I have been turning with my General 4 speed 160-1 for about 8 months and
thought I might take a few moments to write up a review. Being a recent
turning convert and well schooled by Bill Grumbine and Tom Trager I have had
fun making bowls, plates, pens and the such. I envisioned this tool as being
able to produce legs and columns to support my flat furniture designs and
As some of you may know General is a Canadian company located in Drummondville
Quebec. I also confess to being a General fan and own their 350 Cabinet Saw
and 15" Bandsaw. I purchased my lathe used, it was formerly used in a
high school wood shop and had been purchased by the person I bought the lathe
from. At first look it is a very stable looking machine, 38 1/2" between
centers, 12" swing, #2 MT in both the head and tailstock, total weight
about 300 lbs. The lathe came equipped with a 1 HP Lesson motor that is currently
wired for 110Volts. Aside from my misadventures with a stuck Nova Chuck (Left
= Loose, Right = Tight) the lathe has been a pleasure to use and learn on,
I can't imagine needing "more" lathe for my wood working application
but would not want less.
The tailstock is heavy and robust in design, travel on the spindle is 2". I
have a live center mounted in it but can easily insert my 5/8-drill chuck for
drill work. It travels easily on the bed and stays firmly put when clamped in
The Banjo and assorted tool rests are all of heavy cast construction and easy
to position and use. I have a 4" and 6" straight tool rest along with a 90
degree tool rest.
The headstock has a 1"-8 tpi thread spindle and with a 5 /8" diameter hole
making it simple to buy chucks and tools for. The outboard wheel also comes
off the spindle enabling outboard turning if you feel the need for bigger
I have been able to determine that my speeds from the pulley diameters are
850, 1 375, 21 60 and 3500 RPM.
The bed is all cast, heavy and machined to a very clean finish. It's mounted
to a steel base that is welded to shape. The only thing that I find a bother
is switching the belt from pulley to pulley to change speeds, it's the way it
is and the variable speed would be nice.
I have a Del Stubbs video where he uses a General 160-2, he uses a clutch he
made that enables him to stop and vary the speed with out turning off the
lathe or adjusting the belt to a new speed. I have also seen Raffan use this
same lathe is his videos.
I had the bearings replaced recently as the machine has seen heavy school use
and the date of manufacture is 1982.
In conclusion I find it to be an excellent lathe for most wood working
projects, more serious turners would be limited by some of it's function but
for my needs it fits well into my applications.