Shop Fox W1704 Wood Lathe Review

Quick Reference
The Shop Fox W1704 is the beginner’s wood turning lathe specifically designed to provide many years of smooth service. Close attention to detail, ruggedly built parts and tough quality control assure safe and reliable operation. Best suited for small woodworking projects, like turning pens.
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Features List

  • Cast iron construction
  • Variable speed motor
  • 8-Inch swing over bed
  • Weighs 45-Pounds
  • Safety paddle switch
  • Built to last
  • Imported







Shop Fox W1704


Woodstock International seem to have manufactured the perfect tool for projects like pen turning, or other small cutting or shaping projects. Its name is the Shop Fox W1704. Made of cast iron, it is a sturdily built benchtop wood lathe designed to fit neatly on any workbench. While not large and not very heavy, it is still very stable. Very easy to set up, the Shop Fox W1704 seems like the perfect tool for those wanting to learn the craft, especially when it comes to small-scale woodturning projects.

While it is not the most powerful option on the market, its 1/3-horsepower, variable-speed motor complements its size perfectly and delivers variable spindle speeds between 700 and 3,200 revolutions per minute (RPM). This option to change the speed from anywhere between 700-3200 RPM, literally by twisting a knob, comes in very handy when turning soft or hard species of wood. It is worth noting that even more expensive wood turning lathes don’t offer such speed control on the fly, so we have to commend Woodstock International on their design choices.

Continuing with the features, we find that the W1704 also includes two sets of tool rests: a 4-1/2 and 7-inch tool rest is available for various turning applications. If we add to this its 13-inch distance between centers and an 8-inch swing over the bed, this lathe becomes the ideal option for a wealth of wood turning projects.

Additionally, this benchtop lathe includes a 5-3/4-inch faceplate which threads onto the headstock spindle for non-spindle turning. This comes especially useful when making items such as bowls or other items that can’t be supported from the tailstock. The machine also features a safety paddle switch, an MT No. 1 spur center, an MT No. 1 live center, and a 3/4-by-16-inch TPI RH spindle.

All in all, the Shop Fox W1704 lathe is loaded with features which makes it a steal for the price.


  • The Shop Fox W1704 benchtop wood turning lathe gets points for offering variable spindle speeds, as well as for its ease of use and setting up. The machine is ruggedly built and leaves the impression that it can be used for long periods of time. It comes with a great set of features for the price, and buyers praise it as one of the best lathes for beginners who seek to learn the craft. Great for turning pens, sharpening, cutting and other small-scale wood turning projects.


  • Some customers complain at the late arrival of parts, and there are incidental reports of machine malfunctioning shortly after being started up. This may be because the 1/3 horsepower motor is not suitable for turning larger projects.

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