Very, Very nice beginner lathe

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Review by teenagewoodworker posted 12-24-2008 06:00 AM 4179 views 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Very, Very nice beginner lathe No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

i have had my Jet mini lathe for about 5 months now and it is a solid performer. there is a lot to consider when looking at lather so this will be a pretty long review but worth it.


Power is a big thing when looking into a lathe. this lathe is 1/2 hp which is underpowered. this lathe does do quite well though. i find that i can stall it up up usually i am good. the only times that i have been able to stall it up is when roughing out very large out of true logs. other than that it has the power to handle most anything you can fit on it.

Variable Speed

Variable speed is always a nice thing to have on a lathe but is not on this lathe so i will go over changing the speed. it is a belt and pulley system and i find it really easy to change. the only problem with this is that the places for you to put your hands in are very small especially if you have big hands. and to get the lowest speed can be a challenge.


the stand that i got with this lathe is very nice. it is solid and holds up well. on most small pieces i don’t have much vibration at all. the only times i have got vibration is when i am roughing out logs. most notably when i was roughing out a 10” log. (don’t ask how i did it) it was literally moving but for most work that is usually done on a lathe like this it is very good.

Fit and Finish

this is a very good lathe as far as fit and finish go. it is a good looker but not the best. but it really doesn’t matter how it looks but how it is built. this is a very sturdy lathe with the exception of the nuts and bolts. this is where most tools made over seas are lacking. they think they can skimp on quality there but they are very improtant. for example the nut that works the clamping action of the tail stock got stripped so i added another high quality nut and it clamps wonderfully now.


this lathe is a solid performer. the only reason why i gave is a 4 is because the nut that does the tail stock clamping action stripped and because it is underpowered. other than that it is a solid performer and i would highly recommend it.

View teenagewoodworker's profile


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18 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35227 posts in 5288 days

#1 posted 12-24-2008 06:14 AM

I’ve got the Penn State industries lathe and it looks like a carbon copy of what you got. Even down to the adjustment for moving the motor up to loosen the belt.

I ordered the variable speed because I had it on an earlier Ryobi and I liked that feature. I also got an extension bed so that I can turn 36” items.

My first was a cane for my mother-in-law, and the only thing I’ve turned on my lathe.

On mine the tail stock wouldn’t got from the original table to the extension table without filing some cast iron from the inside of the bed on both pieces. The chisel holder had the same problem going across the two beds.

Great review.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View lew's profile


13198 posts in 4643 days

#2 posted 12-24-2008 06:34 AM

Nice writeup Denis.

I like where Jet put the On-Off switch.


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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4561 days

#3 posted 12-24-2008 07:05 AM

Congrats on the lathe, Denis.

View mmh's profile


3680 posts in 4610 days

#4 posted 12-24-2008 07:56 AM

Nice toy! Enjoy using it. I hope to see some projects soon.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Bill Akins's profile

Bill Akins

425 posts in 4586 days

#5 posted 12-24-2008 03:23 PM

Nice lathe. I have played with my Dad’s and hope to get one after the holidays. Looking forward to your turnings.

-- Bill from Lithia Springs, GA I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 4676 days

#6 posted 12-24-2008 06:17 PM


I have been working on this lathe for over 5 years now. I agree with many of your points. Keep in mind though that if you are stalling out the lathe too much you may need to sharpen your tools and lighten up the cut. I know what your talking about but I use it as a tutor to improve my technique. I figure I will upgrade one of these days but so far this lathe has covered everything from pens to bowls. I bought the extension and I table legs on it too. Great write up and if you recent work is any sign then I think this lathe works great.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4656 days

#7 posted 12-24-2008 07:19 PM

thanks Shannon. i do keep my tools sharp though like i said the only time i’ve stalled it is when i am roughing out big logs. ones that have it hopping around the floor. in any regular situation it has been fine.

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4762 days

#8 posted 12-24-2008 07:41 PM

I have this lathe, too, and I really like it. I do find that sometimes the tool rest is a little tricky to move unless I reach down and move the hold-down beneath the lathe with my other hand.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6872 posts in 4867 days

#9 posted 12-25-2008 05:01 PM

Good review Denis.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View pitchnsplinters's profile


263 posts in 4326 days

#10 posted 12-27-2008 07:18 AM

Great review, all the points that sold me on picking one up. found the 1014vsi on Craigslist, just brought it home today. Can’t wait to make shavings!

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4446 days

#11 posted 12-27-2008 02:48 PM

Great review Dennis. I have one just like it too. I use it for small projects and have a Delta for all my other projects. How do you sharpen your tools? I just got a Worksharp WS3000 for Christmas and will be getting it setup today I hope. Will have to do a review on it after I use it.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4656 days

#12 posted 12-27-2008 05:35 PM

cabinet master i have a grinder to sharpen. works nice. its not really a grinder though. just a grinding wheel on a motor LOL

View Tom O'Brien's profile

Tom O'Brien

120 posts in 4833 days

#13 posted 12-26-2009 03:53 AM

I have one of these lathes, purchased from a church member who was giving up turning for health reasons. It came with a Supernova chuck and a great bunch of accessories, including a set of Sorby tools, a set of Crown mini tools, and a nice roughing gouge. The only difficulty I have is with speed changing. The lever that tensions the belt is tricky. I’m thinking of a minor redesign to improve it. Santa brought me a Cole Jaw Set sized for the Supernova and a small lathe. Can’t wait to do some bowl turning! This lathe is just right for my small shop.

-- Every project is a learning opportunity, every error a design opportunity

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4656 days

#14 posted 12-26-2009 03:54 AM

yeah same here. i got a supernova chuck as well and the bed extension. its a great lathe.

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4256 days

#15 posted 12-26-2009 04:47 AM

I needed a small lathe for my winter shop a few years ago. I bought one of these Jet minis and absolutely love it. I got one of the barracuda 2 chuck systems and couldn’t be happier.

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