Upgrading my lathe

Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

RunnerVince

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
38
Location
Ogden, UT
My 1953 Craftsman is, I think, on it's last leg. There's a knocking noise coming from it and even a new belt and new bearings haven't fixed the issue. I can still use it, but it's only a matter of time before it outright breaks or I get so annoyed with it that I stop turning. So I'm in the market. I'm looking at the following lathes:

Delta 46-460
Jet 1221VS
Nova Comet II DR
Nova Comet 14DR
Laguna Revo 1216
Rikon 70-220VSR

On paper, they're all about the same in most respects, except for the variation in distance between centers. My top priority is that the headstock and tailstock are aligned and that things lock down and stay where they're supposed to. All these lathes have the speeed ranges I want, and as long as belt changes aren't a complete hassle, I don't mind changing belts to get a higher finishing speed or a lower sanding speed.

Any of you that own any of these lathes, I'd appreciate comments on what you like most and least about your lathe. I'm also open to suggestions if I've missed one you think I should consider. I'm OK with anything in the $500 to $850 range. I don't need tools or accessories except to replace a few MT1 items from my current lathe and shorter/longer toolrests depending on what comes with a given lathe, and I'm accounting for those separately.

Thanks in advance.
 
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

More4dan

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2016
Messages
2,031
Location
Katy, TX
I started with the same list heavily leaning toward the Laguna. After seeing the back ordered delivery date and a Rikon sale, I opted for the 70-220VSR. I liked the longer warranty and really liked the fact that the tail stock could drill 3 1/2” without repositioning it. The longer bed was also a bonus. It is quiet and very smooth. The headstock has a run out of less than 0.001”. Lock down has been very solid. I haven’t checked alignment on purpose but it drills proper sized holes, so it’s close.

Changing the belt location is simple and torque at low speed has been good.

I used the savings in cost vs the Laguna to get a quality chuck and other tooling. The tool resy is a bit rough but a few minutes of sanding fixed it.

Danny



Sent from my iPhone using Penturners.org mobile app
 

mbroberg

IAP Activities Manager, Emeritus
Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
5,827
Location
Columbus, OH
I have had the Delta but did have some problems with it such as the reverse stopped working and I had to replace the switch several times. I now have the Rikon and I love it. I had one problem with the speed readout, Rikon sent me a new one under warranty.
 

CVATurner

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
11
Location
Arizona
I have the Laguna and I love it. Belt changes are a breeze. It did take a couple of months to get it but we'll worth the wait in my opinion. I purchased the stand and extension as well. I highly recommend both accessories.
 

corks58

Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2016
Messages
54
Location
Wasilla Ak.
I have the 46-460 and the comet ll
I like the comet ll more than the 46-460
The comet ll is dead on between the headstock and Tailstock. The controls are on the right side and I'm right handed
The reverse is a no brainer since you have to turn the lathe off to switch no need to worry about fully coming to a complete stop. It's quieter too.
 

Jarod888

Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
Messages
170
Location
Brighton, Colorado
I've had the comet II and the jet 1221. Stay away from the comet. It is lightweight and really should be considered a mini lathe rather than a midi. The jet 1221 is very nice. It's heavy and well made. Ive turned on a laguna 1216 and it isnt as nice as the jet. You are almost going to have to add the bed extension to make it useable so that increases the price by another 150. The jet has recently been on sale for 699, so see if you can pick it up for that.
 

turnit2020

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
70
Location
Marietta, GA
Had a 46-460. the on/off switch failed. The part was discontinued and the main bearing was going bad. Got a Rikon. Like Mike had a speed control go bad but they replaced it and that one went bad as well. Rikon replaced the entire lathe in 2 days. Is been great ever since. They do stand behind their warranty and I have no problem recommending their products. Good luck with your choice and happy turning.
 

TonyL

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2014
Messages
8,015
Location
Alpharetta, GA 30004
I look for this:
  1. >= 3/4 HP
  2. EVS
  3. Reverse
  4. >=3 year warranty
  5. Wide individual belt speed ranges

Happy hunting; you listed many nice choices!
 

RunnerVince

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
38
Location
Ogden, UT
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I'm gathering that those who have used the Jet and the Laguna like the Jet better, and those who've used the Laguna and the Rikon like the Rikon better. That said, the Rikon still sounds like a great lathe. Given that the Laguna is currently $100 more than the Jet, I'm down to the Jet and the Rikon.

Has anyone used both the Rikon and the Jet? And is the difference worth the extra $100? I've been turning for about 5 years now, and I do a lot of pens, small spindle work (Harry Potter wands that I give to local kids to get them into reading), small bowls, tops, and the like.

Thanks,

Vince
 

RunnerVince

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
38
Location
Ogden, UT
I've had the comet II and the jet 1221. Stay away from the comet. It is lightweight and really should be considered a mini lathe rather than a midi. The jet 1221 is very nice. It's heavy and well made. Ive turned on a laguna 1216 and it isnt as nice as the jet. You are almost going to have to add the bed extension to make it useable so that increases the price by another 150. The jet has recently been on sale for 699, so see if you can pick it up for that.
Hey Jarod,

What size tool rest does the Jet come with? I couldn't find that info anywhere, and I'll need to get another tool rest (either smaller for pens or larger for bigger work or vice versa) if I go with the Jet.

Thanks,

Vince
 

JimB

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
4,646
Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
I’ve used both the Laguna and the Jet you mention. They are both well built lathes. I’ve never used the Rikon. You should get out a piece of paper and write down the specs for each machine and then decide what one fits your needs better. There are differences such as bed length, tool post, speeds etc. only you will know which one will fit your needs.
 

Jarod888

Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
Messages
170
Location
Brighton, Colorado
Hey Jarod,

What size tool rest does the Jet come with? I couldn't find that info anywhere, and I'll need to get another tool rest (either smaller for pens or larger for bigger work or vice versa) if I go with the Jet.

Thanks,

Vince
The post is 5/8" in diameter, 3.75 inches long and the flat part of the tool rest is 6 inches long.
I believe there is a vender on here, Rick Harrell or Ferrell, and he sells the round bar kind. I have a 3 inch one and it is awesome. I need to get a couple more in different sizes.
 

RunnerVince

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
38
Location
Ogden, UT
You should get out a piece of paper and write down the specs for each machine and then decide what one fits your needs better.

I've got an entire spreadsheet. On paper, I'm okay with any of the lathes. I really don't do anything larger than 5"-6" in diameter or longer than 12", which means the specs on any of them would meet my needs. I'm just wondering about the operation and feel. Price aside, which of the two lathes would you buy if you were getting another lathe, and why?
 

Fish30114

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2014
Messages
484
Location
Burbs of Atlanta,Georgia
Rick Herrell is the man! I've bought a lot of 'stuff' from him and recommend anything he makes whole heartedly. I had the Jet and it must have been a Friday night special--I had too many issues to list quickly, and also had a horrible experience with customer service--I will say that everyone I've spoken to was very surprised at my negative experience with Jet CS. I will say that I have worked on the Rikon and the Laguna and many others--I like the Laguna, but the Rikon is a really good machine--I have a lot of Rikon power tools and there CS is superb.

Good luck with whichever you pick!
 

JimB

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
4,646
Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
I've got an entire spreadsheet. On paper, I'm okay with any of the lathes. I really don't do anything larger than 5"-6" in diameter or longer than 12", which means the specs on any of them would meet my needs. I'm just wondering about the operation and feel. Price aside, which of the two lathes would you buy if you were getting another lathe, and why?
That's a good question. I don’t know which one I would buy As they are both excellent machines. Although I have used both I don’t own either. What I would do is borrow one of each and really test drive them. I know most people wouldn’t have the ability to borrow lathes but I know I can So that is what I would do. I know that really doesn’t help you.
 

RunnerVince

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
38
Location
Ogden, UT
My local Woodcraft uses the Rikons for their turning classes. You might be able to try different models between them or Rockler and checkout some well used models.


Sent from my iPad using Penturners.org mobile app
That's great advice Dan. I was planning on heading down to Woodcraft soon to actually see some of these lathes, so I'll talk to them about maybe getting five minutes on one of their lathes, or at least about how they like them for their classes. I'm new to my woodturning club, and most members are older, so with all the COVID stuff, I don't want to put anyone at risk right now--and that's assumming any of them have any of the lathes I'm looking at.
 

philipff

Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2009
Messages
489
Location
Williamsburg, VA
My 1953 Craftsman is, I think, on it's last leg. There's a knocking noise coming from it and even a new belt and new bearings haven't fixed the issue. I can still use it, but it's only a matter of time before it outright breaks or I get so annoyed with it that I stop turning. So I'm in the market. I'm looking at the following lathes:

Delta 46-460
Jet 1221VS
Nova Comet II DR
Nova Comet 14DR
Laguna Revo 1216
Rikon 70-220VSR

On paper, they're all about the same in most respects, except for the variation in distance between centers. My top priority is that the headstock and tailstock are aligned and that things lock down and stay where they're supposed to. All these lathes have the speeed ranges I want, and as long as belt changes aren't a complete hassle, I don't mind changing belts to get a higher finishing speed or a lower sanding speed.

Any of you that own any of these lathes, I'd appreciate comments on what you like most and least about your lathe. I'm also open to suggestions if I've missed one you think I should consider. I'm OK with anything in the $500 to $850 range. I don't need tools or accessories except to replace a few MT1 items from my current lathe and shorter/longer toolrests depending on what comes with a given lathe, and I'm accounting for those separately.

Thanks in advance.
So? WHere is the Powermatic on your list. Do not cut yourself short! MY PM is now 25 years old and has had Zero malfunctions. P.
 

RunnerVince

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
38
Location
Ogden, UT
So? WHere is the Powermatic on your list. Do not cut yourself short! MY PM is now 25 years old and has had Zero malfunctions. P.
In my research, I didn't come across a new Powermatic in my price range, although I did look for one because it's a brand I recognize. Is there a particular model (new rather than used, midi, in the $500-$900 range) that I should look at?
 

Jarod888

Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
Messages
170
Location
Brighton, Colorado
No. The lowest price powermatic available is the new. 2014 model, which uses a built in inverter to step down the 220 motor to standard 110 household current (essentially, so you can plug it in to any outlet). They recommend a 15 amp outlet, but I noticed that it pulls 14 to 15 amps, so I would put it on a 20 amp with 12 guage wire. Powertools often pull the heighest amps during startup, so I would want a buffer over the maximum draw of the lathe. It does have the ability to sit on a bench, so I would consider it a midi lathe. However, the price is about 2x your top end.

It is on sale right now because pm is having their semi annual 10% off event (normal price is 1999), but I believe it is out of stock everywhere. You might be able to order one and get it in July. I think woodcraft or rockler would honor the sale price (1799) or so.

FYI it is sustancially heavier than any of the current midi lathes. Without the stand, it comes in around 225 lbs. The jet is 125 ish.

Just something to consider, more weight equals less vibration.

In my research, I didn't come across a new Powermatic in my price range, although I did look for one because it's a brand I recognize. Is there a particular model (new rather than used, midi, in the $500-$900 range) that I should look at?
 

RunnerVince

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
38
Location
Ogden, UT
No. The lowest price powermatic available is the new. 2014 model, which uses a built in inverter to step down the 220 motor to standard 110 household current (essentially, so you can plug it in to any outlet). They recommend a 15 amp outlet, but I noticed that it pulls 14 to 15 amps, so I would put it on a 20 amp with 12 guage wire. Powertools often pull the heighest amps during startup, so I would want a buffer over the maximum draw of the lathe. It does have the ability to sit on a bench, so I would consider it a midi lathe. However, the price is about 2x your top end.

Aside from more than doubling the price, I live in a 40+ year old apartment complex, with my lathe set up on the balcony. Even if I had the knowhow/money to do any rewiring, I couldn't because of not owning the space. So that makes this one a bit of a gamble.

I've decided to try the Rikon 70-220VSR, and put an order in with Woodcraft today. Now for the excruciating 10+day wait for it to get in. I'll post back with a review once I get it in and up and running.

Thanks for all the advice everyone!

One note: Is there a way to make a sticky "what lathe should I buy" post here? I'm sure I'm not the first to ask for advice on a lathe to buy, and maybe a sticky would help us from rehashing the same advice over and over, as I'm sure some of you were kind enough to do for me.
 

Jarod888

Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
Messages
170
Location
Brighton, Colorado
Aside from more than doubling the price, I live in a 40+ year old apartment complex, with my lathe set up on the balcony. Even if I had the knowhow/money to do any rewiring, I couldn't because of not owning the space. So that makes this one a bit of a gamble.

I've decided to try the Rikon 70-220VSR, and put an order in with Woodcraft today. Now for the excruciating 10+day wait for it to get in. I'll post back with a review once I get it in and up and running.

Thanks for all the advice everyone!

One note: Is there a way to make a sticky "what lathe should I buy" post here? I'm sure I'm not the first to ask for advice on a lathe to buy, and maybe a sticky would help us from rehashing the same advice over and over, as I'm sure some of you were kind enough to do for me.

Great choice! Im sure you will enjoy it.
 

RunnerVince

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
38
Location
Ogden, UT
My 10-day wait turned into more than a month because Rikon was out of stock, but I finally got my new lathe last Thursday. I spent most of Friday and Saturday using it, and am so impressed:
  • The motor doesn't bog down at all
  • The speed stays constant even under load
  • Belt changes are super-easy (and I really only change from the mid-range to the slow range for drilling blanks)
  • I've already had a chance to appreciate the extra inch on the tailstock quill over the other midi lathes I was looking at
  • Headstock/tailstock were dead on right out of the box
  • Setup was super easy
On top of all that, there are a bunch of things that were great just because of what I was upgrading from: the hand wheel on the headstock, the crank handle on the tailstock, modern ways and banjo, the MT2 instead of MT1 (so much more solid), variable speed, reverse, and so on. I think I'll be a happy camper for YEARS to come.

Thanks again everyone for your advice!
 
Top Bottom