Nova 1624-44 or Jet 1221VS

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Forum topic by JeffDM posted 01-14-2014 01:59 PM 8031 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 2604 days

01-14-2014 01:59 PM

I need some help deciding between the Nova 16244-44 (on sale for $900 at Woodcraft) or the Jet 1221VS w/ extension ($910 total at Woodcraft). I’m new to turning, except for some very simple things I’ve turned at Woodcraft. I’ve been interested in turning for awhile but the fellow woodworkers I know in person don’t turn so I’ve never really had a chance to give it a go. I’ve got some projects coming up that will require some turned components so I figured rather than farm it out, it’s time to jump in.

My immediate needs for the upcoming project is spindle turning some legs about 22” long. With a budget of < $1000 for the lathe itself that seems to point to the Nova or Jet with extension. After this project I would like to get into turning some of the standards like pens and bowls. The Nova has more bowl turning capacity and the head can be turned for outboard turning which is a plus for the Nova. If I were to turn longer spindles, I would need to buy an extension for the Nova but would already have it for the Jet, so small plus for the Jet. I think wanting to turn larger bowls is more likely than longer spindles.

The Nova comes with a stand (though it sounds like adding some weight it a good idea) the Jet does not. I would either need to buy a stand, build a stand, or use my workbench which I suspect will put the lathe too high to comfortably use. So small plus for Nova.

Variable speed is a big plus for the Jet, and it has slower speeds. It’s hard to get a read on just how difficult the belt changes on the Nova are. Some reviews say it takes forever and others say it’s a snap. I’m never going to be a production turner so I’m not sure how much time I really need to save in changing speeds or how much of an annoyance this truly is.

I’ve looked at the Grizzly G0462 and, while cheaper and has the same or more capacity than the Nova, it doesn’t seem to get glowing reviews. With the 2HP motor I would probably need to upgrade the electrical in my shop which negates the savings and then some.

I’ve been watching Craiglist for a few months and it seems like the only thing anyone has are massive machines outside my budget for Harbor Freight lathes they are trying to unload for $50 off the brand new price.

I’ve given thought to building a spring-pole lathe because I can make it to pretty much whatever capacity I need and it fits my general woodworking philosophy. I’m afraid that trying to learn to turn on a spring-pole lathe would make things significantly more difficult and from what I understand bowl turning requires a completely different technique from a powered lathe. I think I’m going to hold off on this idea.

After thinking this over a lot (like I do everything) I’m leaning towards the Nova. Any reason to reconsider? Is there a completely different lathe that meets my requirements I’ve missed?

18 replies so far

View ScrubPlane's profile


190 posts in 2614 days

#1 posted 01-14-2014 02:21 PM

I own a NOVA DVR and it’s an awesome machine. I do not have firsthand experience with the 1624 but I checked and you can purchase a reconditioned one direct from Teknatool’s web site for $950. Trust me, you’ll need to save every penny for tools, chucks, jaws, etc.

I have a friend who purchased the Jet 1221 and after eight months ‘gave it’ to his wife and daughter to do their ‘trinket’ turnings. He found it too under-powered to do bowl work.

I see the motor on the 1624 is rated at 1.5 HP whereas the Jet is rated as a 1HP. My DVR can pre-wired for 1.5 I believe which ran on standard house current. I re-wired for 220 once I upgraded my garage. That said, I found it’s original power to be sufficient for most of my turnings.

As for the stand…consider making your own with the capacity to add bags of sand, etc, for weight.

For my money, I’d go with the NOVA…it’s considered by many to be the ‘premium’ in high end hobbyist lathes before you get into serious money.

Hope this helps…

View Wildwood's profile


2672 posts in 2553 days

#2 posted 01-14-2014 05:17 PM

I am not a big fan of Nova wood lathes unless space is at a premium. Adding optional accessories gets very expensive.

Neither the Jet nor Nova right out of the box will turn legs 22 inches long. So a bed extension needed.

Jet will run about $1,000.

Nova will run you over $1,100

Horse power on Asian motors always tad optimistic so difference between one or one & half not that big a deal. Look at what features Nova does not have like hand wheel, and non-EVS. JMHO, Jet will have better re-sale value over the Nova.

-- Bill

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 3181 days

#3 posted 01-14-2014 05:34 PM

Interesting, my Nova XP 1624 is VS, and came with a hand wheel.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View JeffDM's profile


8 posts in 2604 days

#4 posted 01-14-2014 06:00 PM

Thanks for the comments so far guys.

The specs on the Nova seem to be 600mm/24” between centers. Assuming 600mm is the more accurate measure that would still be 23.6”. Is this marketing speak and in reality you lose some capacity or is there some other reason that I couldn’t turn 22” spindles? The fact that I wouldn’t have to purchase an extension right off the bat was one of the reasons I was looking at the Nova over the Jet.

Jimbo4: That is interesting. When I was searching for reviews I found some rumors that the 1624-44 was going to be updated with variable speed but I can’t find any real reference to it outside of forums. It would probably put it out of my price range too…

View Norm192's profile


77 posts in 2061 days

#5 posted 01-15-2014 12:33 AM

I just bought a Nova 1624-44 from woodcraft for $900. I LOVE IT! I upgraded from a Rikon midi which was awesome. I have turned a 14”x8” bowl with no problem. IMHO this is the best bang for the buck. Great fit, finish and ability!

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 3181 days

#6 posted 01-15-2014 03:35 AM

Jeff – I screwed up ! :o( What I should have said is I have a Nova XP DVR. Also, Woodcraft was (is?) having a sale on the DVR – $500 off.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 2438 days

#7 posted 01-15-2014 12:00 PM

I was debating over the same two lathes a few months back and ended up with the 1221vs. The main selling point for me is the variable speed as you mentioned. Overall I am pleased with the lathe, but I am guessing I would say the same thing with the nova. So there you have it, a post that helps you little if any :)

View Wildwood's profile


2672 posts in 2553 days

#8 posted 01-15-2014 12:16 PM

Distance between centers specs listed without spur center or chuck install in/on headstock or live center in tailstock on the Nova. Jet shows spur & live center installed.

I have no idea what your actual distance between centers will be with those items installed.

Whether you buy the Jet or Nova, optional bed extension will allow you to turn those 22” spindles safely. Depending upon your confidence level and style of leg might want to start turning with a blank that is ¾” to 1 ½” longer than needed.

When I first started turning might need to start with a blank 26” long to get something 22” long!

I cannot tell you actual distance between centers on my Jet 1642, have both spur & live centers that came with lathe and optional after market dead, spur & live centers to handle my needs. Today might only need 1/2” to 1” waste allowance to turn a 22” leg, style of leg dictates my waste allownance.

When Nova DPR lathe came on the market, hand wheel was an optional accessory. Yes now included on XP models.

-- Bill

View Wildwood's profile


2672 posts in 2553 days

#9 posted 01-15-2014 12:47 PM

View Woodknack's profile


12842 posts in 2798 days

#10 posted 01-15-2014 09:15 PM

Jeff, call or email Teknatool and confirm the 24” is between centers as advertised and not between spindles. I’m curious about that too. My Craftsman is the distance between centers. If it is between centers, you should be able to turn 22”, a little snug but will work. The extra horsepower will not help with table legs but would be nice for bowls and such, so will the extra swing as you can only turn about a 9 or 10” bowl on a 12” Jet. Also, I can’t imagine why anyone would need 60 rpm on a 12” wood lathe. Mine goes down to about 200 rpm and the only time I use that speed is for marking lines with a pencil or applying finish.

-- Rick M,

View JeffDM's profile


8 posts in 2604 days

#11 posted 01-15-2014 10:15 PM

Thanks for all the input guys.

I’ve sent an email to Teknatool and we’ll see what they say. It looks like the Woodcraft near me as both in stock so I’m probably going to stop in this weekend and take a look at both in person. Hopefully it won’t have such glaring issues as the one in that woodnet thread.

View Wildwood's profile


2672 posts in 2553 days

#12 posted 01-15-2014 10:58 PM

Really, do not care which lathe you buy it is your money you are spending not mine.

Would be surprised folks at Teknatool do not recommend a bed extension.

Same goes for folks at WoodCraft whether talking Jet or Nova.

-- Bill

View RolfBe's profile


28 posts in 2233 days

#13 posted 01-16-2014 05:41 PM

I had an old Jet 1236 and decided to buy a new lath. I tried a friends Nova 16-24. I really liked the way the lathe felt and it seemed to have plenty of power. The belt changes were easy but I wanted EVS so I ended up buying the DVR XP 1624. I don’t turn spindles and if I ever needed to make a long one I would buy the extension.
I really like the DVR and don’t regret my purchase at all.
I did consider the Jet 1642 EVS but I am out of room in my basement shop.

-- "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can" Hawk G4 ss, New Nova 16-24 DVR XP

View Wildwood's profile


2672 posts in 2553 days

#14 posted 01-20-2014 02:49 PM

Well, Jeff did you get a reply from Teknatool?

Did you get a chance to kick the tires on the Jet & Nova at Wood Craft this past weekend?

-- Bill

View JeffDM's profile


8 posts in 2604 days

#15 posted 01-20-2014 07:15 PM

I did get a reply from Teknatool last week and he confirmed the measurement was between centers and 22” spindles would be no problem. Whether I can turn 22” spindles with slightly more than 23” of room, well we’ll have to see :) For this first project I think I should be ok since they are pretty basic.

I went to Woodcraft on Saturday to check out both lathes. They had both setup in the showroom so I got to do a bit of poking around and make some comparisons. In the end I decided to go with the Nova, mostly because of the capacity, both what I need now and in the future. I tried out changing the speeds on the Nova and I can see why the variable speed of the Jet and larger machines is preferred. Since I’m not aiming to become a full-time turner, just a side hobby to my other woodworking, I think I can deal with it.

I got everything assembled this weekend but due to other obligations (always something to do around the house) I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. Everything went together easily and I don’t seem to have any problems with poorly machined components like some others have reported. The stand is probably adequate for now but I have a feeling I will be making one in the future if I start turning large bowls. They are calling it a “hybrid” stand because the brackets that mount to the lathe bed are cast iron and the legs are steel. It puts a lot of weight high up with not too much near the floor. It’s pretty stable but I can see it becoming a little wild if I’ve got a large off balance blank spinning.

I’ve got some poplar that’s just the right size for some trial legs so I’ll hopefully have some time tonight. I went the Easy Wood Tools route because I’m a dirty cheater and right now I just want to have some fun making things. I do plan on learning the traditional tools in the future.

Thanks everyone for all the advice.

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