10 Best Wood Lathe For Beginners – Expert Pick

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Do you wonder how the professional woodturners create those amazing crafts out of wood? The success of their creativity lies a lot in the tool they use. No matter if you are a professional turner or beginner, a good wood lathe will help you achieve the best result.

Unfortunately, finding the best wood lathe for beginners is not that simple. When you get superior power, you may lack accuracy. Also, if adjusting speed is possible, you may not find a digital display. Finding everything in a package becomes tougher. That is why our experts bring some good options with their good and bads to ease your searching for the best option.

Our Editor’s Pick
WEN 3421 3.2-Amp 8

WEN 3421 3.2-Amp 8″ by 12″ Variable Speed Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe

  • Its 3.2-Amp motor along with variable speed
  • Features a 2.3-Inch face plate and two interchangeable tool
  • 3.2-Amp motor provides over 50% more power
  • Perfect for pens, bowls, cups, chess pieces

How Big Of A Wood Lathe Do You Need?

The size of the swing of the wood lathe will rely on the use of your workpieces. For a mini-size wood lathe, the ideal size should be 10 inches of swing. This size would be fine for doing some mini woodturning tasks. However, when you want to work with a larger project, at least, you should go for 16 inches of swing. In addition, you can get swings of 40 inches or more and you can pick them if you need them. To conclude, the size completely relies on your need.

How We Reviewed?

The success of your woodturning project relies on the wood lathe you purchase. For that, finding some wood lathes for reviewing becomes more crucial. Our hard-working expert review team has done the work for you. They have gone through some good wood lathes by considering the ratings, top sellers, and reviews from buyers of amazon.

Power, swing size, and speed variation were the key points. They have furthermore considered the digital functions, control system, and transition as well. By considering all those, our expert review team has brought these 9 wood lathes.

1 Min Quick Summary Best Wood Lathe For Beginners

Table of Content:

A properly-organized table can ensure proper navigation of the content. So, perceive and navigate through the content by following the table below.

Comparison Chart:

Comparing some good wood lathes for beginners will assist you to pick the most suitable one. So consider looking at the chart below.

Image Product Features Price
Best for convenience

RIKON 70

RIKON 70
  • Manufacturer: Rikon
  • Weight: 88.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 33.75 x 18 x 11.5 inches
  • Batteries Included: No
  • Batteries Required: No
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Best for safety

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3
  • Manufacturer: Shop Fox
  • Weight: 48.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7.1 x 27.9 x 13.7 inches
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Horsepower: 0.33 hp
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Best for customization

Powermatic 3520C 35

Powermatic 3520C 35″x20″ Lathe
  • Manufacturer: Powermatic
  • Weight :726 pounds
  • Dimensions: 69.5 x 36.5 x 47 inches
  • Style:Lathe with Risers
  • Voltage: 220 Volts
  • Horsepower: 2
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Best for versatile use

JET JWL-1221VS 12

JET JWL-1221VS 12″x21″
  • VERSATILITY: 24 integrated indexing positions.
  • CONVENIENCE: Easy-to-reach controls and DRO.
  • OPTIMAL SPEED: Choose from 60 to 3,600 RPM.
  • INNOVATION: Ratchet-style belt tension system (patent pending).
  • ON-BOARD STORAGE: Two handy tool caddies.
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Best for mid-range work

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch
  • Manufacturer: Delta
  • Weight: 97 pounds
  • Dimensions: 36 x 11 x 17.75 inches
  • Color: Gray
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
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Editor’s pick

WEN 3421 3.2-Amp 8

WEN 3421 3.2-Amp 8″ by 12″
  • Manufacturer: WEN
  • Weight: 44.7 pounds
  • Dimensions: 28.1 x 13.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Style: 3.2-Amp Lathe
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Best user-friendly design

JET JWL-1015VS 10

JET JWL-1015VS 10″x15″
  • Manufacturer: JET
  • Weight: 72.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: 26 x 7 x 14 inches
  • Style: Variable Speed Wood Working Lathe
  • Voltage:115 Volts
  • Horsepower: 0.5
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Best for efficiency

Laguna Tools Revo Lathe

Laguna Tools Revo Lathe
  • Manufacturer: Laguna Tools
  • Weight: 441 pounds
  • Dimensions: 40 x 36 x 50 inches
  • Size: 220 volt
  • Style: 18″/36″
  • Horsepower: 2.00
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Best for accuracy

PSI Woodworking KWL

PSI Woodworking KWL
  • Manufacturer:PSI Woodworking Products
  • Weight:106 pounds
  • Dimensions:32 x 11 x 10 inches
  • Size:12″
  • Style:VARIABLE SPEED
  • Material:pCast iron
  • Voltage:110 Volts
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9 Best Wood Lathe For Beginners Reviews 2021

The wood lathe market is getting evolved as many people start taking advantage of it. Lots of brands and models are coming into the market. Finding the best wood lathe for beginners becomes tougher and tougher. So, check out the experts’ suggestions for the wood lathes to get your desired one.

Best Wood Lathe For Beginners

1. Best for versatile use – JET JWL-1221VS Variable Wood Lathe

JET JWL-1221VS 12

Our search for the best beginner wood lathe starts with the JET JWL wood lathe. It comes with 24 integrated indexing positions. You can lock the wood to versatile positions and do versatile jobs for these multiple positions. With its advanced and high-power 1 HP motor, you can get a high power to get your job done.

In addition, you will have speed control to get an optimal speed from 60 to 3,600 rpm. It will help you achieve precision in the work. You will get acme thread in your machine’s tailstock. It works better than the traditional v shape thread. Consequently, you can enjoy better load carrying and power transmission. Moreover, its both forward and reverse transition makes your work smoother.

For an even better forward-reverse transition, it offers you the ratchet-style belt tension. The easy-to-reach controls will let you control the functions with ease. Apart from that, its spring-loaded spindle lock ensures better locking to prevent any accidents. Finally, the two handy tool caddies offer more convenience to bring some amazing turning projects.

JET JWL-1221VS Technical Details:

  • Weight: 121 pounds
  • Dimensions: 33.6 x 11 x 35.8 inches
  • Color: White
  • Style: Variable Speed Wood Lathe
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Horsepower: 1
  • Number of Handles: 6
  • Speed: 3600 RPM

Features of JET JWL-1221VS:

  • It offers versatility turning projects for its 24 integrated indexing positions.
  • You can get enough power and speed control for its 1 HP motor ranges speed from 60 to 3,600 rpm.
  • Its ratchet-style belt tension delivers smooth forward and reverses function.
  • The spring-loaded spindle lock enables you to get a tight lock to prevent accidents.
  • Its acme thread in the tailstock ensures a smooth and controlled speed transition.
Pros
  • High power with speed control
  • Versatile working capability
  • Smooth forward and reverse function
  • Tight spindle lock
  • Easy to use control

Cons
  • The speed is limited to 3600 RPM

2. Best for mid-range work – Delta Industrial 46-460 Variable Midi Lathe

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe

Another good lathe- comes with a powerful 1 HP motor that can generate speed up to 1,725 rpm. With this speed, you can conveniently do small to mid-level turning projects. It also enables you to slow it down to 250 RPM to ensure better accuracy.

The 3 levels of speed ranges can help you adjust the speed to achieve the required speed without changing its belt options. Also, it reduces vibration and delivers additional stability to work. With the patented belt design, the belt gets adjusted automatically when changing the speed.

In addition, you will have a forward-reverse function that can help you achieve a superior finish every time. Getting these types of finishings with the sander is tough. Besides, the 12-1/2-inch swing size allows you to work with the maximum size. The cast iron construction will handle more pressure and provide additional durability.

Delta Industrial 46-460 Technical Details:

  • Weight: 97 pounds
  • Dimensions: 36 x 11 x 17.75 inches
  • Color: Gray
  • Style: Variable Speed Wood Lathe
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Horsepower: 1
  • Speed: 1,725 rpm

Features of Delta Industrial 46-460:

  • You can get a maximum of 1,725 rpm motor speed to work efficiently with the Powerful 1 HP motor.
  • The lathe enables you to adjust the speed with its three-pulley speed ranges to get the required speed.
  • It offers a 12-1/2-inch swing capacity that ensures the maximum capacity in the mid-range lathe.
  • You can achieve a superior finish with its forward and reversing function.
  • The cast-Iron construction offers more strength and stability and prolongs durability.
Pros
  • Reverse and forward function
  • Delivers superior finish
  • Durable cast iron construction
  • Variable speed control
  • Ensures accuracy all the time

Cons
  • Not suitable for large woodturning projects

3. Editor’s pick – WEN 3421 3.2-Amp  Benchtop Wood Lathe

WEN 3421 3.2-Amp 8

When your main concern is to get the best wood lathe for beginners, consider this one from WEN. It comes with a 3.2-Amp motor that can deliver more than 50% power compared to most 8-inch lathes. As a consequence, you can smoothly get your turning project done. Besides, it enables you to control the speed from 750 to 3200 RPM.

This variable speed allows you to do variable woodturning tasks with this single lathe. Besides, the MT1 spindle along with the tailstock taper provides a strong grip all the time. You will have a 2.3-inch faceplate with tool rests. All these functions add more versatility to the tool.

With its easy-to-use Lever clamping, you can adjust the tool rests and spindle comfortably. The cast-iron frame offers more stability and longevity. To conclude, this WEN lather is a perfect option for workpieces 12 inches by 8 inches. You can make pens, bowls, and other small workpieces with this model.

WEN 3421 3.2-Amp Technical Details:

  • Weight: 44.7 pounds
  • Dimensions: 28.1 x 13.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Color: Black
  • Style: 3.2-Amp Lathe
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Horsepower: 1/3 HP
  • Speed: 3200 RPM

Features of WEN 3421 3.2-Amp:

  • The lathe can work with the workpieces with a max dimension of 12 inches by 8 inches.
  • Its 3.2-Amp motor along with variable speed provides accuracy and more power than traditional lathes.
  • You will have a better grip due to its MT1 spindle and tailstock taper.
  • The 2.3-inch faceplate and two interchangeable tool rest add more versatility to the lathe.
  • Made from cast iron- the lathe frame offers more durability and stability.
Pros
  • Durable and sturdy frame
  • Better gripping
  • Versatile work
  • Variable speed control
  • Large and wide
Cons
  • The motor horsepower is only 1/3 HP.

4. Best user friendly design – JET JWL-1015VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe

JET JWL-1015VS 10

Wondering HOW TO USE A WOOD LATHE FOR BEGINNERS? Well, pick a beginner-friendly like JET JWL. Comes with a user-friendly design, the JET JWL wood lathe is an excellent wood lathe for beginners. It features a ½ HP motor that can generate up to 3600 RPM speed. The power is suitable to work with sturdy workpieces. Also, it enables you to adjust the speed from 200 to 3600 RPM.

As a consequence, doing turning with different workpieces becomes easier. With its 15-1/2″ swing length, it enables you to use almost all medium-range workpieces. In addition, the integrated 24-position indexing helps you lock the workpieces in different positions.

So that you can do versatile turning projects. Moreover, the easy-to-access belt system provides a smooth speed transition. Other than that, its wider bed ways can deliver additional rigidity when working with the pieces. So overall, this one is designed to keep the newbie turner in mind. It will help them achieve better accuracy and convenient working with this.

JET JWL-1015VS Technical Details:

  • Weight: 72.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: 26 x 7 x 14 inches
  • Color: White
  • Style: Variable Speed Wood Lathe
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Horsepower: 0.5
  • Number of Handles: 2
  • Speed: 3600 RPM

Features of JET JWL-1015VS:

  • The 15-1/2″ swing length allows you to work with the small to medium workpieces.
  • Its three-speed ranges let you achieve precise speed and ensure accuracy all the time.
  • You can lock the workpieces in 24 different positions that deliver versatility.
  • The wider bed ways will provide more rigidity to handle more pressure while working.
  • You can easily use the lathe for its user-friendly design.
Pros
  • Wide and long length
  • Variable speed ranges
  • Versatile locking positions
  • Wider bed
  • User-friendly design
Cons
  • Only ½ HP motor

5. Best for efficiency – Laguna Tools Revo Lathe

Laguna Tools Revo Lathe

The Laguna Revo lathe is another great wood lathe for beginners. It features a 2HP powerful induction motor that can generate up to 1725 RPM speed. It enables you to work with tough workpieces. Also, its 2-speed setting enables you to operate the machine at either high or low speed.

Besides, the Delta S1 variable frequency drive can turn 1 Phase input into 3 possible outputs. Consequently, you can achieve better working efficiency. With its spring-loaded spindle lock, you can get a smooth and safe working space. In addition, its 32″ swing enables you to use workpieces with different lengths.

The emergency stop button allows you to lock in an OFF position when the machine is fully depressed. Moreover, you will have a forward/reverse function so that you can get your desired finish. Apart from that, its speed display will show you the RPM to acquire better accuracy. Its legs are cast iron and adjustable that prolongs the durability and makes it suitable for uneven surfaces.

Laguna Revo Lathe Technical Details:

  • Weight: 441 pounds
  • Dimensions: 40 x 36 x 50 inches
  • Color: Black
  • Style: 18″/36″
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Voltage: 220v
  • Horsepower: 2
  • Speed: 1725 RPM

Features of Laguna Revo Lathe :

  • The motor offers 2HP power to generate up to 1725 RPM speed for the best working experience.
  • You can adjust the speed to high or low with its speed knob that ensures versatility in work.
  • The Delta S1 variable frequency drive increases the efficiency by turning the 1 Phase input to 3.
  • You can enjoy safety for its spring-loaded spindle lock and a maximum swing length of 32″.
  • The adjustable legs are made of cast iron that delivers additional durability.
Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Powerful induction motor
  • Higher efficiency
  • Longer swing length
  • Spring-loaded lock for safety

Cons
  • Only 2-speed ranges

6. Best for Accuracy – PSI KWL-1218VS Variable Midi Lathe

PSI Woodworking KWL

The lathe work for beginners becomes easier when you have a reliable wood lathe. For that, consider the KWL-1218VS that comes with 1 HP motor with variable speeds. It enables you to work with tough to simple workpieces. You can even achieve top-notch accuracy in work with speed settings.

Besides, its digital readout will help you know the speed and adjust accordingly. With the 12″ swing space, it allows you to do all the small to medium turning projects. In addition, the Headstock/Tailstock will help you achieve a better grip.

You will get a cast iron base that provides additional stability and durability. Apart from that, the 24 indexing positions lock your workpieces with different positions. As a consequence, you can do versatile turning projects. Also, the spindle locking provides additional safety in locking. The Convenient built-in handle makes your job smoother and easier as well.

PSI KWL-1218VS Technical Details:

  • Weight: 106 pounds
  • Dimensions: 32 x 11 x 10 inches
  • Color: White
  • Style: Variable Speed Wood Lathe
  • Voltage: 110 Volts
  • Horsepower: 1
  • Speed: 3800 RPM

Features of KWL-1218VS:

  • The wood lathe is listed and certified by the famous organization Intertek that ensures quality.
  • Its powerful 1hp induction motor offers a variable speed that ensures accuracy and versatility.
  • You can certainly expect a long and durable lifespan from this lathe for its cast-iron base.
  • It offers 24 indexing positions that help you lock the workpieces in different positions.
  • You will have a digital readout that allows you to see the speed and adjust it accordingly.
Pros
  • Certified quality
  • Powerful induction motor
  • Different locking positions
  • Digital readout for precision
  • Durable construction

Cons
  • Only 2-speed ranges

7. Best for Convenience – RIKON 70 Mini Lathe

RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe

You need a specially designed wood turning lathe for beginners when starting turning projects at first. The Rikon 70 mini lathe is such a beginner-friendly wood lathe that you can consider. It comes with ample room that allows you to change the speeds comfortably and quickly. Besides, it offers variable speeds so that you can achieve the required speed to meet your needs.

In addition, the self-ejecting tailstock will eradicate the need for using the knockout bar to remove its center. You can even add multiple extensions if necessary to get your turning projects done. The 1/2HP motor provides decent power to work with the workpieces.

Moreover, its 12-position index allows you to lock your different workpieces in different positions. It makes sure that you do versatile works. Additionally, you can easily carry and move it for its flip-up handle. The spindle lock adds additional safety to your works as well.

RIKON 70 Technical Details:

  • Weight: 88.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 33.75 x 18 x 11.5 inches
  • Color: White and blue
  • Voltage: 110 Volts
  • Horsepower: 1/2HP

Features of RIKON 70 :

  • The ample room allows you to change the speed setting quickly and smoothly.
  • Its self-ejecting tailstock allows you to remove the center without using the knock-out bar.
  • You can add multiple extensions when necessary to complete the tasks without any hassle.
  • The 1/2HP motor with variable speed allows you to get accurate speed to meet your demands.
  • Its 12-position index head lets you lock your workpieces for different positions.
Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Variable speed
  • Easy speed changes
  • Different locking positions
  • Allows extension adding

Cons
  • Less powerful motor

8. Best for Safety – FOX W1704 Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

Features 1/3 HP motor, the SHOP Fox lathe comes with some amazing functionalities to get your job done. It has a motor that offers a variable speed between 700 RPM and 3,200 RPM. This speed setting allows you to work with more precision and with more versatile workpieces.

Besides, the distance between the centers is 12-inch. That means you can get all types of small to medium-turning projects done. Moreover, the 8-inch swing over the bed allows you to do works with different-sized workpieces. To make your work safer, the lathe even features a safety paddle switch.

With its cast iron construction, it will handle pressure load and prolongs durability. You will even find two tool rests that deliver additional support to other devices while working. To conclude, the SHOP FOX wood lathe enables you to work with different projects with easy use design. Any beginner will find it simple and convenient to use.

FOX W1704 Technical Details:

  • Weight: 48.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7.1 x 27.9 x 13.7 inches
  • Color: White
  • Style: Variable Speed Wood Lathe
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Voltage: 110 Volts
  • Horsepower: 1/3

Features of  FOX W1704:

  • The 1/3 HP motor comes with a speed range of 700 – 3,200 RPM to ensure precision.
  • Its 12-inch distance between centers and 8-inch swing over bed size delivers versatility in work.
  • You can expect superior durability and stability for its cast iron construction.
  • Its two tool rests add additional convenience to your turning projects.
  • The safety paddle switch offers additional safety to work without any tension.
Pros
  • Infinity speed control
  • Versatile turning work
  • Stable and durable construction
  • Safety paddle switch
  • Additional convenience

Cons
  • Only 1/3 HP motor

9. Best for Customization – Powermatic 3520C Lathe with Risers

Our search for the best lathe for beginners ends with the Powermatic wood lathe. It comes with a simple and precise design to work smoothly for beginners. You will get a 2 HP powerful motor with a speed adjustment. Also, the headstock features a digital readout that allows you to see the speed and control the speed to meet your requirements.

Besides, it enables you to position the magnetic-backed box where you need it for personalized projects. You can even control its height a maximum of four inches for more customization. The self-ejecting, laser-etched quill reduces the hassle of removing the center. With its fully-enclosed VFD, the machine enhances the safety of your work.

You can ensure a better tool rest placement for its non-marring, pinch-style clamp. In addition, the extended spindle nose enhances access for more convenience. By using the tailstock incorporated with the anti-rotation key, you can enjoy a smooth speed transition.

Powermatic 3520C Technical Details:

  • Weight: 726 pounds
  • Dimensions: 69.5 x 36.5 x 47 inches
  • Color: yellow
  • Style: Lathe with Risers
  • Voltage: 220 Volts
  • Horsepower: 2

Features of Powermatic 3520C:

  • You will have a digital readout in the headstock for easy reading and adjusting.
  • It enables you to customize the setting and height for more precision and personalization.
  • You can enjoy easy center removal for its self-ejecting and laser-etched quill.
  • The fully-enclosed vfd enhances the safety of your work.
  • You can ensure a solid tool rest placement for the non-marring, pinch-style clamp.
Pros
  • Higher customization
  • Superior safety
  • Comfortable to use
  • Solid tool rest placement
  • Digital readout for convenient

Cons
  • Tool rests are soft

Things To Consider Before Buying The Best Wood Lathe For Beginners

Buying The Best Wood Lathe For Beginners

For beginners, finding the best wood lathe for beginners is not child play. It takes knowledge, time, and effort even after when you have experts’ reviews. So check this beginner’s guide out from the experts.

 Motor power:

The first thing to consider is the motor power. You can work with versatile workpieces if the motor speed allows you to. Certainly, not all wooden materials come with the same composition. For tough composition, having high power is really essential.

Speed adjustment:

However, when you have softer composition, high speed may damage your projects. In that case, having a wood lathe with variable speed can work better. You can adjust the speed with it to work with softer woods. But be careful with the speed setting since many wood lathes feature only 2-speed control. Instead, look for the infinity speed control.

Swing length:

The swing length determines how long workpieces you can work with. That means for larger turning projects, you need a longer swing length. The same is suitable for the small and medium swing length. In that case, determine what type of woodturning projects you are going to do and choose the length accordingly.

Locking positions:

For versatile woodturning projects, locking the workpieces in different positions is mandatory. For that, you need a wood lathe that offers versatile locking positions. So consider purchasing a lathe with more than 20 locking positions.

Safety:

Working with safety should be the main priority. For that, having a wood lathe with proper safety features can help you a lot. In that case, make sure you have a spring-loaded lock in your wood lathe. Also, consider having the safety paddle switch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Having some questions related to wood lathes after reading this review is common. Check out the query section below.

Are wood lathes dangerous?

The wood lathe spins the wood very fast that can injure people for sure. Even it can lead to some serious injuries or even death.

Is wood turning difficult?

Woodturning seems to be difficult at first since it takes precision and accuracy. However, with time, woodturning becomes easier.

Can you turn a wood lathe into a metal lathe?

If you purchase a metal lathe for woodturning, you can use it for basic metal tasks. However, that won’t be anything like professional.

What is the easiest wood to turn?

The maple or Poplar is soft enough that makes the woods safer and easier to turn. So at first, start working with these woods to achieve better skills.

Can you make money woodturning?

Yes, the demand for woodturning is getting more popular every day. If you can be a master of it, you can make enough money from it for sure.

Final Verdict

The best wood lathe for beginners can help the beginners to turn wood and make some amazing crafts. As a beginner, you should always look for a beginner-friendly design that can help you get used to it. Also, it ensures smooth operation and less risk. So make sure you purchase the right one to meet your needs. Our expert review team has portrayed some good wood lathes with their bads and goods.

You now know all their key features, specifications, and other information required. In our opinion, the WEN wood lathe will be a perfect option to pick from. It offers a 3.2-Amp motor with a speed control from 750 to 3200 RPM. Also, you will have the MT1 spindle along with the tailstock taper for a strong grip. Moreover, the sturdy frame and 12 inches swing will help you make pens, bowls, and other workpieces.

Author - Lee Morris

Hi, I am Lee Morris, I have run a power tools business for woodworking. Where I sell mostly wood router, compact router, trim router, plunge router, wood lathe chuck, and many other power tools for woodworking.

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