Woodworking requires some serious tools to achieve quality results. Those who are serious about tools know that wood lathes are certainly no exception to this rule. «You get what you pay for,» holds true when purchasing any wood lathe.
Just like with other tool purchases, higher quality tools will typically cost the consumer more money upfront.
However, the end result is that quality results are more likely to be achieved when investing in a lathe that is likely to last longer, too.
Less expensive tools are likely to require more maintenance, and they are likely to cause more downtime and lost productivity.
Thankfully, there are so many options for wood lathes in today’s global marketplace, though that modern convenience coupled with internet comes at a price as well.
Hobbyists and professionals alike have plenty of options when shopping for wood lathes, though the selection process can be a bit overwhelming at times. Some models look similar to others, even though they are different brands, and each brand has its reputation.
|Jet JWL-1015 Wood|
|12||8||2.5 x 2.5 x 13|
|Proxxon 37020 DB 250||20||15||15.3 x 18.6 x 5|
|Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch||20||15||15.3 x 18.6 x 5|
|PSI Woodworking LIXGA2||12||2.1||10.1 x 2.4 x 2.4|
|JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch||6||20.8||15.4 x 10.8 x 8.5|
|NOVA 46300 Comet II||8||44.2||9.5 x 14.5 x 16.5|
Of course, with various brands and models come their tradeoffs and strengths. Certain models handle certain tasks better than others. One brand supports their product better, while another keeps a more extensive parts line.
Though shopping for new tools is fun, especially power tools, it is understandable that most users simply want to finalize the decision making and put a quality tool to use. This guide serves to help do just that by paring down the numerous options and cherry pick the very best so that you can make a more informed purchasing decision for that next wood lathe.
Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe: Best Lathe for the Serious Woodworker
Many professionals and hobbyists have come to know and respect Jet power tools.
Tools produced by Jet can be seen in furniture shops, cabinet shops, and home workshops nearly everywhere.
Users of all types have reported that Jet tools are rugged and will handle just about anything demanded. I
t shows through this continued commitment that Jet is here to stay for the long term, offer quality products at fair prices, and provide the consumers with the product support they can reasonably expect. The Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe is a prime example of this continued legacy of quality and a loyal following.
Proxxon 37020 DB 250 MICRO Woodturning Lathe: The Best Choice for Smaller Jobs
Proxxon’s 37020 DB 250 MICRO Woodturning Lathe is an option to seriously consider.
It’s small size makes it a better choice for turning out custom pens or creating pieces for doll houses or doll house furniture.
Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe: Great Mid-sized Lathe for Medium Tasks
Woodworkers of amateur and professional status respect the brand and know that Delta tools are synonymous with quality.
The Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe is a continuation of this companies legacy to provide quality power tools for the woodworker that are affordable and value priced.
This lathe also fills the gap between too big for the job and too small for the job. It’s that happy medium between the two while still offering an option that will last most users for a very long time.
PSI Woodworking LIXGA2 Lathe Mounted Fluting Guide with Router: The Lathe with Increased Functionality
However, there are others who want more features.
Sometimes, those features include the ability to perform tasks that could not otherwise be performed with other makes or models.
PSI Woodworking offers the LIXGA2 Lathe Mounted Fluting Guide with Router to appease the woodworker who desires more functionality and the ability to achieve results that normally cannot be achieved so easily with other lathes.
JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe: The Best Lathe to Handle All the Big Tasks
Jet has once again made this list by producing a quality product for all users. In fact, Jet is the only brand that has managed to appear in this buyer’s guide more than once. This lathe has the features necessary to quickly get to work and turn out quality results. It is also the best in its category for handling large jobs.
The lathe has a variable speed controller, which means that the speeds can be changed easily by using a simple rotating knob. To provide speed ranges that are suitable for nearly any task, in particular for the more experienced turner, this lathe features a three step pulley. This arrangement allows the variable speed controller to adjust speeds from 60 to 900 RPM on the low step of the pulley.
The second step, or the medium step, regulate the speed to between 110 and 1800 RPM. Finally, a high speed range of 220 to 3600 RPM is achievable on the the third step of the pulley system. The belt only needs to be changed if there is a preference to move to a different range of speeds.
This is a very simple process, and many owners have reported no trouble with changing the spindle speed. It is this continued effort to produce quality tools featuring classic style and innovative updates that has earned a Jet recognition and a favorable reputation among users of all types.
Since a lot of the market share is enjoyed by brands such as Jet and Delta, NOVA knows that a good reputation, a quality tool, and product support are key to competing with the bigger brands.
The 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe is one way that NOVA is actively expressing to woodworking enthusiasts and professionals that the company is here for both and it is here to stay.
This lathe is designed by Teknatool International, a company that has been innovating since 1955. Though this may still be a lesser known brand, this lathe is still worth examining as a possibility.
Best Wood Lathe — Buyer’s Guide
Whenever working with a wood lathe, remember to observe good shop safety habits. Please make sure to read and understand all instructions before using any of these lathes. Secure the lathe to a sturdy surface before putting it into use, or make sure it is installed securely to a base before any turning operation.
Avoid wearing jewelry (including rings and watches) and long-sleeved shirts, as these items could become caught in a rotating mechanism. Wear eye protection at all times when working around any lathe or other woodworking tools. Though safety glasses and safety goggles are good for providing eye protection, safety shields are best to provide face protection and to protect the user from flying wood chips and particles.
Some of the exotic woods that undergo turning operations can stir up particulate matter and produce dusts that are harmful to inhale and can cause respiratory problems. While working around environments that produce a lot of dust and other particulate matter that can be harmful to breathe, be sure to wear NIOSH approved respiratory protection as well. Observing these simple safety precautions will help keep the work area safe and permit the opportunity to turn out other various items on the lathe.