June 12, 2020

Shop Fox W1856 Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe Review [REVISTED]

Should you buy the Shop Fox W1856? Are you wondering if this lathe will cut it? A wood lathe helps you cut hollow shapes out of a piece of wood with accuracy and precision. To do this, it removes excess wood while rotating it between two axes so that you get symmetrical shapes.

The lathe holds the wood at two ends and starts drilling out the excess wood you do not need. This way, you can carve bowls and shapes that need to be symmetrical. The result depends on how skillful you are with the tool.

Shop Fox W1856 on  a white background

Sometimes the lathe you want will not fit in your space, so you have to look for something suitable. Remember, it’s all about fitting it into your workshop and making sure you can work around it.

If you already have a workbench, you can attach a lathe and enjoy the convenience of a lathe that is not mounted on a separate stand. The prerequisite is to have a stable workbench that can support the lathe.

The W1856-12″ x 18″ Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe weighs 82 pounds and measures 38.5 inches x 15.5 inches x 17 inches. You need to know the product specifications before you commit.

Another factor influencing your decision is how easy it is to get replacement parts and what they cost. Depending on where you live, some machines may not be worth the hassle. Let us take a look at what the W1856 can do for you.

Shop Fox W1856 Aesthetics

It looks very compact, with everything that you will need from it. The features that it comes with are visible and within reach. There are 15 inches between centers and a 9-inch swing over the tool rest. 

The horizontal bed seems almost laden with various features. This sturdy machine is made of cast iron, and this goes for the stock as well. The 15 inches between the centers means that this is the size of the material you can work with. 

Shop Fox W1856 on  a white background

The W1856 is white and has the authenticity that comes with Shop fox tools. It looks sturdy and dependable. While these may not be the usual aesthetic adjectives, they also help describe the excellent performance you can expect from this lathe.

If you think the lathe’s bed is not long enough, you can extend it, which means that you get more than you bargained for with this lathe. 

Performance Review

This lathe has a powerful 3/4 HP motor with variable speed spindle control. To make your life easier, it has a digital RPM reader. This way, you get accurate speed adjustments. You will not have to worry about spacing and marking evenly. 

The lathe has 24 index points that increase by 15 degrees to help you mark and space evenly. This is one thing that makes this bench lathe stand out from the rest. It is one of the things that shop fox has delivered excellently in this bench lathe.  

Another feature that makes this lathe an excellent choice and performs better is that you can switch the speed, thanks to the variable speed control. This also helps you get the optimum spindle torque in each range and will make woodturning extremely easy. 

It has a 12-inch swing over the bed. This means that the most significant piece of wood that you can rotate on the spindle without hitting the bed has to be 12 inches. This is an essential factor in knowing that you get the lathe best suited for the work you intend to do. 

This means that you can work on a wide variety of projects. This versatility makes the W1856 a worthy contender compared with other benchtop lathes in its league.


It is crucial that you do not ignore the manual and carefully read it to know what you need to be careful of when using the lathe. Understand how it needs to be used and what precautions must be taken before using the lathe. 

When you are sure that you have done this correctly, you can set it up. Make sure that you make all adjustments before plugging it into the power source. You do this to avoid accidents. 

Always avoid having any cables stretched across the room. Make sure that you do not leave the lathe unattended. Also, make sure that you place it where the power cable can easily reach the lathe.

When you are done, always unplug it from the power, and make sure that children and any inexperienced users could get hurt.

Ensure that all the machine’s moving parts are safely hidden away or covered with protective guards. 

When you are using the lathe, make sure that you protect yourself. Using protective eyewear can help protect you from anything that can fly away as you carve at high speeds. 

Who is this product ideal for?

This lathe is suitable for experienced users who know what they are doing. It requires a certain level of expertise that you can not learn overnight. 


  • It is versatile
  • It has a powerful motor
  • It is a sturdy tool that gives you stability as you work


  • It needs to be placed on a workbench, and sometimes this isn’t easy to find a bench that is sturdy enough.

Our Verdict

The Shop Fox W1856 Benchtop Variable Speed Wood Lathe is worthy. It can help you achieve precision and accuracy when carving asymmetrical shapes.

The features of this lathe make it a great buy that we can recommend with a clear conscience. We hope this review helps you find the best benchtop lathe you need. Have fun shopping around! Also, please read our review of the best woodturning lathes.

David D. Hughes

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