June 7, 2020

Shop Fox W1866 Bowl Turning Lathe Review

Are you looking for the best tools for bowl turning? The Shop Fox W1866 is an interesting pick. A lathe is an obvious tool that you will need, but choosing one can be overwhelming with the various available options and the different pricing models. 

It can get confusing to know which is which and what is best. You want to make sure that you get a machine that provides you with all the necessary features to carve out your bowls according to your specifications. 

Shop Fox W1866

It is quite easy to get attached to your tools. The Shop Fox w1866 24 inches by 36-inch bowl-turning lathe has many great qualities going for it. The machine is made of cast iron, and this also makes it very sturdy and stable, a well sought after feature in any wood carving machines, including a bowl turning lathe. 

With this lathe, you can make bowls with a diameter of 24 inches. It is important to know the swing that the lathe offers to know what size bowls you can make with it. The headstock on this lathe slides along the bed, which will let you turn much larger bowls. 

To do this, you will need to use a tool rest that you would need to buy separately. The W1866 has a 3 phase motor and inverter, which operates on single-phase power. It also has a 36-inch spindle turning capacity. Let’s take a look at what this lathe can o for you and what you should expect. 


It has a very sturdy outlook, as the entire tool is made of cast iron. It weighs a staggering 700 pounds, and the bed, frame stand, and base are all made of cast iron. The machine sits on a sturdy black stand, whilst the machine itself is white. The on and off switches are visible and marked in red and green. 

The headstock has a clamping system that secures it to the lathe bed. The good thing is that the headstock can be positioned anywhere along the lathe bed. You will need to make sure that you secure it properly.

Performance Review

This lathe is a powerful tool for making bowls of varying sizes. It has loads of features that make your job much easier and more precise. There are different features on this lathe that make it such a great buy. The W1866 has a lathe bed, a tailstock, and a headstock, amongst other features. 

It is important to make sure that all these features work in tandem. Both the tailstock and the headstock have to be adjusted accordingly and fastened properly to the lathe bed. 

This is a sturdy lathe that offers smooth workflow and hence a beautifully crafted bowl. Bowl turning requires a steady hand and a smooth machine, and this lathe gives you that. It can help you carve out great quality bowls, thanks to the 3 horsepower, 3 phase 220 volt motor. 

It also has a 24-inch swing over the bed and 36 inches between the centers. The lathe swing is one of the most important things to consider that can greatly influence performance. It refers to the height of the main spindle above the bed. 

This determines the diameter of the bowl that you can turn (unless the head rotates). Anything above 9 inches will help you work better. The spindle speeds vary from 60 RPM to 1200RPM on the low setting. Then from 120 RPM to 2300 RPM on the high setting. This is a lathe that you will not regret having in your workshop. 

This lathe stands on the floor, and that is something that most professional woodworkers prefer. If you will be doing heavy-duty woodworking, having a sturdy lathe is a great advantage. Bowl turning, in particular, needs a sturdy surface, and placing it on the floor is a great place to start.


Safety should always come first when you are working with precision machinery like the w1866 lathe. Make sure to wear protective clothing, but it should not be loose. Loose clothing can get caught in the machine as you work, so the manufacturer advises against it. 

Before you power on the machine, make sure that everything is adjusted properly and is in place. Do not, under any circumstance, switch on the machine before everything is in place. Also, be careful not to make any adjustments when it is on, as it can be dangerous.

Make sure to read the manual properly before you use the machine. That way, you know what to avoid and how to get the best out of the machine. The other reason why it is always a good idea to read the manual is to know what power the machine has and so that you do not push it past its capacity.

Before you start the machine up, it is important to make sure there are no tools left on the machinery to become dangerous projectiles. This means that you need to clear it of any keys, wrenches, or other loose tools. 

This is a relatively safe machine, but it is always important to ensure that you follow the instructions, such as maintaining a comfortable, safe position when working and avoiding slipping or possibly hurting yourself. 

Who is this product ideal for?

Wrongful use can cause injury to the person using it and also damage to the machine. This is why it is important to make sure that you have the necessary training and skill to operate it. 


  • It has a powerful motor
  • It is smooth
  • It is stable
  • It is sturdy
  • The headstock can be positioned anywhere along the bed.
  • The construction is durable, as it is made of cast iron.


  • It is not as portable as the bench versions.

Our Verdict

The shop fox w1866 is a sturdy lathe that can give you the precision required when making bowls. It has good capacity and a powerful motor. Happy shopping! We think it is a good buy. View our Shop Fox W1852 review.

David D. Hughes
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