Tool Review: Turbo T40 Lathe by Harvey
Powerful and sturdy benchtop lathe
Let’s talk about what makes a good wood lathe: a cast-iron bed, strong cam locks for fastening the banjo and tailstock, good torque, common spindle thread dimensions, easy belt changes, easy spindle lock, forward and reverse capability, and responsive speed adjustments. The Harvey Turbo T40 has all of these. And it fits on your benchtop.
A cast-iron machine dampens vibrations better than those made with other materials, and the T40’s cast-iron bed is finely crafted. The banjo and tailstock glide smoothly across the bed, and both have a cam-style lock combined with a square plate underneath, which helps secure them firmly to the bed. It has 24 in. between centers and a 14-in. swing over the bed.
The 178-lb. T40 is powered by an Industrial Servo 1-hp motor with a three-sided belt that fits snugly into an aluminum pulley system. On its low setting, which has the highest torque, the lathe can spin from 50 to 2,800 rpm. The high setting’s range is 75 to 4,300 rpm (good to know, although I cannot imagine spinning even the smallest diameters over 3,000 rpm). I found the belt very easy to maneuver.
The T40 has a common 1-1⁄4-in. spindle and #2 Morse taper. It also has an excellent 2-millisecond response time when speeding up your lathe—a welcome feature. The lathe’s spindle-locking device is the easiest system I have ever seen: a little lever that makes it simple to lock the spindle with two fingers.
A forward and reversing switch also comes standard on the T40. This will make for better sanded surfaces and accommodate those who do their hollowing in the opposite direction (when working in reverse, you’ll need to have the grub screw tightened so the work won’t unscrew itself).
If you are looking for a compact lathe with the power and sturdiness of a larger model, as well as all the other components that make a great lathe, the Harvey T40 could be a great fit for your workshop. And with its baked-on black paint and gold emblems, it will add some class as well.
—Mike Mahoney is a professional turner outside Sacramento.
More on FineWoodworking.com:
- All About Turning
- Bowl Turning Head-to-Head: Man vs. Man+Machine
- A turner’s Basic Tool Kit – A group of tools to get you started on spindle and faceplate turning