I am disappointed

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Review by MNgary posted 10-20-2011 10:30 AM 9096 views 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Average rating: 3.5
2 reviews total
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I am disappointed No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

While not, in my opinion, a professional level lathe this full-sized lathe is adequate for advanced hobbyists wanting to turn spindles longer than popular midi lathes allow and it does a nice job turning turning shallow bowls. I have not turned pens so do not know how it performs for that more precision task.

Assembly is straightforward and waiting until the 170 pound lathe is placed in its final location before tightening the stand’s bolts allows installation on an uneven concrete floor without the need for leg levelers. Stability is surprisingly good and I have not found a need to add sandbags or other weight on the stand to eliminate vibration. And, after turning more than a few dozen projects, the bolts were still as tight as when initially installed even though I did not use lock-tite.

The 3/4 HP motor has sufficient power to turn cherry and walnut 10” by 4” deep bowls, perhaps even larger but this is the largest I have turned. It also provides the power needed to round and then turn 4” square red oak spindle stock 32” long. The maximum distance between spindles is 35” and height above the tool rest is over 8”, but my spindle work has not exceeded 4” by 32”.

Users are limited to six pre-set speeds ranging from 550 to 3000 rpm. The lathe needs to be running when changing the speed so it needs to be set for initial turning rpm before mounting the stock.

The rotating head is a feature I could not live without. Range of rotation is a full 180 degrees plus and I appreciate and use the outboard bed extension. However, use of the lathe with the head rotated is a challenge because of the tool rest base extension (see below).

The tailstock allows hollow centers for boring and ejects by fully retracting the tailstock. A knockout rod is included for removal of drive centers. I use Sroby drive and live centers with no problems, but I notice a very slight out-of-round situation when using the a Nova G3 chuck and accessories.

I expected better engineering standards and quality control from JET than this lathe includes. Even though JET readily shipped a replacement tool rest base extension at no cost each time I complained, all three (original plus the two replacements) had the same problem with JET unable to offer a solution. With the extension there is a 1/8 inch drop across a 12 inch tool rest because the post is not 90 degrees to the tool rest. Using the tool rest base without the extension provides a parallel to the bed tool rest, however, so the problem is with the extension. In addition, JET’s 6” tool rest has a post which does fit into the tool rest base and, thus, cannot be used. The crudely cast iron 12” tool rest definetly needs filing before use. These, in addition to the G3 . . .

Personally, if I were to purchase a mid-priced lathe again I’d purchase another brand. While the JET 1236 does the job and is priced below other manufacturers with the same features, the quality of this lathe is below my expectations for a machine in this price range.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View MNgary's profile


318 posts in 3191 days

17 comments so far

View northwoodsman's profile


261 posts in 4520 days

#1 posted 10-20-2011 02:52 PM

Thanks for the review. I had been looking at this one for a future purchase.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3467 days

#2 posted 10-20-2011 03:00 PM

A non-parallel tool rest is about the biggest deal killer I can think of on any lathe of any price. That really surprises me. I’ve been happy with my mini but if I go bigger, I’ll likely look elsewhere. The smallest of the OneWays are within reach, I suppose.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View StumpyNubs's profile


7808 posts in 3574 days

#3 posted 10-20-2011 04:04 PM

Take it back and get the Harbor Freight version. It’s the same lathe, just comes in a different color and with a parallel tool rest. Oh, and it’s less that half the price…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View CartersWhittling's profile


453 posts in 3447 days

#4 posted 10-20-2011 07:45 PM

Thanks for the review. I have a Jet Mini Lathe and have been very satisfied with it. My only complaint would be the tool rest has too soft a steel so it progressively becomes markered with small dents which eventually make it hard to slide your gouge across it nicely. But since the steel is soft you can easily file it smooth again.

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4461 days

#5 posted 10-20-2011 08:02 PM

How much did you pay for it and did you tell Jet that you would be returning it for another brand if they couldn’t “fix” the problem for you ?
The G3 out of round issue shouldn’t be part of your Jet review , unless you’ve used it on another comparable lathe and it ran perfectly true.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3848 days

#6 posted 10-20-2011 08:14 PM

This is a well written and comprehensive review. Thank you.

This lathe is available from CPO tools for $899 plus shipping. I think it is interesting to compare this lathe with the Grizzly G0462, which I own and like very much. The Grizzly cost $545 plus $94 for shipping. It has a 2 hp motor and variable speed via a Reeves system. I won’t go over all the specifications. However, I will say that even if they were the same price, I think the Grizzly has more to offer. In particular, I think the Jet’s 3/4 hp motor is inadequate for larger bowls. As an FYI, I have turned a 12” bowl on my Grizzly.

I don’t mean to “rain on your parade”, but I find this comparison interesting and relevant.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4044 days

#7 posted 10-20-2011 08:24 PM

Funny, Jet is the lathe that most companies copy.

I have an older version and use it exclusively for longer spindles and metal spinning/turning – it has performed adequately for this….I also have a Powermatic 3520b – which I turn bowls, boxes and hollow forms on. The powermatic does not have the bed extension and that is a bit costly in my book.

I have heard good and bad about the HF model….the same with the grizzly…Their mid level lathes are built for weekend turners though and do not have the capacity nor the equipment for sustained turning that an advanced turner needs.

I do recommend that you make or purchase an aftermarket tool rests….the jet and even the powermatic stock rests are junk in my opinion….they will work but they are not comfortable or suitable for certain types of cuts. If you have access to a welder or small shop – it is cheap to get some round stock and have it welded to a post. If not – woodcraft…peachtree…etc…etc..all sell aftermarket rests that will do the trick.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View thedude50's profile


3611 posts in 3251 days

#8 posted 10-21-2011 01:32 AM

i got this lathe about 6 years ago. I do not have the tool rest problem you described the lathe is plenty strong hp rating on jet tools is always conservative. I have turned several bowls up to the lathes limit that is less than 12 inches and the motor has yet to have any trouble i also turned a 6 inch set of bed posts in 3 parts each. they turned out fine. this is a small lathe that has met all my needs and quality has never been an issue with any of the jet tools i own. I am not sure what the problem is that you are having with the extension arm but am sorry you are having this trouble.I know jet will work with you to resolve your issue and if they don’t pm me and i will talk to my contact there and have resolved problems for others this way. as far as being surprised that jet is copied and that the harbor freight is the same lathe it is not the same lathe it is not made to jet specs it is very similar and yes a copy of the jet it is not made in the same plant as jet uses one mfg to make their stuff and they are exclusive this is not to say the harbor freight isn’t a good deal because it is and someone should look at it closely when buying in this class as they should also look at the grizzly. remember though the hp ratings on the grizz is php and on the jet its nominal hp big difference apples to apples

-- Please check out my new stores and

View Yeorwned's profile


55 posts in 3316 days

#9 posted 10-23-2011 05:38 AM

I love the comments where people try to talk you into believing that this is the same as a Horror Freight lathe…

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3822 days

#10 posted 10-23-2011 11:09 PM

I bought that exact same lathe (except paint ) from Harbor Freight for $179.00 on sale and with 20% rebate.
People who say that these are not the same lathes should provide some proofs.
I believe that they are the same lathes made in the same plant,like many other tools sold both by HF and other companies such as Jet.

-- Bert

View thedude50's profile


3611 posts in 3251 days

#11 posted 10-24-2011 12:51 AM

actually you should provide proof that it is the same. i know engineers at jet and they have assured me that it is not made in the jet plant. they acknowledge that its a copy and that it looks very similar they say its not the same lathe. i have worked with them 20 years and i believe them one thing for sure is the h f marketing is trying to make people believe they are getting jet or delta quality for half the price and this strategy is working. people actually believe they are getting the same tool for half the price. mine is here if you bring yours we can match them up part for part we will find the difference, i assure you i have already told you that jet runs a exclusive plant i have this on their word i have known them for a long time and i trust their word

-- Please check out my new stores and

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4461 days

#12 posted 10-24-2011 04:47 AM

I like the 90DAY warranty WITH Limitations on the HF lathe.

versus the 5 YEAR JET warranty : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3834 days

#13 posted 10-24-2011 08:04 PM

Looking at pictures is not accurate way to say its the same. You will have to compare them sided by side up close.

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3822 days

#14 posted 10-24-2011 08:19 PM

Where I live I have a Jet distributor on one side of the street and right across the street is Harbor Freight, they cannot get any closer.
When I am shopping, I “shop to death” examining,touching, playing with, comparing and asking question.
The last thing that I shopped for is the metal cutting band saw sold both by HF for @179.00 on sale and by Jet for over $400.00 also on sale. If these two saws are not made by the same people in the same factory, I am not American.
The same is true for many tools sold by Jet and other brand.
If you get think that you get more for your money by buying Jet or Grizzly products, I am glad for you,
I rather buy HF.I have been a satisfied HF customer for well over 20 years.

-- Bert

View Yurik's profile


10 posts in 3193 days

#15 posted 12-16-2011 06:37 AM

I have the same from Harbor Freight. I believe (I hope at least) that so called “Central Machinery” used lower quality materials. I noticed that excentic rod in tool rest holder bends when I try to overtight it. Plastic handles on tailstock fix and on toolrest parts are horrible. Other than that it works fine and very versatile.
I actually could not understand why normal (good) lathe priced so high, their tag starts from over $2000 and for Powermatic it is $4000. There is literally nothing special besides variable frequency motor, heavy cast iron, and good ball bearings.
I think it is small production quantity and high demand (I sold my old $90 lathe on craigslist in 1 hour and had 6 requests). I actually called this starter lathe “lanchpad for projectiles”

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