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help selecting a lathe for a newbie

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Forum topic by DTrak posted 08-21-2019 09:26 PM 561 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DTrak

69 posts in 1581 days


08-21-2019 09:26 PM

I need to do some woodturning for table lamps and of course need to start w/ a lathe. I have narrowed it down to these two but they are the same price and I don’t understand all the differences and why I might choose one over the other. All advice welcome, thanks

Jet 719115 JWL-1221SP Step Pulley Wood Lathe

Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe


24 replies so far

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

924 posts in 3277 days


#1 posted 08-21-2019 10:28 PM



I need to do some woodturning for table lamps and of course need to start w/ a lathe. I have narrowed it down to these two but they are the same price and I don t understand all the differences and why I might choose one over the other. All advice welcome, thanks

Jet 719115 JWL-1221SP Step Pulley Wood Lathe

Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe

- DTrak


View mike02719's profile

mike02719

143 posts in 4270 days


#2 posted 08-21-2019 10:28 PM

Most of these LJ’s would tell you to buy the best lathe you can afford. I just bought a new one after suffering with my old one for decades. The first issue to consider is size. I thought you wanted to turn a 20” bowl. That would take a very big machine. Next is hp and speed, speed is a very limiting factor. No two projects use the same speed. Horse power and spindle size should be considered as the size and weight of the project increases. There are a lot of quality machines out there, your hardest job now is to chose one.

-- Mike, Massachusetts

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ibewjon

924 posts in 3277 days


#3 posted 08-21-2019 10:30 PM

Without looking up the models, step pulleys are a way to change speed. Had one before variable speed came out. Just turning a knob is much nicer and easier than stopping to change belt position.

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Jerroni

4 posts in 478 days


#4 posted 08-21-2019 10:50 PM

I have an older Jet 1221 and love it. Get an indexing jig to go with it (alisam.com). Small footprint and very easy to operate. Then, focus on good chisels and sharpening. I think you’ll want the slightly larger lathe (1221), but these are both small and low power. However, it’s about sharp tools, control, smoothness of the rotation, and solid connections. You might think about the tool rest more than capacity, and the older 1221’s are probably better in this regard than the new ones. Don’t worry about variable speed just yet. Belts are reliable.

If you get hooked, I would upgrade later to just what you want, and keep the smaller jet. You might consider joining a class at a turning club – so many talented turners around, and that’s a good way to start. There are some router-based turning jigs you can make, too – might be screwy when you have access to a lathe.

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Hockey

172 posts in 896 days


#5 posted 08-21-2019 11:52 PM

This is an easy one for me. I would get the 1221sp. I looked the prices up and they are each around $500. Both are manual belt drive, not electronic variable speed. The main difference is the size and the hp. HP on the 1221sp is 3/4 while only 1/2 on the 1015. The weight of the 1221 is also greater which is a good thing, unless you are carrying it around to do turning demos. Another important factor is the available speeds. The 1221 has a lower bottom speed while the top speed is the same on both.

I have the Jet 1221VS and a Jet 1640EVS, both excellent lathes. The 1221 serves me well. and for the type of turning I generally do (lidded containers), the smaller 1221vs is more than adequate. In fact, I probably don’t need the 1640. Nonetheless, the 1640EVS is more pleasant to use.

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DTrak

69 posts in 1581 days


#6 posted 08-22-2019 01:33 AM

Mike, I decided to scrap that 20” bowl. Just too ambitious.

Thanks everyone for the feedback, all good points to consider. Sounds like the 1221 is for me.

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MrUnix

7469 posts in 2683 days


#7 posted 08-22-2019 02:41 AM

I need to do some woodturning for table lamps …
- DTrak

Hope you don’t plan on making very big lamps, as both of those are in the mini/midi range… The larger one won’t do over 21” long, and realistically, less than that. A better option in the $500+/- category would be the JWL-1236, however it appears that has been discontinued. Fortunately, an almost identical lathe, although in a different color, can be found at Harbor Freight for about $300. Lots of folks got their start on that HF lathe, and quite a few members here have given it a lot of praise.

Note: I have a JWL-1236 and have compared it to the HF lathe. While not 100% identical, it is darn close and there are just a few minor differences between the two.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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waho6o9

8750 posts in 3061 days


#8 posted 08-22-2019 02:46 AM

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2387 posts in 2473 days


#9 posted 08-22-2019 10:47 AM

The HF 34706 is a great choice. Its limited for bowl turning due to a low speed of ~650 rpm (~14” max) and does very well with spindles. Review here.

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DTrak

69 posts in 1581 days


#10 posted 08-22-2019 12:59 PM

Unfort my shop is really small and I don’t have room for something much longer than the one I chose.

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RichBolduc

1085 posts in 600 days


#11 posted 08-22-2019 01:11 PM

I’m going to have to give a vote to www.teknatool.com lathes.

Rich

View RobHannon's profile

RobHannon

304 posts in 1014 days


#12 posted 08-22-2019 01:20 PM

I have done a lot of learning on the HF lathe. Has its frustrating points, too high of a low speed and not very heavy, but for the price point you learn what is important to you without breaking the bank from the beginning. Here are some other suggestions I would make.

Get a chuck early on. One with an insert is best so you cam move it to a larger lathe later.
Take a class or read some books/articles on workholding.
Before you buy an expensive lathe, get you hands on some to see what you like.
Look into local woodturning groups. I know you are around DC so this may be too far for you, but I can vouch for Chesapeake Woodturners being a great group of turners who are always eager to help.
Get some cheap tools and learn to sharpen. Replace the ones you wear out with good tools.
Look up Capt. Eddie on youtube.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

924 posts in 3277 days


#13 posted 08-22-2019 02:27 PM

There are some small lathes with available bed extensions. Maybe look at these so you can expand later after you develope a full case of turning fever.

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2722 posts in 2618 days


#14 posted 08-22-2019 03:34 PM

Don’t know where you live but might check local Woodcraft store for sales on new Jet lathes. You can check and see if this have a Woodworking Shop close enough might find what you want on sale.

Got a flier in the mail today from Cary store all woodworking equipment 10% to 15% off on Laguna & 15% off on Jet, Powermatic, Rikon, & trend tools starting 13 thru 23 Sept 2019.
https://www.woodworkingshop.com/cary/

-- Bill

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pottz

6029 posts in 1468 days


#15 posted 08-22-2019 06:22 PM

i have the jwl 1015 with vs and love it,i mostly used for pen making but i have done some spindles with it.if it’s a budget issue go with the step pulley not as convenient but a lot cheaper.as for size if you need to do real long spindles just get the bed enxtension as i did when i made a maloof rocker.for lamp work these little lathes will serve you well,and i love the quality of jet tools.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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