t see the tearout, which wasn’t great. I got out a spindle gouge and turned a sort-of-shape, but it was a lot of work, and where on the minilathe you’d feel like you had some sort of control, here you felt like you were behind the curve continually.

And here’s a major problem for me – the lathe does not generate enough power to turn the lathe when the speed is set to it’s slowest setting and you’re trying to sand with 80 grit paper. I mean, the secret to my woodturning is that I buy 80 grit in bulk, so that’s a bit of a problem.


Yeah. Nope.
It has now been booted with prejudice from the shed. Total waste of eighty quid. Could have had a pack of bowl blanks for that as well 🙁 Avoid unless you want it for parts (and even then, I don’t know what you could use them for). Save your money and get a second-hand minilathe, you can pick up an older minilathe model for the 150-200 euro range on adverts.ie or the like – and I mean things like Charnwood W815s and Record Power Dml36sh lathes which are not bad choices. I did the turning course on a DML36sh and they’re grand – actually better than my minilathe in fact – more length in the bed and the headstock rotates IIRC so you could do larger bowls than I can. The W815 is basically the same casting as my minilathe, just with a different badge and some minor differences that are small enough that I can use some charnwood parts on my lathe at the moment (chuck jaws to be specific).

But the lidl lathe? Yeah, it’s only fun if you’ve not tried an actual lathe. The minute you do that, you see all its flaws and notice that it doesn’t really have any strengths at all. Avoid.

Nov 19

Lidl Parkside Lathe

For those who don’t live in the EU, there’s a chain of shops here called Lidl who do your normal groceries – veg, meat, frozen goods, dairy, soft drinks, biscuits, cereals, alcohol, baby stuff and cleaning stuff and some pharmaceuticals, but they also have “the magic aisle” where they do an impression of aliexpress every week with varying themes. This week, it was DIY and… well…

So, some expectations. This thing cost €80. It is not a mini-lathe 😀 It is not going to be keeping Record Power execs up at night. The Carpentry Store has nothing to worry about here.

BTW, you can get the full manual here.

However, I expect it to be underpowered enough that I can’t completely remove my fingers with it; and to have just about enough power and capacity to turn a replacement chisel handle and maybe some drawer pulls if I’m lucky. It claims it can turn bowls. I think they mean bowl as in sugar bowl, and I don’t think it’ll have the power for it, but just in case I did order a 3″ chuck today off Rutlands (I was buying an upgraded dust extractor in the black friday sales, but more on that when it gets here). It was an ex-demo chuck so I got it for half price, and I figure it’ll still be a waste but at some point I’ll probably get a real mini-lathe and I might be able to use it on that. Otherwise, well, feck, I’d waste more money smoking I guess.

Small safety note – there’s an unmarked box in the larger box that contains the chisels. That small thin baggie is the only thing between the chisel edge and your fingers if you open the wrong end and you’ve a fifty-fifty chance of that, so if you open the wrong end and tip the contents into your hand, well, it’s gonna hurt a bit.

I mean, it’s quite blunt, you’re not going to be nailed to the bench here, but still. Minus one point there lads, not cool.

The faceplate is pure pot metal, I’d be afraid to drop this thing on the floor lest it snap. The thread is M18 with a 1.5 pitch thread. Not sure how that’ll line up with a 3/4″x1.5 pitch thread like the adapter on that chuck but I guess I’ll find out. Not well I’m guessing.

This looks better than it is, the tailstock is all over the place until you lock it down, which is done with a bolt instead of a cam, so you can align it manually, which of course means you can completely fail to align it manually as well. There’s around 3-4mm of misalignment possible.

Right, well, might as well lose a finger. Small tiny 2cmx2cm spindle of cheap pine. Safety squints on (and glasses and ear defenders and no rings or loose sleeves).

It is loud. It vibrates a lot. It is underpowered. The chisels are remarkably dull to the point where my penknife would cut better. And I haven’t a notion of what I’m doing, obviously.


Still though. That’s a lot of fun for €80 😀

UPDATE: You probably want to read this later post as well. In fact, definitely read that one before you think about buying this lathe. Or, TL;DR: Don’t buy this lathe.