I got my shop in about 1996/97, and got a lathe a little after that. From Harbor Freight no less, for around $70 or so. Surprisingly it was actually better quality than a variety of more expensive machines. In fact it looked like it was made on the same line as one going for around $300. Made a stand for it, and bought a set of HF lathe tools for around $6. The plan was, practice with the HF tools, and practice sharpening them until they wore out, then get a 'good' set. The HF tools worked fine, and never did wear out. Did my sharpening on my small bench top HF belt sander, and that worked great. They needed sharpening likely more often then a 'quality' set, but that was fast and did a good job. Played with it, and great fun. Then decided to make some carving mallets. And found out the only thing I liked to make on it was carving mallets. So, made a dozen or so carving mallets, then sold the lathe. And no regret at all about selling it. However, lately have been thinking of maybe making a small lathe, so I can make a few carving mallets.
"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Gather the villagers, pitchforks, torches; we march at dusk!
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.