Alright folks... I didn't want to hijack another thread I was on since while similar, the criteria is not quite the same. I'm in the market for a first lathe to turn brush handles (not bowls, not pens, not chess pieces, ice cream scoops, bottle toppers, etc (sorry about getting carried away there). I want to keep the cost down but not buy something that should I enjoy doing this will need to replaced this year. After looking at Harbor Freight, Excelsior, Rikon, Grizzly, and Delta (I think there was one more), I landed on this one. Here's why (PLEASE feel free to correct me with experienced advice). Cost: Sub $300 Multi vs. Variable: I can learn with multi. The cost was an extra $150 for the variable. They also sell a kit to turn it into a variable for $150. If I don't like it, I can sell it and lose minimal $$$. Specs: Motor is 3/5 hp vs 1/2 on all but the Delta for similar size. Headstock is 1" X 8 tpi (very common). Tailstock is #2 MT (also common). Swing is 10" (pretty standard). The bed is 18" BUT it is expandable (I might imagine that if I needed to go too much further that 18" center to center, the lathe might not be the right one.) Talk me off the ledge folks!