Reply by rcwoodturning

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Posted on The most appropriate sized lathe?

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63 posts in 3113 days

#1 posted 03-13-2010 01:27 AM

Hi mtkate,
I purchased a Jet 1236 two years ago, not being sure which direction I wanted to go in…just wanted to have a lathe again. If I were to do it over, I would have given more thought to what I wanted to make, and purchase accordingly. The Jet is under powered, and not up to the tasks that I put it through. I have upgraded to a 1960’s vintage Yates-American J-170 high school shop class lathe that I rebuilt. It is adequate, for now. It handles the heavy drilling that I do for my tube forms, and the 2 hp DC motor and drive deliver speeds from dead slow to a whole lot faster than I care to turn. I added sand bag ballast to both support columns, and the beast weighs in around 800# now. If you want to do bowls, as said above, you need to deal with out-of-balance vibration, swing capability, and a variable speed drive is a must…Reeves drives that have a split pully, as on my Jet, don’t typically go any slower than 500rpm, which is faster than I would want to rough out a large, wobbly chunk of wet wood. This is not an endorsement, but if you have the money, a Powermatic 3520B has gotten good revues, and is probably all the lathe you’ll need for quite sometime. I would also suggest that you join the American Association of Woodturners ( ), and go to local and national symposiums…you’ll be exposed to some fantastic educational opportunities.
I’ll be glad to help you in your search in any way,

-- Somewhere out there in the woodpile is what I seek...

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