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Thread: Mini-Lathe Recommendations?

  1. #1

    Mini-Lathe Recommendations?

    Hi. What type of mini-lathe would you recommend for a beginner? Thanks, Glenn.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Hello Glenn, and welcome.

    In several seconds you will learn the number one truth about woodworkers:
    "Ask 10 woodworkers their opinion on something and you will get 20 answers."

    That being said, I am exceptionally happy with my Jet Mini Variable Speed Indexing Lathe.

    I can turn items 10" in diameter, and 14" long. The lathe uses a combination of matched pulleys and a variable speed system to allow "fine-tuning" the best speed for what I am turning. All in all a great lathe. I also will keep this lathe when I upgrade to a much larger one in the future.

    Now a couple of things. You didn't post your location, but depending on where you are, you might want to attend a local woodturner's club meeting, where you may be able to get a hands-on feel of different lathes.

    You can search for local clubs here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    I have the Jet 1220 VS and it will turn 12" bowls and 20" spindles. It is a little more money but also more versitile.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day
    and say, “Hi, Honey, I’m home – forever.”

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Mason Michigan
    This one looks interesting.

    You can get it though Lowes and Woodcraft too.
    "Small Change got rained on with his own 38"

    Tom Waits

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Any of the Jet minis are considered to be great lathes for their size. I've also seen promising-looking reviews on the new Delta that Pete linked to. The Rikon midi lathe is also recommended by a lot of folks.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    lutefisk capitol, USA
    Anything but Delta. Customer service is non existant. I toasted the motor on mine, ordered a motor and while it was on backorder the price went up $50. No wonder they didn't want me to pay for it ahead of time. I am happy with the Jet I replaced it with.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Tampa & NC

    Mini-lathe Recommendations

    Very good choices,but it may depend on what you have,or want to spend.I have the Ricon,reason I got it was that I wasn't sure how much turning I would do.Another reason was it has a 12" swing and its a bit cheaper than jet.329.00 for the Ricon an 375.00 not sure on the 1220.anyway they are all excellent lathes with great custumer service.Good luck with what ever you get.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Welcome to the family Glenn!!!

    So what kind of stuff are you looking to turn? Will probably help determine what knives and chucks your going to need to go with that lathe.

    Sorry so late, was down in Holden helping on my brother in laws house. They just moved there and are opening a new family practice in town.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    If you perused the pen turning forums, you will find they are practically places of worship for the Jet mini.
    But, if you are shopping, check other brands also. Grizzly has several new models of mini/midi lathes that are serious work horses.

  10. #10
    How much money do you want to spend? They range from around $200 to $600 and beyond. If money doesn't matter much, the Jet 1220vs is about the most delux in this range. That new Delta looks nice. I haven't heard a price on it though.

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