Awesome little lathe (and bed extension)

  • Advertise with us
Review by John posted 07-23-2010 05:15 AM 8718 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Awesome little lathe (and bed extension) Awesome little lathe (and bed extension) Awesome little lathe (and bed extension) Click the pictures to enlarge them

My shopsmith was a great intro into turning, but it was just way too short and I had to bend uncomfortably to use it.

This lathe is set to the perfect height on a shop built bench.

Bought it last year on sale at woodcraft – December I think – I believe they go on sale every winter, worth the wait.

This little lathe has lots of power, is built like a rock and was thoughtfully designed including the tool caddy that hangs off the back of the headstock. Speed changes are quick using the pulleys. It has index stops, 1”by 8TPI head and MT#2 on both ends with built in knock out on the tail and a knock out rod in the head. both ends are hollow through so lamp drilling or vacuum chucks are viable.

I have 2 issues, one my fault, one either my fault or lack of understanding (anyone suggesting I should read the manual is itching for a fight – I would sooner ask for directions when driving)

1 – My bench is not on an even floor – even with shims, the top is not perfectly level, as a result, the tailstock is not perfectly aligned with the headstock – especially so when the tailstock is on the extension – I have more alignment work to do.

2 – The tailstock loosens too quickly from vibration in my opinion – probably me and I probably need to adjust the cam clamp somehow, but the banjo cam is great and stays tight, I guess I just expect the tailstock to be the same way out of the box.

I’ve done little bowls, tool handles, pens and a fat stubby bat so far – I love this little lathe and recommend it to anyone considering the more expensive Jet midi.

-- John - Central PA -

View John's profile


341 posts in 4599 days

11 comments so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3843 days

#1 posted 07-23-2010 05:20 AM

Maybe you should read, just kidding. Great review, I am looking into lathes in the next few month, thanks for the review.

View lew's profile


13143 posts in 4556 days

#2 posted 07-23-2010 05:36 AM

Thanks for the review! Looks like a pretty impressive piece of equipment.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View MOJOE's profile


571 posts in 4070 days

#3 posted 07-24-2010 02:44 PM

Hey, I wonder if you might be better off shimming the lathe to help align. You can probably find some metal shim material somewhere. Not sure about adjusting the cam clamp, as I have never seen it…...probably fairly straightforward though…...thanks for the review, I have been looking at this lathe for a while now, and since there is a WoodCraft down the street from my office, I will stop by there in the winter.

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4514 days

#4 posted 07-24-2010 04:29 PM

tighten the metal plate under the tail stock so when you use the cam clamp it clamps all the way down. i have the same lathe as my little portable lathe it is a great tool.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View jerset's profile


37 posts in 3668 days

#5 posted 07-29-2010 05:28 AM

I agree this a great heavy lathe. I got mine a year and a half ago. Turned several bowls and a few spindle projects. The only problem was the indexing pin fell out, called Rikon and had a tech walk me through the fix in 2 minutes, got lucky and found the pin in the chips under the lathe and got it back in with needle nose pliers.

-- jerset

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3899 days

#6 posted 09-08-2010 11:11 PM

I just purchased this lathe today. (9-8-2010) I went into Woodcraft, to look at the Jet mni and low and behold, the Rikon was on sale for $269.99…Normal list is $349.99.
I loaded it up, brought it home, and had just the right height and length bench to set it on.
It took me all of 30 minutes to clean off the rust preventer and put together. I have a few Jacobs chucks with the #2 morse taper laying around, so I shoved one in the spindle, (instant 3 jaw chuck), one in the tailstock and I was drilling and turning oak dowelrod into a pulley in about an hour after purchase!
The lathe out of the box is dead on, assembly was effortless and he quality looks and feels great. it just humms
I’m a happy camper, as I’m into whirligigs and this lathe is just the right size for pulleys, small pins etc.
Hmmm, maybe I’ll turn a bowl…...........

View HorizontalMike's profile


7874 posts in 3715 days

#7 posted 12-09-2012 07:06 PM

I’ve got my eye on this one. If the funds come in, I’ll bite. Thanks for the review.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3899 days

#8 posted 12-09-2012 07:49 PM

It’s been 2+ years since I bought mine.
Still love it and no issues.
Mike, check at Woodcraft. Maybe they’ll tell you when it go’s on sale.

View woodturner52's profile


8 posts in 2870 days

#9 posted 01-19-2013 02:59 PM

After much research, decided on this lathe. Been a wood turner since high school shop class. Just purchased 1/12/2013, can’t wait to set up. Replaces Craftsman variable speed lathe. More to follow after set up and use!

View woodturner52's profile


8 posts in 2870 days

#10 posted 09-15-2014 11:46 PM

Purchased this lathe to replace the one I had. I’m very pleased with my purchase. Set up of lathe was a breeze. Headstock and tailstock alignment was dead-on right out of box. The Rikon 70-100 is a quality machined product. Speed changes are easy and convenient. Quiet and smooth running this lathe has plenty of power. Purchased bed extension to turn 35” long 2-1/4” square posts for cradle, 70-100 handled the job no problem. Bed extension alignment was also easy, just take your time. Slight problem with banjo loosening up but adjustment of nut on bottom solved it.
The spring clip that holds speed change cover closed was broken. One email to Rikon customer service and two days later new clip was in mailbox, great customer service! Looking forward to many hours of fine turning.

I have since turned many pens and other projects. This lathe has handled every project without any trouble. Have upgraded lathe with variable speed kit 79-100. Very pleased with the upgrade, makes speed changes even easier. Love this lathe so much bought 2nd one to use and have as backup. No problems with set up. Alignment dead on right out of the box. Kudo’s to Rikon for such a great product with a great price!

View Clutch's profile


4 posts in 2033 days

#11 posted 01-11-2015 04:46 PM

Thanks for the review.

Just checking in to see if anyone else has used the lathe regularly with the bed extension for more spindle work in the 3 inch wide by 36 inch long range.

I am looking to turn spindles in this range only and am trying to decide between this model and the 70-220.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics