What is a wood lathe?
This is the first thing you should learn before buying a lathe. A wood lathe is an essential part of a woodworking shop, which allows the craftsperson or carpenters the capability of making appropriately symmetrical pieces. For getting the best wood lathe for your woodworking requirements, you should spend some time in researching various models. In this buying guide, we will compare the top 5 picks of lathes and help you discover the best wood lathe for your needs. The complete reviews on wood lathe accessories really come in handy while searching for the best wood lathe as these reviews will help you make your purchasing decision.
Top 5 Best Wood Lathe 2018
|Nova 46301 Comet II ||3/4 HP||12" x 16.5"||81 pounds||33 x 9 x 18 inches||2 Year|
|RIKON 70-100 ||1/2HP||12" x 16"||91.4 pounds||33.8 x 18 x 11.5 inches||5 Year|
|JET JWL-1221VS ||1HP||12" x 21"||137 pounds||32.8 x 14.6 x 21.2 inches||5 Year|
|JET 708359 JWL-1642EVS||1-1/2HP||16" x 42"||454 pounds||64 x 20 x 50 inches||5 Year|
|Powermatic 3520B ||2 HP||20" x 35"||682 pounds||55 x 27 x 31 inches||5 Year|
The NOVA 46301 Comet II 12” x 16.5” Variable Speed Midi Lathe is the most innovative and versatile small midi lathe on the market. It saves time and is fully portable, yet offers the higher capacity and rugged stability of larger equipment. It’s really strong due to ¾ HP electronic variable speed motor that provides it with a wide speed range from 250-4000rpm. Even the reversing and forwarding switches provide it with extra flexibility for a premium finish. It is an improved version of its predecessor with the inclusion of feature like strengthened reinforced composite guard. The switch on and off facility provides with a no-vault release for extra safety. Ultimately, the motor housing has been transformed into the robust die cast housing. Unlike its previous models, this midi lathe offers enhanced durability. According to the midi lathe reviews, you will find that this product is extremely versatile and durable.
- Enhanced durability
- Pleasing and unified appearance
- Handles the toughest work
- Capable of high quality finishes
- Top in its class
- Largest swing capacity
- Features strongest motors
- Offers only 2-year limited warranty
- Doesn’t offer smooth operation
The RIKON 70-100 12-by-16 Mini Lathe is highly appreciated by its users. Its adaptability and ease of use features are responsible for making this device extra-ordinary and state of the art. Whether you are a professional or new to working with lathes, anybody can readily use this wood lathe without difficulty. Woodturners are able to get this lathe at an affordable cost, they also get this device shipped in the shortest time possible. Simultaneously, the customer service of this brand is also very useful. If you check out this lathe on Amazon.com, you will find a lot of positive reviews on this particular machine. Along with numerous satisfied users, you can also compare this machine with other similar machines. This handy product is beautiful and convenient enough to be carried for some professional tasks. This multitasking device is extremely capable in handling lots of projects easily and thus it is definitely recommended.
- Helps you alter speed fast and easily
- One of the best mini wood lathes in the industry
- User-friendly and convenient features
- Saves wood turner’s time
- Features a weaker tailstock
The JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is popular for its performance and quality. With a bigger size in comparison with the mini lathes, this model functions with the bigger capacities and special features making it a popular wood lathe among others. Wood lathes are the vital part of woodworking. This equipment is capable of producing exact and accurate symmetrical wood pieces. Nevertheless, big wood lathes may be annoying for the hobbyists that have minimal space. This is why smaller versions of wood lathes become the better choice for them. The most satisfying and impressing thing about this lathe is that it performs with minimal sound output, making for the quietest wood lathe so you can work through the night
- Undeniably smooth operation
- JET Red guaranteed 5-year warranty
- Large enough doors to fit fingers through
- All centers are properly aligned and ensure efficient work
- Incomparable speed control
- Does not offer hex wrenches or safety goggles
- The hand wheels are painted rather than being chrome plated
- Heavier than its previous models
4. JET 708359 JWL-1642EVS 16-Inch Swing 42-Inch
The JET 708359 JWL-1642EVS Wood Lathe is a dream machine of every woodworker. It is a professional wood lathe that offers every feature you need for any project. This lathe has a 16″ swing and 42″ between the centres. The big size makes it a great machine for turning large workpieces. If you are looking for a high quality full-size wood lathe to start working on your big projects, this is one of the best wood lathes available.
- Stability: a wonderfully stable lathe with the weight over 400 pounds that allows a vibration free operation
- Powerful motor: 1.5 HP 3 phase, 115 V motor with inverter and variable speed provides the power needed for even the toughest jobs.
- Easy access to controls
- The cam lock mechanism offers easy adjustment of headstock , tailstock and tool rest base without resorting to the use of tools
- 5 years warranty from JET
- This lathe has almost no downsides. Some customers reported that they cannot make large bowls with this lathe, it may not do a large amount of them effectively. Furthermore, the manual is not very descriptive of the procedures and controls
In fact, the pros of this lathe are much more favourable when compared to the cons, making this wood lathe a worthy investment. Customer observations when making large bowls may vary by customer depending on usage
The Powermatic 3520B model is one of the most effective wood lathes on the market. It powers a 2HP motor that other lower-quality models can’t match. It’s strong with 220V and a variable speed motor which comes with an inverter for single-phase or three-phase input. It also features inbuilt spindle indexing for drilling holes patterned alongside a tailstock and a sliding headstock which offer internal storage. This is a rugged wood lathe which is made of strong cast iron which makes it highly durable. It sports digital RPM readout alongside a 20” swing and 34.5” between the centres. With a thick tool rest base and a stout tailstock, the 3520 model is powerful. It’s made for handling some quick-paced and intense work giving an excellent benefit over many other devices. This model weighs more than 680lbs which gives it stability and helps it resist vibration. This sturdy lathe prevents the requirement of weights or sandbags. This wood lathe is a great option with very few downsides.
- Made of strong and sturdy cast iron
- Variable speed motor
- Capable of handling different projects
- Resistant to vibration
- Nicely designed
- Longevity guaranteed
- Inbuilt storage in the tailstock
- Assembly needed
How to choose the best wood lathe
If you want to make a buying decision, you need to consider some factors for getting the best wood lathe. Every aspect of the device will decide how well the wood turner is capable of using it. These factors are highly prioritized for you as this way you can distinguish different models.
- Motor: The machine’s motor size decides how fast you can cut the wood. If you find the motor very small for cutting heavy products, the shaping tool can chatter or the product can be damaged as well.
- Power: You can analyze the lathe’s power with numerous features. The motor’s capacity alongside the speed at which it can effectively run contribute to the entire power. The stronger device is capable of handling more difficult projects.
- Size and Build: The project types planned by the woodturner for making will help decide the perfect size of the device to buy. Mini lathes are required for smaller projects. Floor lathes are stronger and more capable of handling bigger projects; however, they take more places also.
- Speed: Some products should be rotated at various speeds for getting the wished output. Table top lathe requires quicker rotations whereas bowl lathes don’t rotate faster. The lathes that have adjustable speeds are the best wood lathe for beginners. These newbies would require less than 2000rpm speed.
- Weight: Generally, a heavier lathe will be more consistent and won’t require extra weights or sandbags for keeping it in place. If a device is very lightweight, it’ll be more prone to moving out of place at quicker speeds or with more complex jobs.
- Stability: The turning speed of the lathe will impact its sturdiness and stability. A decent lathe must be heavy and rugged for bearing blows and stay safe in place for avoiding mistakes happened by unexpected movement. It’ll be able to tackle interrupted cutting and uneven blanks also.
- Noise: The best wood lathe must be noiseless. Not just will this prevent disturbing noise in the workplace but allows the turner to hear how the wood lathe and cutting tool working accurately.
- Vibration: Lightweight or improperly stabilized lathes will be more susceptible to vibration. Extra vibration makes for a device which is complex to handle, and the ultimate item may be compromised due to it.
- Ease of use: A turner must buy a lathe which is efficient enough for tackling the important tasks while still being easy enough to use. It may be great to test out different devices to make sure promising options are convenient to adjust and use.
- Capacity: The distance is between the maximum shifting account and centers for the lathe’s capacity. The bigger distance between centers enables for larger wood pieces for being turned on the lathe. The greater shifting enables for wood blanks with bigger diameters which won’t contact the device’s all other parts.
- Types of wood: The types of wood one regularly utilize may be highly fitted for some devices, so this must decide which lathe would be greatest to buy.
- Price: Wood lathes can be costly, so those which are new to woodturning may be unprepared for investing in the most developed models. Some lathes may compromise quality while pricing much less than greater models. People who plan to buy premium quality models must be sure they are completely excited about woodturning before making their money invested. The most popular brands in this industry are Jet Lathe, Rikon, Shop Fox, PowerMatic and Nova Lathe. All provides wood and metal cutting lathe.
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If you find a wood lathe that meets all the above-mentioned factors in the buying guide, then it is definitely the best wood lathe to buy. Lathe is an excellent tool for your business projects and we hope you will find the best one to have a good experience after reading this tutorial.