Nova - 1624-44 (Rating: 5)

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.