Need advice on picking Lathe

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Forum topic by Noviceboone posted 10-04-2016 02:02 AM 982 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 801 days

10-04-2016 02:02 AM

Hello all, ive recently decided to adventure into the wood turning hobby. I need to begin by buying my first Lathe. I have a small budget so I’m in hopes of getting something used that’s decent. I have narrowed it down to two options that people are selling online in my general area. I would like to use the lathe to turn bowls and and some other small items. I know that the two lathes I’ve narrowed down to are on the opposite spectrums but they are the best quality in my general price range. The first is a Grizzly Industrial lathe with a 2hp 110v motor and a large 16”swing for $200. It has some rust but doesn’t look that bad with a little TLC I think it would basically be brand new. The second is a Jet mini lathe with a 1/2 hp motor and attached steel legs for $300. Which of the two would be better for a beginner and which is the best quality? Thanks for any info. Like I mentioned I am brand new into the hobby and at this point pretty ignorant to woodturning machines. Appreciate the help!

16 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5549 posts in 3864 days

#1 posted 10-04-2016 12:21 PM

If you are going to turn bowls, 600rpm is way too fast for a minimum speed.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View LeeMills's profile


618 posts in 1502 days

#2 posted 10-04-2016 01:44 PM

I can’t speak as to the quality of either.
The grizzly is fast for any bowl over 8”, especially rough turning,
However, at 1/2 HP the Jet probably does not have the oomph to turn a bowl over that also without stalling a lot.
I would go with the grizzly myself. You should be able to turn larger platters and of course, longer items on the Grizzly. My daughter has a mini and it is a pain trying to drill a pepper mill or similar items with the short bed.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Noviceboone's profile


3 posts in 801 days

#3 posted 10-04-2016 03:33 PM

Thanks guys for the replies. Any and all info is appreciated, like I said I’m just starting out and unfortunately I have no one to gain knowledge from that practices the hobby, what kind of RPM should I be looking for in order to turn bowls?

View LeeMills's profile


618 posts in 1502 days

#4 posted 10-04-2016 05:11 PM

This is a chart of “suggested” speeds by Teknatool (Nova).

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Wildwood's profile


2473 posts in 2335 days

#5 posted 10-04-2016 07:54 PM

That Grizzly G0462 not a great lathe due to vibration and see the day will not be able to get parts for it. I am not so bothered by slowest speed of 800 RPM’s as many here. Not so dangerous if turn between centers first before mounting on a faceplate or chuck. Do agree slower speed of 500 RPM’s mo-better. That weak tailstock and toolrest more of a problem for me!

The Jet 1014 is more dependable but even with the stand too much money for it. Jet came out with 1015 replacement so don’t see parts being readily available much longer.

So don’t think either lathe is that great for a beginner. This is an inexpensive light duty starter lathe but slowest RPM’s 600. They often go on sale for less. If can buy on sale do look at their optional service agreement. You can read reviews here and other message boards.

For little more money this lathe might be the ticket for you!

Since don’t know anything about you or where you live recommend buying new instead of used. Having the ability to exchange or get a refund should things go south main reason.

-- Bill

View Underdog's profile


1227 posts in 2236 days

#6 posted 10-04-2016 09:21 PM

I’d offer $200 on the Jet mini with the stand and see if they’ll take it.
It was one of my first lathes. With a bed extension, brand new, I paid about $200 and got a $50 rebate. That was in 2004-ish. It’s a decent lathe for the money. I didn’t have many problems with it – fried a motor capacitor once. Replacement cost was cheap, and it was easy to replace. And yes you can turn bowls on it. Just make sure to stay out of the “firing line”, and keep the speed down as far as possible when starting up. Also get the blank trued up as much as possible before mounting it. Buy a good face shield first thing though.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View Woodknack's profile


12431 posts in 2581 days

#7 posted 10-06-2016 01:57 AM

Delta midi is on sale for under $400 new, insanely cheap for this lathe

-- Rick M,

View Kirk650's profile


576 posts in 949 days

#8 posted 10-06-2016 02:43 AM

I had the Jet 1014 with variable speed control, and it was a great little lathe. I sold it and the extension for $300 and bought a 1221evs. Also a great lathe. I upgraded for the larger swing and the 21 inches between centers.

View LoyalAppleGeek's profile


160 posts in 1095 days

#9 posted 10-06-2016 03:02 AM

Many of the people here are right. Neither is particularly perfect for a beginner, and there’s also the price of decent gouges to consider. While this may work better for me than others, I would recommend building your own as I did. If you already own a table saw or circular saw, all you need is $60.00, a weekend and a set of plans from Izzy Swan. Mine Is designed to be a router duplicator, but I would be happy to show you my design for the tool rest.

There are a few advantages to this:
-With practice, standard chisels can be used rather than gouges, saving a hefty price tag
-should you use the router, there is virtually no learning curve and the finish is very smooth
-if you do not own a router, you can purchase one with the money saved
-it is driven using a drill (6 Amp minimum) meaning the speed can be adjusted to any RPM writhing the range of the drill. The price of a drill to power it is included in the $60 I quoted.
-light weight, and can be stored when not in use if your workspace is small

I have used my machine on many occasions and am very pleased with it, it’s definitely something to consider. You can always upgrade later once your skill set improves.

Hope this helps! PM me if you have any questions :-)

View Burbs's profile


48 posts in 885 days

#10 posted 10-06-2016 03:17 AM

I’ve been researching lathes for over a year and if I was going to buy one right now with the money I have I’d go with the Delta midi. Accessories add up fast though so expect to pay another couple hundred + for tools, faceplate, chuck, glue, sandpaper, finish….. it adds up fast. I’ve been able to play on some small lathes, a delta midi, and a powermatic and was all set to go out ad buy a Delta midi until I used that Powermatic. Now I’m saving and am hoping to take a loan out after my snowmobile is payed off to buy a Nova DVR or possibly the Powermatic but it is a lot of money.
I’d recommend getting to a woodcraft when they offer a turning class or look online for local turning clubs and trying it out before you take the plunge. At the very least I would wait for something on Craigslist that included some tools that was cheap, cheap even if its a mini. It’ll let you get your hands dirty and you won’t be out much when you decide to upgrade and going strictly off the people I know and what I’ve read, if you get hooked, you will want bigger and better.

-- ---The day I learn nothing of value will be the day I'm laid to rest--- Burbs

View Roy Turbett's profile

Roy Turbett

168 posts in 3781 days

#11 posted 10-08-2016 01:43 AM

+1 on classes and a turning club. I’d pass on the Jet because it doesn’t look like it has the electronic variable speed control and I’d pass on the Grizzly for the same reason.

View Kirk650's profile


576 posts in 949 days

#12 posted 10-08-2016 02:40 AM

I’m with Roy on the need for variable speed. My Jet 1014 had that, and if there’s a better beginner lathe, I don’t know what it’d be. I could get by without EVS, but I’d be missing it and whining about it.

View Roy Turbett's profile

Roy Turbett

168 posts in 3781 days

#13 posted 10-08-2016 02:57 AM

If you’re the least bit handy and enjoy restoring old machines, you should also consider a Powermatic 90. They were very common in schools because they are near bullet proof. Most of them have three phase motors that can be converted to single phase with the addition of a VFD. They typically sell for $400 to $1,200 from private individuals and school auctions. VFD’s and controls add about another $200. Look for one that has the motor mounted in the cabinet with a jackshaft. These were made from late 1972 to 1997 and provide the best performance. Also be sure that all the parts are there because replacement parts can cost as much or more than the lathe. I’ve rebuilt four of them and still use one as my primary lathe (I also have a Jet mini).

View Leo Van Der Loo's profile

Leo Van Der Loo

45 posts in 959 days

#14 posted 10-08-2016 03:44 AM

I have 3 lathes, one Jet 1014 which is a nice little lathe to turn pens and bottle stoppers, underpowered for bowl turning.

I also have the Delta 46-460 for about 6 years, and use it quite a lot also turn bowls on it as it has the 12.5” swing and a 1hp motor, very nice lathe and at less than $360—on I would recommend that lathe as a very good lathe for a beginner or even experienced turner.

My other lathe is a large metal lathe that I build an outboard woodturning setup for, I turn my large bowls up to 34” on it

-- Have fun and take care

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Leo Van Der Loo

45 posts in 959 days

#15 posted 10-08-2016 03:47 AM

-- Have fun and take care

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