Which lathe?

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Blog entry by Tom Z posted 07-05-2010 06:26 PM 1034 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am going to buy a lathe and have narrowed it down to 3 or 4 MIDI lathes. DELTA 46-46-, JET 1220 and GENERAL INTERNATIONAL 25-200M1. There are plenty reviews on line for the DELTA and JET but very few for the GI.Anybody have any recomendations or experience with any of these?

2 comments so far

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3042 days

#1 posted 07-05-2010 09:08 PM

Good luck in making your decision! My only suggestion/recommendation is to get one with variable speed adjustment even if it is an upgrade option, it WILL be worth the additional price. I have a Powermatic 3520 and LOVE it. Get the best lathe you can afford and if it is slightly above your budget, increase your budget! You will eventually be glad you did.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 3026 days

#2 posted 07-05-2010 11:28 PM

The GI looks like a good lathe to me. I’ve used Jet, Rikon, Delta, Oneway, and Powermatic lathes so far. I’ve personally been using a Rikon Midi for 3 years and it worked great for me at around half the price of the Delta or Jet. I’ve used the heck out of my Rikon and it has held up very well. That said, I’d probably pay another $100 easy for the GI over the other two to get the variable speed.

Variable speed is (1) great convenience…changing belts is pretty darn quick once you are comfy with it, but you just can’t beat the variable speed, (2) hugely useful if you turn rough wood (if all your wood is nice clean balanced blanks, or smaller work, then this wont matter much, but if you turn green wood you find, rootballs, large or out of balanced pieces, it is a big deal), and (3) nice for sanding.

My next lathe will be the Powermatic with variable speed that Bearpie mentions, or my friends used Oneway if he will ever get off the fence about upgrading. It’s always a treat to use a really solid full size lathe – these smaller ones are fun and you can make great things with a little patience, but there is really no comparison.

Good luck with your choice – Let us know which way you go. Cheers, Richard

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

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