Wood Lathe #1: Top 3 Mini/Midi Wood Lathes: Selection Guide

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Blog entry by jeremyH56 posted 12-28-2012 04:13 PM 12648 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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If you are looking for a small or portable wood lathe – be it for home projects or turning intricate designs on your artwork, then you want to consider mini lathes and midi lathes. However, before you buy the first mini lathe that pops up on your screen, or order a midi lathe simply because the size is a perfect fit for your project, there are a number of things to consider. We’ve pulled the best mini lathes and midi lathes that show off the best features and versatility, according to our personal experiences, as well as user input.

Jet JML 1014VSI 10-Inch-by-14-Inch Variable Speed Indexing Mini Lathe
When it comes to smaller projects, like making pens, puzzle boxes, and intricate gifts, you want a that is both powerful, balanced, and offers a variety of settings. The Jet 1014VSI wood lathe can handle projects up to 10-inches in diameter, and 14-inches in length. The fully inclosed motor is fan-cooled, and the variable speed settings mean the Jet JML 1014VSI will let you turn from 500 to 3,975 RPMs, and everything in between.

The Jet JML 1014VSI also has a hollow tailstock for smooth and efficient boring, a spindle lock for veining and fluting, a solid cast-iron bed for stability, and an easy-to-use indexing mechanism. When switching out wood, the Jet JML 1014 mini lathe has a self-ejecting tailstock. The Jet JML 1014VSI mini lathe features a cam-lock mechanism, allowing you to fully adjust the headstock, tool-rest, and tailstock without having to use additional tools. The quick release levers on the Jet JML 1014VSI mini lathe has quick release levers for accurate positioning, as well as non-skid rubber feet to grip your working surface and keep everything stable.

Delta Industrial 46-460 12.5-Inch Variable Speed Midi Lathe
If you are working on slightly larger projects – bowls, small pieces of furniture, or medium-sized sculptures – then a midi lathe is more your style. Delta 46-460 midi lathe gives you a full 1-horsepower motor with variable speeds up to 1,725 RPMs. With a 12.5-Inch swing capacity, the Delta Industrial 46-460 boasts the largest swing capacity of any midi lathe in its class. The Delta Industrial 46-460 offers full reverse at a flip of the switch, so you can get a smooth finish without having to manually adjust what you are turning. The Delta Industrial 46-460 midi lathe also features the Delta patented belt tensioning system, which allow you to change turning speeds on the fly without having to change the belt position.

With a solid cast-iron base, wide swing adjustments, and variable speed – both forward and reverse – you can easily see why the Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe is considered the best in its class, and extremely versatile for your turning projects. The Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe weighs in at 110-pounds, comes with a 5-year warranty, and 6-inch and 10-inch tool rests for all of your turning applications.

Jet JWL 1220 12-Inch-by-20-Inch Wood Lathe
If you are looking for a machine that offers both mini lathe and midi lathe options, look no further than the Jet JWL 1220 Lathe. With a turning range for stock up to 12-inches in diameter, and up to 20-inches in length, the “Jet JWL 1220 can handle all of your mini lathe and midi lathe projects. The Jet JWL 1220
houses a ¾ horsepower motor, giving you a consistent rate of turning, as well as being able to adjust to your stock at varying speeds. The spindle-lock on the Jet JWL 1220 allows you to quickly change out faceplates and other accessories with ease, while also giving fast veining and fluting action for all of your intricate turning – making the Jet JWL 1220 wood lathe great for both mini lathe and midi lathe projects.

For midi lathe projects, the Jet JWL 1220 features a live center and hollow tailstock for easy boring. The cam-lock mechanism lets you adjust the tool-rest base, tailstock, and headstock without needing additional accessories. The built-in work light means that when you are using the Jet JWL 1220, your project will always be well-lit so that you can always keep an eye on your work.

Bottom Line

When you are looking for a mini lathe for small and intricate projects, or a midi lathe for slightly larger home projects and artistic designs, you want a lathe that offers freedom of motion and the versatility you demand. Whether you are making a woodware set of bowls, or turning a highly detailed chess set, you want to be able to get the best results. If you are leaning toward the Jet JML 1014 mini lathe for detail work; the Jet JWL 1220 for powerful turning and adjustability; or the Delta Industrial 46-460 midi lathe for versatility and reversible motor – you can easily find the right lathe for your projects, and you will always get the best results for your money.

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