Awesome little lathe (and bed extension)

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Review by John posted 1490 days ago 5126 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Awesome little lathe (and bed extension) Awesome little lathe (and bed extension) Awesome little lathe (and bed extension) Click the pictures to enlarge them

My shopsmith was a great intro into turning, but it was just way too short and I had to bend uncomfortably to use it.

This lathe is set to the perfect height on a shop built bench.

Bought it last year on sale at woodcraft – December I think – I believe they go on sale every winter, worth the wait.

This little lathe has lots of power, is built like a rock and was thoughtfully designed including the tool caddy that hangs off the back of the headstock. Speed changes are quick using the pulleys. It has index stops, 1”by 8TPI head and MT#2 on both ends with built in knock out on the tail and a knock out rod in the head. both ends are hollow through so lamp drilling or vacuum chucks are viable.

I have 2 issues, one my fault, one either my fault or lack of understanding (anyone suggesting I should read the manual is itching for a fight – I would sooner ask for directions when driving)

1 – My bench is not on an even floor – even with shims, the top is not perfectly level, as a result, the tailstock is not perfectly aligned with the headstock – especially so when the tailstock is on the extension – I have more alignment work to do.

2 – The tailstock loosens too quickly from vibration in my opinion – probably me and I probably need to adjust the cam clamp somehow, but the banjo cam is great and stays tight, I guess I just expect the tailstock to be the same way out of the box.

I’ve done little bowls, tool handles, pens and a fat stubby bat so far – I love this little lathe and recommend it to anyone considering the more expensive Jet midi.

-- John - Central PA -

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341 posts in 2424 days

9 comments so far

View wseand's profile (online now)


2119 posts in 1667 days

#1 posted 1490 days ago

Maybe you should read, just kidding. Great review, I am looking into lathes in the next few month, thanks for the review.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View lew's profile


9991 posts in 2381 days

#2 posted 1490 days ago

Thanks for the review! Looks like a pretty impressive piece of equipment.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View MOJOE's profile


547 posts in 1894 days

#3 posted 1489 days ago

Hey, I wonder if you might be better off shimming the lathe to help align. You can probably find some metal shim material somewhere. Not sure about adjusting the cam clamp, as I have never seen it…...probably fairly straightforward though…...thanks for the review, I have been looking at this lathe for a while now, and since there is a WoodCraft down the street from my office, I will stop by there in the winter.

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

View Roper's profile


1357 posts in 2339 days

#4 posted 1489 days ago

tighten the metal plate under the tail stock so when you use the cam clamp it clamps all the way down. i have the same lathe as my little portable lathe it is a great tool.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View jerset's profile


37 posts in 1492 days

#5 posted 1484 days ago

I agree this a great heavy lathe. I got mine a year and a half ago. Turned several bowls and a few spindle projects. The only problem was the indexing pin fell out, called Rikon and had a tech walk me through the fix in 2 minutes, got lucky and found the pin in the chips under the lathe and got it back in with needle nose pliers.

-- jerset

View jim C's profile

jim C

1452 posts in 1724 days

#6 posted 1443 days ago

I just purchased this lathe today. (9-8-2010) I went into Woodcraft, to look at the Jet mni and low and behold, the Rikon was on sale for $269.99…Normal list is $349.99.
I loaded it up, brought it home, and had just the right height and length bench to set it on.
It took me all of 30 minutes to clean off the rust preventer and put together. I have a few Jacobs chucks with the #2 morse taper laying around, so I shoved one in the spindle, (instant 3 jaw chuck), one in the tailstock and I was drilling and turning oak dowelrod into a pulley in about an hour after purchase!
The lathe out of the box is dead on, assembly was effortless and he quality looks and feels great. it just humms
I’m a happy camper, as I’m into whirligigs and this lathe is just the right size for pulleys, small pins etc.
Hmmm, maybe I’ll turn a bowl…...........

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View HorizontalMike's profile


6923 posts in 1540 days

#7 posted 620 days ago

I’ve got my eye on this one. If the funds come in, I’ll bite. Thanks for the review.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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jim C

1452 posts in 1724 days

#8 posted 620 days ago

It’s been 2+ years since I bought mine.
Still love it and no issues.
Mike, check at Woodcraft. Maybe they’ll tell you when it go’s on sale.

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View woodturner52's profile


6 posts in 695 days

#9 posted 579 days ago

After much research, decided on this lathe. Been a wood turner since high school shop class. Just purchased 1/12/2013, can’t wait to set up. Replaces Craftsman variable speed lathe. More to follow after set up and use!

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