Lathe Review - First Impressions of a Oneway 2436-3hp

Oneway's 2436-3 Lathe


This article was originally published in 1999 and represents my initial thoughts on my Oneway 2436 purchase. Since I have been using this beast for the last several years, a follow-up lathe review is in order and will be posted soon. For those turners who are considering a Oneway, this review should help you to narrow your choices.

Unpacking the Lathe

In my production turning studio, time is a very precious asset. The ability to complete the same quality of work in less time is a constant objective. Woodfast's 910V lathe had served me well for several years. However, its one and a half horsepower motor would stall with very aggressive cuts. After an extensive review of the best production lathes that were available, I purchased a Oneway 2436 lathe with a seventeen-inch bed extension from Craft Supplies in Provo, Utah.

One of the ways production turners save significant amounts of time is by taking very aggressive cuts at times. This requires a well built solid lathe and a high torque motor. When I initially ordered my lathe, I asked if it could be fitted with a five horsepower motor. Kevin at Oneway chuckled and said "NO". We Texans like things big so, I optioned the largest motor offered at the time, a three horsepower Baldor motor.

On April 07, 1999, the lathe arrived at my studio and I immediately began the assembly process. The lathe arrived partially assembled in a 7/16ths O.S.B. plywood crate. The crate carried several warning stickers on the sides and top advising caution due to the top-heavy load. Upright framing members consisted of two by two's attached with long staples through the plywood walls. The bottom of the crate was composed of two by four's, doubled up into a supporting frame with a sheet of the O.S.B. plywood on the top.

The lathe ships partially assembled with the main body section attached to the legs. This makes the crate much lower than if it were fully assembled and easier to get off the freight truck. Bolts secure the headstock, tailstock and the supplemental bed extension to the bottom of the crate floor. All of the components arrived without shipping damage. Oneway applies an anti-rust spray to the bed and covers it with thin plastic strips for further protection. Some tiny rust spots were located on a section of the bed where the anti-rust spray had missed. A little WD-40™ and steel wool quickly removed these light surface rust spots.

Lathe Review - Assembly

Assembly instructions and owner manuals were stowed inside the tubular bed. Instructions were clear and precise with very good quality illustrations. A large spray can of touch-up paint was included to repair any shipping or subsequent assembly scratches. There were no missing parts or screws. All alignment measurements were within one thousandth of an inch of perfect in all parameters. Other Oneway owners had indicated to me that the lathe arrives without a power plug. However, my lathe arrived with a factory-supplied wall plug attached.

Lathe Review - The Oneway 2436 in Use

Since I turn bowls, platters, hollow forms and small gift items, my lathe has to be quickly adaptable to a variety of turning tasks. Using the seventeen-inch extension on the outboard side, I can move from bowl/platter turning to spindle/hollow form turning on the inbound side in a few seconds. Chucks, spurs, mandrels etc, can stay mounted on/in the spindle longer reducing mounting and dismounting time. The moveable control arm is particularly useful and I found that I became accustomed to it very quickly.

A significant part of my studios artistic output is bowls. Because of this, the McNaughton Bowl Saver system is used virtually every day. The McNaughton system performs best with heavy-duty lathes and high output motors. The Oneway 2436-3 lathe has allowed significant increases in bowl coring speed using the same R.P.M. and belt setting as my previous lathe. Depending on the timber species, I have achieved improvements in coring speed of 50% or more. The abundant torque allows it to power through the cut at times that would stop other lathes. A few stops here and there may not sound like much, unless you have a hundred bowl blanks to turn and core out!

Additionally, I have been able to take significantly more aggressive gouge cuts during the rough out phase. With the largest and thickest shaving the Irish ground bowl gouge offers, the three horse Baldor motor has never stalled. I have also found that I can leave the belt on the middle or high range for most of my work without having to change to the low belt setting. Only the largest and heaviest pieces have required me to use the low belt setting. This saves adjustment time, as well as offering higher speed with ample torque still readily available. Since most production turners do not like to stop, even for a few seconds unless absolutely necessary this offers an important advantage.

Lathe Review - Ergonomics

The ultra smooth lathe bed surface and mating surfaces of the tailstock and banjo make it very easy to move these items up and down the lathe bed. The tailstock is quite heavy however; it glides very easily over the lathe bed. I have had bowls and other items on the lathe up to the maximum swing of twenty-four inches. Some of these have been very unbalanced, yet the Oneway was able to handle the load without a whimper. I am constantly amazed at the lack of vibration this lathe offers and the ability to handle larger unbalanced stock with ease.

The unique locking feature of the tailstock securely tightens it to the lathe bed and forever ends the slippage problems sometimes encountered by other designs. Measurements are etched onto the spindle and save a great amount of time when boring to specific depths repeatedly. Operational dials and buttons are clearly labeled and easy to use. I ordered the optional remote control unit that has a magnetic plate on the back that allows you to locate it in the most desirable place during turning. This is a very useful accessory and I use it quite often.

Over the past few months, I have turned a few thousand pounds of Pecan. This Pecan came from three to four foot diameter trunks and was the hardest Pecan I have ever turned. I renamed it "Pecancrete," as it reminded me of Pecan colored concrete. However, I was still able to take aggressive roughing cuts without stalling the motor, even on 20-24" bowl blanks. The Oneway 2436 performed flawlessly and did not even break a sweat. My studio has about 5,000 pounds of Mesquite waiting to be turned. It will be a pure pleasure to turn and in record time no doubt. The 2436 and the three horsepower Baldor motor are a production turner's dream come true!

Lathe Review - Conclusions

Since I purchased the Oneway 2436-3, I have decided to purchase the optional outboard turning assembly. The addition of this accessory makes it the best all around lathe value of any on the market today, in my opinion. The Oneway 2436-3 lathe exudes the kind of superior quality construction and attention to detail as I find on my Mercedes-Benz automobiles. The overall performance improvement in my studio using the 2436-3 has been simply incredible.

My grandfather always said, "If you're going to be a bear, be a Grizzly!" The 2436-3 is a big, bad Grizzly bear and continues to impress me with its power and excellent design features. Features like the extended spindle length, different leg height availability, overall ergonomic design, sliding ease of accessories and the moveable control arm are very important to a turner who works at the lathe all day.

Oneway manufacturing continues to lead the way in superior lathe design and innovative products for turners. Every day I go into the studio and see that Canadian Grizzly bear, I am glad I decided to purchase it. Few things or products in life engender such a positive response.

Lathe Review - Updated Review

Note: A follow-up lathe review article will be posted very soon, so check back for the latest update. This supplemental lathe review article will detail my experiences with this lathe over the last ten years. If you have any questions about this lathe review or other tool reviews on this site, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Safety Note: Always follow all manufacturers safety instructions before working with your lathe, or any of the tools or products you may use. If you are unsure about any operation, obtain competent professional instruction before proceeding. Use and wear all necessary safety devices during turning and observe safe woodturning practices to prevent accident or injury.

Steven D. Russell is a professional studio woodturner, teacher and writer. He has written numerous articles for international woodturning magazines, which have been published in more than 78 countries around the world. Steve has demonstrated in numerous cities across the United States. His studio, Eurowood Werks, specializes in bowls, platters and hollow forms with unique visual and tactile treatments.

Steve is also the current and founding President of the Lone Star Woodturners Association, Inc., an AAW member chapter. The LSWA is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization dedicated to teaching and demonstrating the art and craft of woodturning.

Steve is also a featured writer for the Guild of Master Craftsman's "Woodturning" magazine, published in London England. Woodturning magazine is the world's leading magazine for woodturners. Look for his articles covering technical topics, or project based articles in an upcoming issue.