|Review by MNgary||posted 10-20-2011 10:30 AM||6571 views||0 times favorited||17 comments|
While not, in my opinion, a professional level lathe this full-sized lathe is adequate for advanced hobbyists wanting to turn spindles longer than popular midi lathes allow and it does a nice job turning turning shallow bowls. I have not turned pens so do not know how it performs for that more precision task.
Assembly is straightforward and waiting until the 170 pound lathe is placed in its final location before tightening the stand’s bolts allows installation on an uneven concrete floor without the need for leg levelers. Stability is surprisingly good and I have not found a need to add sandbags or other weight on the stand to eliminate vibration. And, after turning more than a few dozen projects, the bolts were still as tight as when initially installed even though I did not use lock-tite.
The 3/4 HP motor has sufficient power to turn cherry and walnut 10” by 4” deep bowls, perhaps even larger but this is the largest I have turned. It also provides the power needed to round and then turn 4” square red oak spindle stock 32” long. The maximum distance between spindles is 35” and height above the tool rest is over 8”, but my spindle work has not exceeded 4” by 32”.
Users are limited to six pre-set speeds ranging from 550 to 3000 rpm. The lathe needs to be running when changing the speed so it needs to be set for initial turning rpm before mounting the stock.
The rotating head is a feature I could not live without. Range of rotation is a full 180 degrees plus and I appreciate and use the outboard bed extension. However, use of the lathe with the head rotated is a challenge because of the tool rest base extension (see below).
The tailstock allows hollow centers for boring and ejects by fully retracting the tailstock. A knockout rod is included for removal of drive centers. I use Sroby drive and live centers with no problems, but I notice a very slight out-of-round situation when using the a Nova G3 chuck and accessories.
I expected better engineering standards and quality control from JET than this lathe includes. Even though JET readily shipped a replacement tool rest base extension at no cost each time I complained, all three (original plus the two replacements) had the same problem with JET unable to offer a solution. With the extension there is a 1/8 inch drop across a 12 inch tool rest because the post is not 90 degrees to the tool rest. Using the tool rest base without the extension provides a parallel to the bed tool rest, however, so the problem is with the extension. In addition, JET’s 6” tool rest has a post which does fit into the tool rest base and, thus, cannot be used. The crudely cast iron 12” tool rest definetly needs filing before use. These, in addition to the G3 . . .
Personally, if I were to purchase a mid-priced lathe again I’d purchase another brand. While the JET 1236 does the job and is priced below other manufacturers with the same features, the quality of this lathe is below my expectations for a machine in this price range.
-- I dream of the world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.