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Excelsior Mini Lathe

With solid cast-iron construction, a robust 1/2 hp motor and a precision-machined live center, this little workhorse rivals features found in much larger lathes.
Item #
90% of 100

The Excelsior 5-Speed Mini Lathe can turn bowls of almost 10" in diameter and spindles up to 17-3/4" in length, making it perfect for chair legs, small table legs and an endless array of decorative turnings. A convenient door provides easy access to the belt, along with 5 different speeds: 760, 1100, 1600, 2200 and 3200 RPM. Cast-iron body provides mass for minimal vibration, stable turning and maximum durability.

  • Spur center on headstock
  • Ball-bearing live center on tailstock
  • Heavy-duty knockout bar for spur center
  • Cam-locking ratcheting adjustment levers
  • Convenient belt access door
  • Chrome-plated hardware
  • Removable safety switch
  • Non-slip feet
(1) Excelsior 5-Speed Mini Lathe
More Information
Brand Excelsior
Manufacturer Part Number MC-1018
Weight 80.5000
Tech Spec
  • Distance Between Centers: 18"
  • Turning Diameter: 10"
  • Motor: 370W
  • Powerful 1/2 HP motor
  • Base Material: Solid Cast Iron
  • 6" Tool Rest
  • 3" Face Plate
  • 5 different speeds: 760, 1100, 1600, 2200 and 3200 RPM
  • Spindle Taper MT2
  • 1" x 8 TPI spindle
HP 1/2 HP
Speed Range 760 - 3200 RPM
4.5 / 5.0
227 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
My mini lathe
I bought the mini lathe with the extension. I feel like I got a full sized lathe for a much cheaper price. I think I saved several thousands of dollars.
October 25, 2019
2 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Good quality for the price
I have only had it for a few days and used it twice. Heavy enough to keep the unit steady on the bench without having to clamp it down. One of the rubber feet came in busted and I don't know if I can get a replacement. The unit nor the box was damaged, so I don't know how that happened. I may be able to rig something, but I still need to work with the unit some more before I actually evaluate it. Turned one spindle and one knob. Also bought the extension, but haven't hooked them together, so I have not turned any long spindles and I do plan to make it a stand alone instead of pulling it out everytime and put it on my bench top.That will get old quick.
September 27, 2019
3 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Love It!!
Awesome little lathe! Perfect for the money!!
September 22, 2019
3 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
This mini lathe does everything I need it to do as a hobbies woodworker.
September 21, 2019
3 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Haven't set up yet. Everything is together and solid. Needcto make room in small shop
September 17, 2019
3 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Start Here!
My wife gave this to me as a gift almost three years ago. I had expressed an interest in learning to turn but was concerned about the cost to try it out. As we always do, she turned to Rockler for suggestions and chose this lathe. So glad she did. If you are looking to start turning or want a basic, solid and simple lathe, this is your baby. It doesn't have bells and whistles, but offers solid basic performance so that you really understand what a lathe is and what they can and cannot do. Price and quality are right and tight. I found I love to turn and haven't moved up to larger nor more complex machine yet because I am still enjoying my Excelsior. Another BIG reason to choose this machine is that Rockler stands behind it and you get awesome support. I have had to contact them twice, not due to the lathe's failure but due to my own, and they have been awesome to deal with. In case you can not tell I am a ROCKLER fan. I work and play with wood and try really hard togged good value for the money. I recommend this little lathe for value, support and reliability. If and when I move up to a larger lathe I will still use my Excelsior. Just plain fun.
September 14, 2019
Woodworking Experience:
Great product works very well only draw back is the motor gets very hot when several pens in a row
September 4, 2019
3 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Good quality and affordable.
September 3, 2019
3 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Great lathe!
I really like this lathe! I bought it to supplement my workshop so I could make different set ups on each lathe. While variable speed lathes are more convenient, this sturdy cast iron lathe is a terrific bargain for the price.
August 26, 2019
4 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Excelsior mini is max in my book!
I have been turning with this lathe for nearly 3 years now. It has proven up to all but the largest heaviest irregular blanks, only because I could not turn the speed under 500 rpm. It really eats everything I throw at it, and after all this time, the spindle runs absolutely true, and I have not been careful with it. I turn something nearly every day. I would buy this again with no hesitation, and would encourage any beginner to make this purchase. It is a great starting lathe. I bought the bed extension as well. I really like that, since it is easy to get the tailstock out of the way when working on some processes, then bring it right back into play.
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User submitted image
August 10, 2019
Woodworking Experience:
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Browse 86 questions Browse 86 questions and 230 answers
Why did you choose this?
Rockler Store
Have wanted to get into lathe work for some time. The sale put me over the edge to start now.
Peter M on Dec 5, 2019
The price is right and seems like an excellent lathe for beginners with limited shop space.
William on Dec 4, 2019
Have wanted to get into lathe work for some time. The sale put me over the edge to start now.
Peter M on Dec 5, 2019
I was looking for a good, but inexpensive, starter lathe for my son. I've never had a problem with Rockler quality or customer service, so when I saw this one, I got it.
Terry Alexander B on Dec 5, 2019
The price is right and seems like an excellent lathe for beginners with limited shop space.
William on Dec 4, 2019
Seemed like a good choice for a starter lathe. Always had good luck with Rockler
Nordraw on Dec 4, 2019
Requested by my husband. Found a good review.
Mary M on Dec 4, 2019
Great reviews, definitely great sale and price to start turning.
David W on Dec 4, 2019
see above
George T on Dec 2, 2019
Just purchased the mini-lathe and with this being on the same cyber Monday sale, just had to go ahead and get this also. I know it will add more versatility to the lathe.
James B on Dec 2, 2019
It was a great deal and has many ways to upgrade or use different accessories to make other projects.
Bryan Beverly R on Dec 1, 2019
The Excelsior Mini lathe was affordable and the reviews were really positive. I am a beginner and I believe this lathe is perfect for my needs.
Debra M on Dec 1, 2019
It looks like a good price
Lee M on Dec 1, 2019
Great value!
Brian S on Dec 1, 2019
Great starter lathe at the best price I could find!
Mike G on Nov 30, 2019
Recommended by a friend. Also Several good reviews. On sale.
Johanne P on Nov 29, 2019
This is the Lathe I have and purchased one for my brother in law for his enjoyment. A great hobby Lathe and nice for pen turning too!
Sid on Nov 29, 2019
My husband enjoys woodworking, bought it for christmas
Carolyn P on Nov 29, 2019
Reputation of company and YouTube reviews
Patrick L on Nov 29, 2019
My wife and I wanted to get into wood turning and it was on sale
Michael C on Nov 29, 2019
gift for my husband
Tracie L on Nov 29, 2019
Want to make pens and small turning projects.. Price was right and this should be perfect for what I want to do.
Erik T on Nov 28, 2019
I got it for my husband for Christmas
Wanda J J on Nov 22, 2019
My husband wanted it!!!!
Wanda J J on Nov 15, 2019
needed a good quality entry-level lathe
Mike on Oct 5, 2019
It had good reviews and the price was right.
Doug W on Oct 3, 2019
Michael S on Sep 24, 2019
Wanted a smaller lathe to start making pens and other small items. Price was very reasonable, and it received consistently high ratings at various vendors
Donald K on Sep 23, 2019
Have never turned anything before. This seems like a good one to start with.
WAYNE D on Sep 16, 2019
I've been wanting to learn to turn and also try my hand at pens for awhile now. The price is great for just starting out.
Robert B on Sep 14, 2019
Known by the community as the right one to start any kind of serious wood turning. It is just right for the level of turning to be done, with the extension; look-out!
Kevin L on Sep 9, 2019
Wanted to learn to turn and the price was right
Paul R on Aug 25, 2019
it will fit my needs and shop size. I have looked at several different lathes and found that this is right for me.
tim j on Aug 21, 2019
New to pen turning. Budget friendly.
Dawn Cressey G on Aug 9, 2019
Did research, looks to fit my needs
James D on Jun 28, 2019
Want to learn to turn.
Timothy M on Jun 25, 2019
It got good reviews, it was on sale, I wanted to get started wood turning
Elmer M on Jun 17, 2019
Price is main reason. Want to start some small turning projects
Kenneth C on Jun 15, 2019
Friend has one and likes it. I wanted to try out wood turning. Reasonable priced
Clark K on Jun 11, 2019
Have been looking for a lathe for small to large turns.But the prices have been to high un-till now .
David H on Jun 5, 2019
To learn how to turn!
Eddie B on May 8, 2019
just retired and saw both lathe and extender in one of your emails you sent to me
Arthur M on Mar 31, 2019
very good reviews
john conrad L on Mar 7, 2019
replacing my lathe that was destroyed in fire.
Jean R on Mar 5, 2019
Looks like a good tool and I can use it in my condo storeroom.
Wayne B on Feb 9, 2019
Shopping for wood lathe. Quality of yours seems to be be better than others previously looked at. Impressed with video and advertisements. Plus this is your expertise.
Dave W on Jan 5, 2019
I am not familiar with this product but it looked to be the most promising. I truly hope he likes both gifts. I am taking a big chance on both. Merry Christmas to you all.
Mary Beth C on Dec 21, 2018
Needed another lathe,a small one, great reviews on this one.
Robert T on Dec 18, 2018
Grandson requested a lathe for Christmas. This mini lathe appears to have good reviews and seems to be expandable as his skill improves.
Husband wanting to expand his woodworking abilities
Cynthia M on Dec 14, 2018
gift for my son
Ester J on Dec 14, 2018
David M on Dec 13, 2018
I was looking for a good, but inexpensive, starter lathe for my son. I've never had a problem with Rockler quality or customer service, so when I saw this one, I got it.
Terry Alexander B on Dec 5, 2019
Seemed like a good choice for a starter lathe. Always had good luck with Rockler
Nordraw on Dec 4, 2019
Will this fit the Excelsior Mini Lathe with the bed extension?
Rick S on Nov 29, 2015
Excelsior Mini Lathe
Excelsior Mini Lathe
Lathe Duplicator
Lathe Duplicator
Bed Extension for Excelsior Mini Lathe MC-1018
Bed Extension for Excelsior Mini Lathe MC-1018
BEST ANSWER: Sorry no, this lathe duplicator is not compatible with the Excelsior mini lathe.
Where can I get parts?? In need of tailstock bolt
Trav T on Sep 21, 2015
BEST ANSWER: Rockler does carry extra parts for the Excelsior lathe, including the tailstock bolt.
Just give us a call at 1-800-279-4441 and we can help you
What 4 jaw chuck will fit this lathe?
A shopper on May 18, 2015
BEST ANSWER: Any chuck would work as long as is has a 1" 8 TPI.
I would recommend the Nova G3 Comet II Reversible Chuck Item #: 44597
After installing the jaws on it, you can screw it onto your lathe and start turning
Can you recommend an appropriate chisel set for this lathe? I'm a complete beginner, more interested in small bowls than in pens.
A shopper on Apr 24, 2015
BEST ANSWER: In my opinion so far, these Rockler carbide turning tools are ideal for a beginner like myself. I got them on sale recently which was great! The best part is that I never have to worry about sharpening, as the cutter heads have multiple cutting surfaces you can rotate through before eventually just replacing the tip. Carbide is built to last, so I'm not concerned about having to replace the tips very often at all, but time will tell. Lots of good tools out there I'm sure, but these are great.
Mini Ergonomic Carbide Turning Tools, 3-Piece Set
Mini Ergonomic Carbide Turning Tools, 3-Piece Set
Pen-Turning Ergonomic Carbide Turning Tools, 3-Piece Set
Pen-Turning Ergonomic Carbide Turning Tools, 3-Piece Set
I have been using this lathe for several months turning small bowls and wine stoppers'. I really like the performance but am concerned by how hot the motor gets in a very short period of time. So hot you really can not touch the motor casing. Is this normal?
Eric M on May 6, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Mine gets pretty hot also but hasn't caused any problems. I sometimes turn 3 or 4 hours at a time and there has been no problem with it overheating.
will the Rockler Router Speed Control, Item 25278 work with this lathe?
Jimmy D on May 27, 2015
BEST ANSWER: The speed control 25278 is only compatible with universal motors such as a router. The lathe has an induction motor so the speed control will not work with the lathe.
Is the motor reversible?
Chuck C on May 27, 2015
\Does this larhe come with the tool rest, chuck or any other item?
Buzzard on May 24, 2015
BEST ANSWER: Yes, it has a tool rest, drive center in the head stock and a center in the tail stock. All you need to add is the turning tools and you are set to go. It does not come with a chuch, but if you watch, you can pick them up on sale.
I would like to turn vessels, specifically urns at the maximum size which I guess is 10." I wouldn't be able to turn something that big because of the banjo, so is there a way that I could use a tool rest not attached to the lathe? Can this lathe handle something that size?
Stephen R on Nov 15, 2015
BEST ANSWER: I have not tried to turn anything larger than 8" and that was tough because of the banjo size. I have heard of after market products such as you are leaning towards. Myself, I would not want to try something free standing because of potential movement. I hope this has helped.
Inside the headstock there is play of about an inch of the drive pulley going back and forth. Is it supposed to be secure??
jim H on Apr 17, 2016
BEST ANSWER: You may have to tighten the screw that holds the pulley to the headstock shaft. Mine was loose but tightening it took care of the problem.
I'm going to build a new shop table for this lathe and optional extension. How long overall is it with extension ?
Michael S on Nov 5, 2015
BEST ANSWER: The length of the lathe with the extension is 52" long and the width is 8"
I'm looking for a present for my husbands birthday. He likes to work with wood and has made some rings and other pieces using his drill.. I don't know much about this stuff so is there a specific mandrel set for this particular lathe for ring/ jewelry making I can get?
Chash on Oct 13, 2018
BEST ANSWER: This is a great beginner's lathe and it will do all the pen projects and larger ones if he would need.
Is this lathe motor able to run with an external speed control?
Joe D on Nov 29, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I don't think you should put a speed control on a AC motor. I't could over heat. You will also loose power.
Do you have spare belts available? My belt is stretched after 8 years of using my Mpower lathe
Matt G on May 17, 2017
BEST ANSWER: yes we do, in fact the belt for this is item #29424
What extra items do I need to drill a pen blank with this lathe?
Tberry on Apr 3, 2017
BEST ANSWER: A Jacob's chuck to hold the bit, a chuck to hold the pen blank.
what is the working voltage of this lathe is it 220vac.?
Raja v on May 11, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Hello Raja , the working voltage on this lathe is 110vac.
What extras would you advise for newbie to purchase with this late. Tools, etc.?
Joseph R on Apr 2, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I am not am avid turner, turner, but I would purchase either Robert Sorby 3 piece pen turning set. If you are going to do a lot of turning I would purchase Rockler Carbide mini turning tool 3 piece. I would also purchase a Nova chuck G3. These tools should get you started off right.
Can you retrofit a variable speed controller?
Alan F on Jul 7, 2016
BEST ANSWER: You can use Penn State industry conversion kit to allow for variable speed motor and control. I have converted my lathe with this unit and love it
My lathe is running hot is that normal and ok for the motor?
A shopper on Jun 1, 2015
BEST ANSWER: I've noticed that using mine for extended periods of time will also leave the outside of the motor shield being hot as well. I haven't noticed any change in how well the machine works and I would imagine there is very little insulation to prevent the motor from heating up the outside of the motor cover. Just to be safe, I will occasionally brush any saw dust or shavings off of the top of the motor as they tend to bunch up right on top.
I've been turning my first bowl and I find the motor bogs down. It's 8.5" diameter. My tools are sharp and I'm trying to use a light touch. I checked the belt tension. Am I expecting too much from this size lathe?
Thomas J. S on Jun 11, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Maybe. I haven’t turned bowls and haven’t had problems. Two suggestions: Drop your speed and check out the Fine Woodworking video just released today on sharpening turning tools.
Which pen mandrel do i get for this lathe?
Brennan M on Dec 27, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I use the number 2 mandrel. Seems to work best with this lath and for all the pens I have made. At least that is my experience.
Can you remove dead center and put in drill chuck?
Patches S on Oct 11, 2015
BEST ANSWER: Not sure if you mean the 8 tpi head or not, but there is a live center in the tailstock. What I have used for a Jacobs chuck (drill chuck) is one that threads onto the 8 tpi headstock with reasonable success. There are other Jacobs chucks for the tailstock, but it would be stationary instead of turning like the one that threads onto the head.
Does this operate from standard house-hold current power (110-120v) or do I have to upgrade my power source?
Skeeter on Apr 28, 2017
BEST ANSWER: It runs on the standard electric. I have had this lathe for 2 years. Works great
I would like to have a drill chuck that fits the excelsior mini lathe. Is there one available?
Elwood on Feb 14, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Here is the link to rocklers web page with the chuck and the #2 taper you will need.
Does this fit on an Excelsior lathe?
Krifred on Dec 23, 2015
Excelsior Mini Lathe
Excelsior Mini Lathe
Nova Mini Step Jaw Set
Nova Mini Step Jaw Set
BEST ANSWER: Yes,these fit with the Nova G3 Insert Chuck and a 1 inch, 8tpi adapter. Alternatively, the Nova G3 Comet II Reversible Chuck, which comes with 1" 8-TPI RH/LH threading. Separately sold step Jaws comes with the necessary screws to attach to these chucks. I have used these jaws on both of the chucks mentioned above, on the Excelsior. They worked perfectly!!!
Nova G3 Comet II Reversible Chuck
Nova G3 Comet II Reversible Chuck
Nova SuperNova 2 Insert Chuck
Nova SuperNova 2 Insert Chuck
Nova Chuck Inserts/Adapters
Nova Chuck Inserts/Adapters
Can you turn table legs with this, more if it has enough power?
Nick C on Apr 16, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Yes you can turn table legs. I’ve had mine for awhile now and I can say if it fits above the table and between the head and tail stocks you will have enough power to turn it. This is one tough little lathe. Happy turning.
Is the Excelsior robust enough for turning hard woods like pink ivory and ebony?
Carolyn P on Sep 25, 2018
BEST ANSWER: In short, yes. I have not turned pink ivory but I have turned African Blackwood, ebony and prurple heart and the lathe did not have any issues. Hope this helps.
Is there a drill chuck that will fit the tail stock for this lathe?
Jeff B on May 2, 2017
BEST ANSWER: There is. The chuck that I bought came from Lee Valley Tools. The chuck will need a tapered #2 adapter to fit the tail stock. Lee Valley Tools have both. Hope you find this helpful.
How difficult are speed changes?
Larr C on May 20, 2019
BEST ANSWER: The placement of the access to the belt/pulleys on the back of the lathe makes speed changes a bit awkward depending upon the clearance you have between the lathe and a wall. If the access were located on the front the process would be improved tremendously.
What tools should I start out with? Are the pen turning tool package long enough, or should I get full size tools? I am thinking about doing a lot of plates, bowls, other stuff like that. Are there any specific tools I should get? Thanks.
Nick C on Apr 17, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Great question. This lathe is fairly limited in the size you can turn. You can do small bowls and pots. Because of this limitation, typically the pen turning tools would be long enough. If you want to do larger items, in excess of 7-8" diameter, you'll want to get a larger lathe.
Prop 65 WarningWARNING: Cancer & Reproductive Harm -

Prop 65 WarningWARNING: Drilling, sawing, sanding or machining wood products can expose you to wood dust, a substance known to the State of California to cause cancer. Avoid inhaling wood dust or use a dust mask or other safeguards for personal protection. For more information go to