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Old 12-25-2018, 11:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Looking for opinions on mini lathes

I know this is kind of like asking who makes the best chili, everyone has their own opinion! Iím looking at getting a new mini lathe and would like to hear everyoneís thoughts. Right now Iím just doing pens but will eventually do some other small items (wine stoppers, ornaments, etc...) What lathes are out there that all of you like? Thanks for all your thoughts!


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Old 12-25-2018, 12:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Realistically, the difference between various low-end lathes is often not more than the color of the paint. Most of them originate in China, often in the same factory. They are all pretty good, but you have to understand the 'you get what you pay for' concept. Jet, Grizzley, Rikon, Excelsior, Turncrafter, Nova,, ShopFox - all pretty good.

I started with the ShopFox 1704 - no real complaints about the lathe, but I simply outgrew it.

I moved up to a Turncrafter 12" - which is as much lathe as I can accommodate in my shop. And I've been very happy with it for five years. Don't anticipate making a change.
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Old 12-25-2018, 12:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I have the nova comet 2 and love it. Jets are great. And on a high end laguna just came out with a new one Chad Shimmel has a review on it.

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Old 12-25-2018, 12:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I make the best chili.....

Now that we got that out of the way, I'll start by saying that I don't have much experience at all yet. But I did a ton of research and thought I'd share my experience. After much back and forth, I decided that buying used was definitely the way to go starting out. Not only can you get something to start with, but you'll end up spending a boat load on accessories. Then you'll get some perspective on what you really want and need. You may already be at that point though.

I ended up getting a used Jet and really like it. The one thing I learned and would highly recommend looking for is one with variable speed. I didn't think it would be a big deal to change the belt. But I find myself wanting to frequently change the speed.
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Old 12-25-2018, 02:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Wants list for a good experience down the road:

1. MT 2, you can get by on an MT1 but the MT2 has far more to offer in options.

2. VS - specifically Electronic Variable Speed. it is fun making the first turnings and even a year later. But later, if you are really into it an enjoy it, stopping and changing the belt 2 or 3 times per pen or small bowl turning, - that becomes just a bit of an aggravation.
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Old 12-25-2018, 02:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Welcome. I have a Rikon 70-050VS which has been replaced with another model. It carries a 5 year warranty...one of the reasons I bought it. As mentioned, you get what you pay for. Hank has some good things to consider for a lathe.
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Old 12-25-2018, 03:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I have a Jet Mini about 7 years old - for what it cost and was supposed to do I couldn't be happier and still use it a lot. (I have since bought a Nova Midi, non VS, but still wouldn't be without the Jet Mini).

At our Ohio Chapter Meetings, Hartville Hardware has shuffled several demo lathes for our use. My favorite one was one of the VS Rikon's. Not sure of the model number, and only used it for a demo, but I was very impressed with it.

So, from me, Jet and Rikon have had good experiences, and the Nova Midi. As mentioned above there are quite a few good choices, and most are very similar. If you can get to a store where you could compare, that would be helpful.

Oh, Buckmark13 has no idea of what makes good chili! Mine is the best.
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Old 12-25-2018, 03:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I just looked. There is a Woodcraft in Kansas City. I'd certainly try to compare what they have available. Not necessarily to buy there, but it is always nice to see and feel before purchasing; and, they may do you right for a sale.
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Old 12-25-2018, 06:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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My Excelsior is 7 years old and hasn't given me any trouble. I have a bed extender for it and turn canes on it regularly. It isn't variable speed, but I can change belts in about 30 seconds without even looking LOL. Four of my turners at the blind center have them, too, and no problems. (Rockler gives us a great deal for my blind turners!)

And I have proof I make the best chili

https://www.thedailymeal.com/recipes...b-chili-recipe
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Old 12-25-2018, 06:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Mark makes a good chili. I have tasted it. But the best? I think we need a blind taste test. I think mine might be in the top 4.

I have a Jet, Rikon, several off Craig's list......they all work well. VS is a must in my opinion. And like someone said......in some cases, it is only a paint job difference. My go to lathe is my Jet. Love the way everything works.
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