Need to Buy or Make a Lathe Light!

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Flute Maker

I am in need of a good lathe light for the money. Could make or buy one but like to do it as inexpensively as possible.I am considering this. (It aint cheap though)
Any of you like or dislike it? Where do you get the best price? Or have a better suggestion!



Senior User
I have a magnetic base light that I got on sale at Woodcraft a couple of years ago. You can see it in the picture below.


I don't see it on the Woodcraft site now though, so that's not helpful. That said, while the light stays where I put it well and throws out plenty of light it uses an incandescent bulb and throws out plenty of heat as well. I've bumped my bare, bald head into it a few times while turning and that wasn't pleasant. Didn't jump and catch a tool, but that's something to think about. In hindsight I'd prefer an LED light - if I can find one bright enough, that is. Replacement LED bulbs to be used in incandescent fixtures are getting easier to find but I'm still looking for the brightness level I want. I haven't found CFL's to be much cooler in practice - at not least to bare skin.

Good luck in your search.

Carl Fisher

New User
I have either the one from Peachtree or a very similar model. It's alright if you're looking for harsh direct spot light, but not good for general lighting.

I have one of the articulating lamps clamped to each bench where my lathes are. The kind with the magnifying glass in the middle. Then I can move it around as needed so it's out of my way but still provides good lighting. I think I paid like $30-40 each from HobbyLobby.


New User
Moffat lights are expensive but well worth it. Lamp is double walled with cooling fins between the layers
. No burns from bulb heat! Lamp comes with multiple mounts that makes moving the lamp a quick process.


Chat Administartor
Corporate Member

Would $5.00 be too much?

You can get a Frack mirror from IKEA for $4.99 and replace the mirror with a 27 LED light from Harbor Freight. You can find free coupons for these lights. The mirror can be found at:

...the lights can be found at:

...and the free coupon

If you really wanted to be frugal, you could make your own articulated arm for the light for the cost of the hardware and some scrap wood.

Steve H.


Corporate Member
Moffat lights are expensive but well worth it. Lamp is double walled with cooling fins between the layers
. No burns from bulb heat! Lamp comes with multiple mounts that makes moving the lamp a quick process.
I have a simple reflector. It used to get pretty darn hot. I recently put in a 60w equivalent cree LED bulb in it. Works great! And they are only 5$ at the Cary Home Depot! Don't go to apex, they cost over 2x here.

Mike Mills

New User
I made mine with flex neck from almost any lamp supply place... about $12 for 18", and a 100 W outdoor flood light from HD...$10. I only use it to bring down parallel to check for oops in finishing or provide light for hollowing. Mine is mounted in the center on my wall cabinet and reaches anywhere I need it.


Rick M

Corporate Member
I stopped by a thrift store one day and they had a box of desk lamps, $1 each. Many were articulated neck lamps. I bought 3 and clamp one on the lathe. Wishing I had bought more.


Senior User
MLCS has magnetic base lights for $20. But for a lathe I would hang a fluorescent shop light overhead.

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Corporate Member
I realize this thread is a week or more old, but I just took delivery on the perfect work light needed by the OP, Flutemaker. I purchased an LED worklight from Lee Valley Tools that has a very bright Cree LED with a magnetic base and a movable sleeve to allow the light to be focused on a small or large area. It also comes with a well made heavy plastic side mounting clip, also with a magnetic base. Here is a link. It is made in China, but it is very well made -- the base is anodized aluminum and the flexible gooseneck is 18" long and seems sturdy. It operates on 3 AA batteries.


New User
I've used the Ikea Jansjo light for years now. I have a couple of them and both had switches that failed. Reworded the switch and all good to go. Still cheaper than most options and work very well once the switch is fixed.


New User
I purchased the Aurora Lathe Lamp from for $125. This lamp is much brighter than the lamp from the original post ( ). I will admit that it is not cheap but it is is very good. One of the main advantages of the LED light is that it does not create heat and dry out your wood if you are turning green wood. I considered the less expensive light mainly because of cost and I have 8-double tube fluorescent lights in my 1100 foot shop. I was super surprised and pleased when I started using the Aurora lamp. First was the extra brightness and the 30" flex neck. Now I can easily position the light so I can see into the deep bowls or move it behind or below my piece. As I finish a piece and start to sand I can easily position it and ensure I have removed all scratches.
Aurora Lathe Lamp.png
The Aurora and the original light referenced look very similar. The easiest way to determine which light is which is to look at the light head. The head of the lamp. The Aurora has a switch and the head is 90 degrees to the flex cable, see the following image.
Aurora Lathe Lamp Head.png
The other light (Beacon Lathe Lamp) has no switch and the base of the head is parallel to the flex cable, as in the following image.
Beacon Lathe Lamp.png Currently this in on sale for $50 at

Another option is the Galaxy Multipurpose Lathe Lamp from for $20 but it only has a 7" flex cable. I think this would be a great second light and is similar to the light I added to my drill-press.

Ken, the owner of is super helpful and very quick to respond to questions.

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I'm going to put in another vote for the Moffatt light. its a quality item all the way around, and at that price it should be. The switch is particularly heavy duty and always cool to the touch as is the outer shield. The biggie for the Moffatt lights is that they are rated for a 100 watt bulb and not the 60 watt like so many other cheapies are. On my lathe, I've got two Moffatts with 100 watt bulbs. Snap the switches and the work area is flooded with light without the light fixtures being invasive. The incandescent light allows subtle shadows that are so important in gauging the cutting results. Sixty watt bulbs were ok when I was young, but not so much now.

I've got one of those little ikea $10.00 lights on a little 6" bench grinder. Its OK for lighting up an area the size of a softball, and even then the light needs to be about 12" inches from the work area. Great for a Bonnie Klein mini lathe, but not so much for a larger lathe such as a Jet Mini because it can get in the way. Maybe for hollow turning its ok if you don't mind that little black head keeping your hollowing tool company.


Board of Directors, Vice President
We all made assumptions so I will "Bend" it a little differently...

I looked for "spot" lighting since Mike referenced that mag base LED light - It is what I needed... (read: assumption - if you show me a picture and it is what I need I will show you what I am thinking of to fix MY problem)
I already have a large 60 or 100 watt swing-arm lamp and overhead fluorescent, finally bringing me to my too-long-winded point.

I studied lighting a LOOOOOG time ago and there is a balance of overhead and or indirect light in room. There is math to understand the combination of all three of these which I have long since forgotten, but all in all think blended "High" light typically florescent (even reflective if you have a white ceiling) and then work space lighting - the old two bulb florescent over the work bench and last LED or incandescent as task lighting.

The blending of the three is what makes it work... and it IS personal - what works for you may not work for me!

Last - I always think budget - I could but wouldn't afford a Moffett - that $100 can be spent on wood or more tools (My wife thinks I have enough, but I am sure there are more out there calling my name!):D
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