To put the lathes to work, I turned 16″-long hardwood spindles and 9″-diameter bowl blanks. Delta’s burly 1 hp motor — the largest of the test group — tackled those challenges easily. A bunch of other good details made testing the 46-460 downright fun!
First off, shifting the tool’s belt into three speed ranges was easy, using a lever that both tensions and locks the belt. The job requires two levers on other lathes. Both the tailstock and tool-rest bracket handles are long and overmolded with soft rubber, so they’re comfortable to lock down securely. Delta provides a 6″ tool-rest for tackling tight-quarter operations and a 10″ rest for longer work; you’ll use them both often. Every lathe should come with these two sizes. Not all do.
Once underway, power delivery was smooth and steady up through the speed ranges, with no noticeable vibration or noise. But the best feature came into play once the chips were done flying: this lathe has a reverse mode that’s perfect for sanding. A common problem when sanding a turning is that end grain tends to lie down in the opposite direction. Cleaning up that stubble is a pain, but not with the Delta. Just flip the motor into reverse to whisk it away. Aside from one minor gripe — the lathe’s long plastic belt cover seems flimsy — here’s a solid value for the money.