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Old 03-04-2017, 12:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Columbus, TX
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Default Help Me Pick a Lathe, Please!

Hello, all!

My name is Parker, and I am new in the world of turning. I have been turning for a couple of months and have turned roughly 20-25 pens. I specifically like maple burl and deer antler. I also enjoy turning Olive Wood from Jerusalem because it gives me the opportunity to talk about Jesus, which I enjoy.

I have been using a friends lathe, but am interested in purchasing my own. I am willing to put money towards a quality product, but don't want to break the bank. My fiancee would not like that too much.

Anyone have any suggestions on what to buy?
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Old 03-04-2017, 12:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Parker & welcome to IAP.

My wife is from Columbus & we still have a farm there, so "Howdy Neighbor!"

Your question is a tough one to answer - so much depends on your budget & your objectives. Since you are already somewhat experienced at turning, I would say get the best one you can possibly afford - midi or full size.

I highly recommend at least taking a look at the Nova DVR Galaxi 1644 - I think it's available for about $2,000 right now. There are several excellent midi lathes in the $500 - $1,000 range. I can't speak for any of them myself, but others may offer their thoughts & personal preferences.

There is also an excellent tutorial in our library by Dan Masshardt on selecting a lathe. Just click on the library link on the home page & use the pull-down menus to find it. I'm on my iPhone right now or I would post a direct link for you; however, there's lots of great info in the library, so it's worth spending a little time browsing through it.
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Here ya go Parker, this is the library tutorial that Edgar mentioned. Welcome to the vortex.
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Old 03-04-2017, 02:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks so much! I am looking at getting a midi lathe because I only have interest in pen turning (and the occasional small project), but not much in larger projects.
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Old 03-04-2017, 02:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Parkerthread93 View Post
Thanks so much! I am looking at getting a midi lathe because I only have interest in pen turning (and the occasional small project), but not much in larger projects.
I'm predicting that'll change in a year or two.

But you can do a lot of larger projects with a midi, so it's a great place to start.
Eat pecans - 10,000,000 squirrels can't be wrong.
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Old 03-04-2017, 02:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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In the Midi range, most popular are the Jet and Rikon. Nova makes the Comet lathe which falls in the Midi range but is a little lighter, 3/4 hp instead of 1 hp.
All the Midi lathes should all have #2 Morse tapers making buying accessories easier and these can be used on most full sized lathes.
Do pay the extra and get variable won't regret it. Also, resale is better on the name brand variable speed case you want to move up to a bigger lathe sometime.

Good luck!
Charlie W.
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Old 03-04-2017, 04:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I used this one for a demo at Hartville Hardware.
All I can say is WOW, I really liked it.
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Old 03-04-2017, 04:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I upgraded from a Jet 1014 to a Jet 1221 VS a couple of months ago, worth every nickel ...
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Old 03-04-2017, 04:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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For people who stay with turning more than a couple of years, there is one item that makes a difference besides the size - EVS. Electronic variable speed. There are other kinds of EVS but they are more expensive.

Changing belts becomes a pain when going from turning to sanding to finishing and then back to turning. When one has not experienced this, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it slows down the transition time. AND when changing belts, you are in a hurry, reach in and change the belt, get a bit of grit from the belt on the finger and without thinking - transfer it to a nicely turned blank, causing even a swear word to a preacher! EVS eliminates that!
Hank Lee

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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Old 03-04-2017, 08:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Help Me Pick a Lathe, Please!

I just finished un boxing and wiping the preservative of my third Jet
lathe. This one is the Jet 1221 variable speed. It's complementary to my older no longer sold Jet 1014 Variable speed. It's 7 inches longer and that makes a difference. It's also 1 Hp and has digital speed readout. It goes down to crawling slow compared to my other lathe. It reverses to and that feature is a shift on the fly deal, just flip the reverse switch with it running it will slow and then reverse on its own. According to the manual you do not need to stop the lathe just flip the switch.

You will want a chuck that will work in reverse, if not, your chuck will unscrew in reverse. I'd think a chuck flying off your lathe might make a cool video but it may turn out painful and expensive. You have to switch it to do this and it is set up so you intentionally have to switch it. It's not something you will bump and suddenly find the lathe in reverse with parts unscrewing at high speed.

My first lathe was a jet and it's still churning out pens after 12 years. I sold it to a friend. Name brand will hold value if you care about that.

Here is what transpired with my lathe purchasing adventure. This is not a bashing or rant about Amazon, UPS or anyone, it's just what I went through.

Ordered the Jet1221VS Amazon Prime. Three days later the UPS center called me (My brother is a driver there) I drove over to the center and refused shipment. It was a wreck. Amazon promptly shipped again, same result. It's a heavy beast and apparently the shipping gorillas just roll them when they move them. In appears as though they roll them off the dock onto the concrete and then drag them to the truck, do a two man lift and hurl them in to load them. Amazon was willing to ship a third one but I declined and was promptly refunded what I paid. Frankly I don't see how they can afford that sort of stuff but they must be able to.

I found a Jet dealer 125 miles from me, called and explained the situation. He had one without a dent on the box. I made the trip down, we opened it doubled checked the condition and now it awaits its maiden voyage on the bench downstairs.

When they are shipped by FedEx, UPS or possibly the USPS it is just that box and it gets thrashed. Imagine dragging a 136lbs box around in your truck all day that is not yours.

When they are shipped to a dealer they come in on a pallet packed and stretch wrapped to be moved by forklift. The difference is the box mine was in did not even have a smudge mark on it.

The boxes handled one at a time in the back of those UPS shipping trucks were hardly identifiable.

For a small sized lathe it has a lot to offer. It's 10% off right now as well so that's $80 you can put to a chuck.

I've never reversed a lathe so I'm not sure I need that feature.

It really goes slow and that is nice for drilling.

The variable speed is not something I will do without again. On this one I doubt I will have to change belts as the range is pretty substantial compared to my other lathe. Pay attention to the speed range that you have on each belt setting. Not all of them are the same. You want slow for drilling.

I've learned from the folks on this forum to do my drilling on the lathe. It's a lot better than on the two drill presses I own.

Of course I've turned nothing on it yet but I will tonight.

Sent from my iPad using mobile app

Last edited by oldtoolsniper; 03-04-2017 at 08:46 PM.
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