|Review by Tim Scoville||posted 04-25-2009 11:02 PM||10360 views||0 times favorited||11 comments|
I had been looking for a bigger lathe for some time. Larger Jets, Powermatics, One-Ways, Stubbys, Nova, Grizzly, etc. I had been doing pretty well with my old (hybrid) Jet JWL-1236. I had bought it from a guy used who had bought an old head and mated it to a newer bed and tail stock then crafted his own welded steel and cast iron support for it. It was obviously something thrown together but worked pretty well for me. I didn’t have the full range of speeds (6) that I was suppoed to have and I couldn’t lock it into the two lowest speeds, so that was a problem and it wasn’t heavy or powerful enough to cut bigger stuff at lower speeds and withstand the vibration. Even so, the swiveling head allowed me to turn stuff up to 20” in diameter with some caution, but it was never intended for that.
Anyway, price and function drove me to look more closely at a new Laguna entry into the woodworking lathe genre of tools. I have no other Laguna Tools, but found this when doing one of my many on-line searches. The swing was between that of the larger Jet and the Powermatic I was looking at, yet priced about the same as the Jet. The bed was longer and the unit a bit heaver than the Jet, both good for me. After doing some soul searching, comparisons with others, and wearing down my wife a bit, I took the plunge and bought one.
Set up was pretty straightforward. Nothing was broken or amiss. Make sure you have a friend or two or some wheeled dolly to get it where it needs to go – it is heavy. The bolts holding the head and tailstock onto the bed ways are bit too long and had to be filed to achieve clearance to slide both into the slots on the bottom side of the bed. I needed to do a bit of grinding to make it fit. The cool Laguna name on the legs are cheesy decals – this was a bit disappointing. The cast iron legs have a pebbly (probably as-cast) finish and applying a transparent decal over it looks very amateurish because it only makes contact on all the highpoints. It should have been painted or a different type of decal applied.
Once ready to run, the belt squealed. I made some adjustments to the pulleys (very minor) but the squealing persists. Although it says a minimum speed of <50>t know how many Laguna has sold but I had to wait a couple of months for mine. Customer support has been good to work with but I am still dealing with a bit of a squeal with the belt. Otherwise, color me a satisfied customer. I think I paid around $1700 for it, but price on their site is at $1854 now.
More info on it can be found here.
-- Tim S, WA