Reply by Underdog

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Posted on Opinions on Lathes

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1438 posts in 2646 days

#1 posted 11-10-2018 01:41 PM

Not a big fan of Reeves drives myself. Too much maintenance involved. And I’ve had bad experiences with them.
And by the way, the Jet 1642s are NOT reeves drives, they’re EVS.

I’ve owned these lathes:

Big Lots Special with the stamped sheet metal bed and square tubes where you have to unbolt all kinds of things to change the belts. Also the speeds are too high even on lowest setting. Also you have to use a wrench to move the tailstock and the tool rest. I DO NOT RECOMMEND. I can tell you plenty of funny stories about my first lathe, but I still don’t recommend this little monster.

Harbor Freight 12/36 w Reeves Drive and swivel head. locking handles broke off, Reeves Drive blew up, centers never lined up because the headstock swivels. ETC ETC. I don’t recommend this lathe either.

Old Delta Rockwell gap bed lathe. Never really got it running. It was missing a motor and assorted parts. Good cast iron, but these old lathes are missing the features that make turning a pleasurable experience. Like #2 morse tapers, banjo fittings for tool rest and tailstock, standard spindle size, locking handles for toolrest and quill. Don’t recommend these either.

Jet 1014. It’s a good little lathe for the money. I did have to return my first one for several reasons, but the second one is nearly bullet proof. Still have it and use it time to time. Not EVS or large capacity, but you can buy an extension and increase the length possible. And changing belts to change speeds isn’t really a big deal. And you can turn bowls and spindles on it. Decent lathe. Do recommend.

My first really decent Heavy Duty lathe was a Jet 1642 EVS 2HP.
Pros: Decent lathe. Enough power and capacity to do anything I really wanted. Standard tapers and spindle sizes. Can buy accessories easily. EVS is WONDERFUL! Cast iron is good. Jet has a good warranty (5 years) and good service. I enjoyed this lathe for many years.
Cons: I couldn’t turn anything over 16”, so I had to borrow a friends Powermatic. Also, never could get the centers to line up exactly despite Jet sending me several tailstocks, adjusting the legs/feet, and shimming, filing etc. Also beware the motor. Back then many people had trouble with the motor shaft bending and causing a “knock” in the head stock. Unfortunately mine started just before it went out of warranty, and I didn’t realize what it was until a month or two after. Jet and the local motor man said that tightening the belts too tight would cause this. I don’t remember doing that…
Keep in mind that the Powermatic is made by the same company and the motors and EVS are essentially the same- but just enough different shaft configuration so that you can’t interchange….

I sold that lathe after I got a Stratos from Colt/Riss. I was supposed to write a review on it, but never finished it.
It’s decent though – especially for the price.

I’ve got friends who’ve purchased the Nova EVS and are happy with it. Their only complaint was it’s light weight. You can always add more weight with a box of sand though.

My friend with the PM is happy with his lathe. And he uses the dog crap out of it.

Good luck with your search. Hope this helps.

And above all, HAVE FUN!

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

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