Nova 1624-44 Lathe Review

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Review by dmann posted 03-10-2009 05:47 AM 26324 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Nova 1624-44 Lathe Review No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Thanks go to Tim Dorcas for his thorough review on the 1624-44. It helped me a lot with my choice. Instead of rehashing Tim’s review I will outline anything I have discovered or observed since his review and highlight my likes/dislikes.

I have had my eye on the 1624 for a while and I decided to buy because Woodcraft had them in stock and on sale this month. My Jet 1220 was on its way to a new home this morning thanks to Craigslist.

My impressions after 4 days with the 1624:

Assembly took about 2 hours by myself. It is a curse/blessing that I weigh almost as much as the lathe :/ Having a friend around to help would have made this quicker and safer.

The included stand is OK for my purposes but I can understand wanting to upgrade to the cast iron stand or weigh it down with some sandbags. That being said the stand still pretty beefy – cast iron fittings and heavy box section steel legs. If I turn larger pieces or try outboard turning I will definitely be weighing it down or bolting it to the floor.

I was used to changing belts on my Jet 1220 so I just had to get used to the different levers and safety mechanisms on the 1624. The cam is easy to use and changing speeds takes less than 1 minute. Eventually I will spring for a lathe with variable speed, but for right now this works for me—I’ll keep the extra $1000 in my pocket for tools and accessories.

I like the ability to go forward and reverse. I’m not sure if this was covered in the sales literature but it is nice to have the option to reverse especially when sanding. Be careful about reversing at high speeds, make sure your chuck or faceplace has a lock screw to keep reverse operations safe.

I put my ammeter on the motor, it draws about 7 amps when it is running (I did not find the current draw noted in the documentation or specs online).

Handwheel is an extra cost. Until I order one I have to grab the piece directly if I need to adjust the position.

The included 12” toolrest is nice and sturdy but I’m going to have to invest in a 4” or 6” rest for smaller work.

The headstock is kind of bulky, I am used to a little more workspace on the left side of the piece I am working on. Swivel for headstock is nice and smooth. It will be a while before I am using this feature on a regular basis but it is nice to have the option.

I would probably rate this 4.5 stars if that was an option. I made some compromises but I am confident this is the right lathe at the right price for my next 5 years of turning.

I’ll post an update after I get a couple of dozen turnings under my belt with this new setup.

-- David / Durham, NC

View dmann's profile


82 posts in 4653 days

5 comments so far

View Tim Dorcas's profile

Tim Dorcas

188 posts in 4705 days

#1 posted 03-10-2009 08:02 AM


I am glad you found some value in my review. As an update, I continue to really enjoy my lathe. I probably turn something a couple of times a week – sometimes more. So far there really hasn’t been anything I haven’t been able to turn. I appreciate your spin on the Nova and let’s hope we get more people to post!


-- - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & - I make. You buy.

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4613 days

#2 posted 03-10-2009 01:22 PM

Thanks for the review dmann. My wood turning club recently purchased this lathe. i am anxious to try it out.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View dougdeg's profile


107 posts in 4616 days

#3 posted 03-10-2009 03:23 PM

Im looking at buying a small lathe, I do want at least a 36” capacity. but nothing really fansy. Money is more a concern at this time, What type of cost is involved in this unit

-- Doug Cedar Log Furniture,

View dmann's profile


82 posts in 4653 days

#4 posted 03-10-2009 04:21 PM

It is on sale for $899 at Woodcraft during March 2009. The regular price is usually about $1200. To do 36” spindles on this lathe you would need an additional bed section which goes for ~$220.

If you are primarily turning 36” spindles you could probably get by with a Mini lathe with a bed extension. Check the reviews section here at Lumberjocks, I believe a number of mini lathes have been reviewed. This lathe replaced a Jet 1220 which I was very happy with for smaller items.

-- David / Durham, NC

View swirlsandburls's profile


117 posts in 4242 days

#5 posted 03-12-2009 08:58 PM

Thanks for the review. I bought this lathe last year, and am very happy with it. I built a beefy platform (angled to fit the box-section legs) and LOADED it with weight, probably close to 300 pounds. It is now rock-solid at far less than the cost of the cast stand.

I added the outrigger for large platter turning, and am reasonably happy with it. It could be a bit more stout. I eliminated the vibration I was getting with the outrigger by putting a hydraulic bottle jack under it so the concrete floor takes up cutting vibes.

I do almost all my large bowl work with the head swiveled at 45 or 90 degrees. It makes an amazing difference when you don’t have to lean over the bed!

The handwheel is a must.

Overall this lathe gets very high marks for quality, design, and value, especially at a sale price!

-- patience is a virtue ... in woodworking, cooking, and life in general

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