Shop Fox W1704 1-3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe

In-Depth Review: Shop Fox W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe



Starting into the world of woodturning will require a reliable start-up wood lathe that is efficiently designed for intricate small-scale projects. SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe is a great choice for me because of its compact and sturdy construction and a variable spindle speed that allows me a variety of small projects tackling on either soft or hard species of woods.

It comes with other adjustable features, which we will provide you in this review. It further aims to help you make a sound decision in choosing for the best bench top wood lathe for your woodturning needs.

We Like

  • Variable spindle speed
  • Ideal for turning pens and other small-scale projects
  • Durable and stable structure
  • Versatile features

We Don’t Like

  • Limited for turning small tasks only
  • It does not include a hand wheel


I have just gotten myself into woodworking and so far, I have been enjoying the job. I started working pens, bowls and wine bottle stoppers, and now moving into making vases, pots, and candle holders. Hopefully, very soon, I’ll be able to master doing projects like this so I can move on into doing bigger and more complicated tasks.

It is not an easy job, I must say. You have to be very careful with shaping every intricate detail. But as I am honing my manual woodturning skills, I am in the process enhancing my creativity.

My job has been smooth sailing, thanks to the benchtop lathe that I purchased upon several recommendations. It isn’t just any lathe, though, as I have the SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Bench Top Lathe. Although, I haven’t started this craft long enough to try other lathes, but for novice wood turner like me, its variable speed and versatile features are perfect for small intricate projects that use any density of wood material. The size may also come in handy as it makes it convenient to store and maintain.

Who Is It For?

This bench top wood lathe is specially designed to cater our needs for a specialized wood turner for small-scale jobs and tasks. Those who are starting to learn and doing DIY projects may opt for this particular model as it has just the right power to carry out small to medium jobs, yet at the same time has variable spindle speed and versatile features to deal with soft or hard materials.

This is a great initial wood lathe for starting small before finding your way with heavy duty and complicated tasks. It is small, easy to operate and can fit to any workbench. Jump-starting to large and highly-powered wood lathe may cause confusion and difficulty in operation and maneuver. Woodturning is a skill that needs hands-on preparatory practice with small projects before venturing to large-scale jobs.

Professionals may still be able to use this for jobs that will require small intricate details. This is great for turning, cutting and shaping pens, bowls, and other ornaments. It features a 5 ¾-inch faceplate which is typically used for items that cannot be aided by a tailstock. With its flexible usage, you can count on an efficient performance and convenience of use.

Buyer’s Guide

Benchtop wood lathe is typically a kind of lathes that has smaller capacities as compared to other kinds. It, therefore, follows that it has lighter weight hence the need to be safely bolted or mounted to a stable workbench to reduce vibration. And because of its size, it is ideal for those with limited work space. It is your best bet for small spindle works and projects. And like any other lathes, it has these following advantages:

  • It can make detailed work and intricate designs.

Using lathes allow you to shape, cut and turn any materials to create artwork and designs. Benchtop lathes are best use for small-scale work, while there are models that are capable for heavy duty and more complicated intricacies and tasks. Either way, there is available lathe for any of your needs.

  • It is efficient to use.

As compare to doing it manually or using another tool, nothing beats the proficiency of using a lathe. It can perform a variety of tasks and can tackle any kind of materials as well, producing optimal results. And you can possibly make anything- small or large projects with it from pens, bowls, and candle holders, to furniture details, ornaments and more.

  • It saves a lot of your time.

This is related to the fact that using it offers you improved productivity, hence saving both time and effort. With the aid of a lathe, work is done smoothly and fast, without sacrificing outcome.

  • It provides consistency and accuracy.

You can rely on the fact that by using lathes, you can achieve the consistency of work and at the same time precision of every cuts, shapes, and detail. Its variable speed and other features can be adjusted to a range that your work requires for best results.

  • It is safe to use.

Using this kind of machine is safe and user-friendly. Most are conveniently made to be easy to use and operate that you don’t need to have a master’s degree in wood turning to know about its safety measures and usage.

Product Details

Shop Fox W1704 1-3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe


Ideal, especially as a starter lathe, Shop Fox W1704 Bench Top Lathe, features a 1/3 horsepower and variable speed for a variety of DIY and small projects. It is typically smaller as compared to other lathes yet it is not in any way inferior when it comes to performance. It features 5 ¾-inch faceplate that is threaded into the headstock spindle for non-spindle turning. This may specifically come in handy for tasks that cannot be supported by tailstock. Beginners would especially like its features and convenience of use.

Product Information

  • Item Weight: 50.8 pounds
  • Product Dimensions:7.1 x 27.9 x 13.7 inches
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Horsepower: 1/3 HP
  • Voltage: 110 volts
  • Distance between centers: 12 inches
  • Swing over bed: 8 inches
  • Footprint: 23 3/8 by 5 ½ inches

Features & Benefits

  • Flexible Features

This benchtop wood lathe is reliable to use in a variety of tasks and projects. It features a 13-inch distance between centers and 8 inches swing over the bed to accommodate different and multiple kinds of turning jobs. It also includes both a 4 ½ and 7-inch tool rest for added versatility.

It also comes with a variable speed that ranges from 700 to 3200 revolutions per minute to work on both soft and hard wood materials.

  • Sturdy Construction

It is made of a durable cast iron and designed to fit neatly and accurately on a workbench. It is guaranteed to have the construction for longer and frequent use of turning, cutting and shaping pens and other small-scale woodturning projects.

  • Beginner’s Luck

Woodstock International has designed this particular model for an efficient use in small cutting and turning tasks, which ideally for those who are starting to learn and get the hang of woodturning. It is generally smaller than normal in size, yet no mistake because it is compact, stable and loaded with outstanding and versatile features.


  • Variable speed
  • It comes with a safety paddle switch
  • Ideal for small projects
  • Durable
  • Small and compact design


  • Accessories may be hard to find for this model
  • The tailstock may be a little sloppy
  • It does not come with a hand wheel

Reviews / Testimonials

To make sure that we have the best bench top lathe, getting feedbacks from its customers are an effective way to learn about its first-hand performance.

The majority of those who have tried and tested it was especially pleased with this benchtop lathe’s effectiveness in turning pens and other small projects. As most of them recommended, it is ideal for those who are starting to find their way into the art of woodturning. Though smaller in size, it is compact and durable. It will not hurt your wallet as well as it offers a good value for your money.

A little heads up on the tailstock, though, as you have to constantly make sure it is securely tightened because it can get a little sloppy. More than one customer also mentioned about the accessories being hard to find.

But with a desirable variable speed and reliable operation, this bench top lathe is an excellent beginner’s choice.

Alternative Choices

1) Grizzly G0624 Cast Iron Bench Top Wood Lathe

Powered by a ½ HP motor, this bench top wood lathe provides you plenty of power for any project or tasks. It is built with a durable heavy cast iron that can turn wood materials up to 10-inch wide and spindles up to 15 ½-inches long.

It has a six-speed selections- 480, 1,270, 1,960, 2,730, 3,327, and 4,023 RPM for flexibility and versatility to carry out any materials for any given job. Added with an optional Bed Extension and it will give you wider capacity and full sized lathe that can turn up to 38-inch between centers.

2) Rikon 70-100 12 by 16- Inch Mini Lathe

Largest mini lathe in the industry, Rikon 70-100 12 by 16- Inch Mini Lathe allows you to work on large pieces of materials, measuring 12 inches over the bed and 16 inches between centers. It has an increased capacity and features a 12-position index head that lets you lock the workpiece in multiple positions for precision especially on detailed works.

It is versatile as you can work in different speeds from 430 to 810, 1,230, 1,810, 2,670, and 3,900. Changing speed can be quickly done with its easy-access speed change feature and at the same time a locking arm and tension release lever for adjustment. A handy chart is provided to determine the spindle speed.

Other features include self-injecting tail stock, a flip-up handle for mobility, and nylon faceplate washer that keeps accessories from sticking to the spindle.

3) Grizzly H8259 Bench Top Wood Lathe

Grizzly H8259 Bench Top Wood Lathe has a measured swing over bed of 10 inches and 18 inches distance between centers. It is high in performance and can turn a wide variety of materials for different jobs as it is powered by ½ horsepower motor.

The speed can be adjusted depending on what the job requires. You can change from 826 to 1,205, 1,713, 2,422, and 3,337 RPM for increased versatility and productivity. This bench top wood lathe includes tool rest, live rolling center, spur center and wrenches. 

4) Shop Fox W1752 Mini Wood Lathe

Built to last, this bench top wood lathe is made of all cast iron for a more stable performance. It can turn bowls up to 10-inch diameter and spindles up to 15 ½ inch long may extend up to 38 inches with an optional W1753 extension bed. It features an adjustable tool rest, which can be adjusted to your preferred height and distance from the workpiece. It comes with a cam-action clamping system to safely secure it to the wood lathe bed.

For added flexibility, Shop Fox W1753 Mini Wood Lathe can offer you speed ranges of 480, 1270, 1960, 2730, 3327, 4800 RPM. Its cast iron tailstock can also be adjusted easily to accommodate up to 15 1/2-inch of workpieces.

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Alternative ChoicesPrice
Grizzly G0624 Cast Iron Bench Top Wood LatheCHECK PRICE
Rikon 70-100 12 by 16- Inch Mini LatheCHECK PRICE
Grizzly H8259 Bench Top Wood LatheCHECK PRICE
Shop Fox W1752 Mini Wood LatheCHECK PRICE

The Final Cut

As you venture into woodturning, it is essential to find a wood lathe that is reliable to use and at the same time great for small-scale tasks and projects that you will be making. It should also be versatile to carry out different jobs and a variety of materials.

Overall, SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe is a great option because it has a variable spindle speed that allows you to adjust its setting depending on what the job requires for smooth and accurate results.

It is also made of durable material that may provide you with years of service. Its size and weight may come in handy as well, especially for a new breed of turners, as it makes it convenient to use and store.

Having said that, you can check for more details about this product by clicking here.