Jet 1236 lathe - too much money?

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Forum topic by opalko posted 02-05-2010 10:49 PM 16300 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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148 posts in 3004 days

02-05-2010 10:49 PM

I am looking at a used Jet 1236 for sale – $650 – slightly used. Not knowing much about lathes and what I need it also includes a set of turning tools, extra chucks (?), 2 different tool rests, a “Oneway jumbo jaws”. Attached are pictures. I’ve also heard that the Harbor Freight lathe is a clone, and a good deal when on sale (like now). Is this Jet and associated tools $400 better than the HF one?





8 replies so far

View dbhost's profile


5705 posts in 3201 days

#1 posted 02-05-2010 11:36 PM

I have the HF lathe, and am very happy with it. That being said, it looks like that Jet has a Oneway chuck, jumbo jaws, extra tool rests, which if you can get that 1236 for $400.00 would make it a fair deal. But… Let me break this down for you to what you need to get going…

Lathe. The HF #34706 is functionally equivalent to the Jet JWL1236, AND since you are buying it new, you can opt for the extended warranty, which HF is really good about honoring… The lathe is on sale right now for $229.00, the current (March) issue of Wood Magazine has a HF 20% off coupon in it, I have also received one in the coupon bundles that come in the mail last week. So $229.00 – 20% or $45.80 is $183.20. (Pick up in store, web prices differ…)

Penn State Industries sells a nice chuck, not as nice as the Oneway mind you, but a perfectly good chuck that is on sale right now WITH the jumbo jaws for $89.95

A good starter set of turning tools would the the PSI Benjamin’s Best 8 piece HSS set. $69.95 (Back ordered until early March…).

I believe the post on the tool rest for the lathe is 5/8” but I could stand to be corrected. The main tool rest that I would like to add to my collection, as the ones he showed were of no interest to me, would be the S tool rest, or French Curve tool rest. Again, PSI has them for $19.99

Lathe. $183.20
Chuck and Jaws $89.95
Turning Tools. $69.95
Tool Rest. $19.99
Total. $363.09

Do you have someplace else you could put $286.91?

How about stuff for turning you won’t get with that CL deal…
Important stuff like…
PSI Prescision 4 pc sharpening system WITH 2 speed 8” bench grinder with aluminum oxide wheels. $239.95
Add a few extra bucks and grab a PSI Big Red dust hood on rolling stand. You can use this with your lathe, AND miter saw… $79.95…

Hope this helps!

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View Padre's profile


930 posts in 3458 days

#2 posted 02-06-2010 12:11 AM

As dbbhost says, there are going to be a lot of ancillary costs involved with buying this lathe! :) And that is just the tip of the ice berg.

You need to ask: What do I want to turn? How big do I want to turn? You can always turn small stuff on a big lathe, but you can’t turn big stuff on a small lathe. :)

With all due respect to dbbhost, I also think that Jet is a much better lathe than HF. Now, I must admit, I have used numerous Jet lathes and only one HF, but to me the difference was night and day.

Take your time. Check out the midi-lathes too. I just got the new Delta midi they have on sale at Woodcraft, and love it. I have a Powermatic 3520b too. Powermatic is now made by Jet.

Good luck.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View hairy's profile


2662 posts in 3501 days

#3 posted 02-06-2010 12:16 AM

I would go with the Jet if it was my decision to make.

There’s a reason they don’t cost the same. 650 for all that is a good deal, the way I see it. Good luck with your choice! Turning is major fun.

-- My reality check bounced...

View opalko's profile


148 posts in 3004 days

#4 posted 02-06-2010 01:40 AM

OK! Thanks for the advice, less sure now. I like dbhost’s advice, but I tend to think the brand name still means something, but who knows. Interesting the 2 links for each lathe that were sent – they are the same weight to within a pound! They sure look similarly built… I just don’t know.

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3450 days

#5 posted 02-06-2010 01:58 AM

I’d go with the Jet. The only down side is that this lathe uses what’s called a Reeves drive. Two pulleys that that open and close to change the speed. Neat idea for a system, but it does have it’s down sides. The pulleys can break and it’s pretty rough on belts and usually need to be replaced semi regularly. The slowest speed is still pretty fast (500 RPM) which can make it difficult to do larger diameter turnings. However, my father has the Delta version of this lathe and loves it and it can be a good lathe to get started turning with. And the extras are great.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View dbhost's profile


5705 posts in 3201 days

#6 posted 02-06-2010 06:49 AM

I’ve used the Jet as well. I like the JWL 1236, I just don’t think the fit and finish differences are worth the extra bucks. And a name brand on a plate doesn’t make a tool work any better than Chrome makes a car go faster… As the old 4 wheeler’s saying goes. Chrome don’t get ya home…

If you can get to seeing an actual 34706 in person, and not the ones that get stripped for parts on the showroom floor at Harbor Freight, you will find they are a very useful, functional lathe, that a LOT of us start out with, and many folks, when they upgrade keep around…

The only advantage to the Jet that I can see is improved resale value. I see used 34706’s on Craigslist locally for $125.00 reasonably frequently. $250.00 with a basic set of turning tools, chuck, etc…

I’m not saying the Jet is a bad lathe, but in that price range, you can get a MUCH nicer lathe, or a lathe and a bunch of goodies to go with it… In my local Craigslist there is a Nova TL1200 w/ tools, chucks etc… for $400.00, a 34706 with a 4 jaw chuck (looks like the PSI) and a basic tool set for $200.00.

Like I said in my first post, if he was selling for $400.00, it would be worth looking into, for $650.00, it’s just not that good of a bargain, there are better out there…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Chiefk's profile


163 posts in 3740 days

#7 posted 02-06-2010 05:04 PM

I purchased a used lathe. With the lathe I got a fully set of Sorby turning tools, two oneway chucks along with a box of other accessories. The value of the items I received with the lathe exceeded the amount I paid for the lathe. Take a look at the value of the items you are getting with the lathe. That may make you decision easier. pkennedy

-- P Kennedy Crossville, TN

View mikedrums's profile


102 posts in 3005 days

#8 posted 02-07-2010 03:42 AM

I have that Jet lathe and haven’t a single complaint.

If you do go with the HF, get the extended warranty. The thing about HF’s “big” tools is there always seems to be one little thing wrong that ends up being a big deal. Like maybe the arbor is just a tad loose or non-concentric. Something you think isn’t a big deal until it effects the quality of your work. Also, even though the motor specs are the same as the Jet in print, they often are far from it in practice. Those chinese motors sometime run way too hot, are too underpowered, noisy, etc, etc, or just crap out after a year.

The extended can get you out of a bind if you discover problems after some use. But in my opinion, if think you’ll get serious about turning and just don’t want to deal with any crap, why handicap yourself, just get the Jet.

Besides, if you decide to chuck it (pun), in a year you’ll be able to sell the Jet for what you paid but you won’t get a hundred bucks for the HF.

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