JET 1220VS Mini Lathe

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Forum topic by rrdesigns posted 01-08-2012 07:36 AM 5470 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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532 posts in 3384 days

01-08-2012 07:36 AM

Is this a good “first” lathe?

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

12 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3846 days

#1 posted 01-08-2012 08:11 AM

Yes, if it meets your criteria for the size of work you want to
do on a lathe. Such a lathe won’t be much good for turning
table legs, but for finials, tool handles, modest bowls and so
forth it should be fine…. and reasonably portable.

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 3596 days

#2 posted 01-08-2012 09:25 AM

You can get a bed extension for the 1220 at a decent price many times that will nearly double the between center capacity. I know several guys who have big lathes like the PM3520B but they also have a 1220 for the smaller and mid-range work. It is a nice machine for the price.

-- Tom Hintz,

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3846 days

#3 posted 01-08-2012 10:23 AM

I want a mini lathe myself. You’ll find, if you own a full-sized
lathe, that it is a space-hog and you’ll pile junk on and around
it unless you turn often. Owning a mini lathe makes you
a mini-turner but at least you aren’t obliged to work around
a big tool you seldom use.

View northwoodsman's profile


245 posts in 3944 days

#4 posted 01-08-2012 05:33 PM

You’ll find that the lathe is the cheapest part of the hobby.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3297 days

#5 posted 01-08-2012 05:48 PM

Go to the Woodcraft site and look at the Rikon 70-100 mini lathe.
$399.00 list price. They run sales on them periodically. I got mine for $299.00 at their retail store.
A 24” extension is $100.00 if you are turning long pieces.
I never did a review, but I’m very happy with it. I’ve had it for a year+

View jlt's profile


30 posts in 2551 days

#6 posted 01-08-2012 10:39 PM

I bought the 1220 as a first lathe and have totally gotten the bug. I’ve outgrown it in many ways in just a year. Yes, I can do pens, small bowls, bottle stoppers, toy wheels, etc, but I can’t spin larger pieces of wood to make larger bowls and hollow forms. If I had to do it all over again, I would do the Nova 1624 with the rotatable head for larger bowls. Good luck and beware, turning can be addictive!

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 2961 days

#7 posted 01-08-2012 11:52 PM

It’s probably a good idea to start with a midi-lathe, to see if you want to persue the idea of turning. Like all of us, I was hooked! Sold my Rikon 70-100, got a Nova DVR, and never looked back.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3273 days

#8 posted 01-09-2012 12:17 AM

Once again, I will probably be the minority opinion here. Yet, I feel compelled to play a little devil’s advocate on the subject or mini/midi lathes.

If I had a need to transport my lathe to remote locations, I would seriously consider a mini or midi lathe. If, I had no plans to transport my lathe out of the shop, I fail to appreciate why a mini or midi lathe.

Yes, they are cheaper, buy only a relatively small margin. Consider this lathe -

In the interest of full disclosure, I own this model and like it very much. I wrote a review some time ago.

This lathe does everything a mini or midi will do and a whole lot more. For only a couple or hundred dollars more. Please realize that buying the lathe is only the start of the expenses you will incur. When you consider the cost of cutting tools, chucks, sharpening devices, etc. you will probably be in the $1000 range with any mini or midi lathe. The extra for a floor mounted lathe will probably be less than a 20% increase and, for that increase, you capabilities will be greatly enhanced.

Often people buy mini or mide lathes to start and then step up to a floor model. You’ll save money if you just go to the floor mount lathe in the first place.

People talk of taking up room. Most mini or midi lathes set on a stand. The foot print of that stand is not much smaller than the footprint of a floor mount model.

Some may think that a mini or midi will be easier to work with and easier to learn on. That is just not true. In fact, the opposite may be true. It’s best for your lathe to be solid and secure with very little vibration. The heavier weight of a floor mount lathe will aid in making the lathe solid and stable.

I have heard people with a mini or midi say they wish they had gotten a floor mount in the first place. I’ve never heard the opposite.

Just my opinion.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Gibbs's profile


22 posts in 2527 days

#9 posted 01-11-2012 05:29 AM

Mini or Midi lathe for me would be just about enough. Even though I would not be moving it around, the only thing I’m intereseted in is turning a piece of apricot wood blank into a DUDUK, a flute or woodwind instrument about 14” long and about !” widest OD at the moutpiece and down a bit from that. I have small shop, Quonset, and I would plan to secure it to an old metal desk…. or other. So, Beth, or others, I guess it is what you have a goal in mind for doing with the lathe. 14” long centers, no bowls, no table legs, just turning wood down to a small round stick with a hole down the center and a few holes on the top and bottom. Probably don’t need a full size lathe eating up the watts. yes, big lathes have big motors and if you ever run one for a long time you will notice a cost difference in how much electricity you are using, not to mention the cost of any motor that might need replaced over the long haul.

My 7 cents worth (adjusted for inflation)

-- Vern in SW Michigan look me up at my website at sometime

View rrdesigns's profile


532 posts in 3384 days

#10 posted 01-15-2012 07:30 AM

@richgreer-What kind of turning do you do? The price on the Grizzly looks too good to be true for the features that it boasts. I haven’t made my purchase yet and am still considering all my options. Several people have told me to think bigger, that the Jet 1220 is too limiting. I went to a turning class today to make pepper mills and discovered that very thing. It is too small to drill them out.

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

View michelletwo's profile


2767 posts in 3214 days

#11 posted 01-15-2012 01:24 PM

Hi Beth: What do you wish to turn? I think that is the real question.. A 12” swing lathe is quite adequate for most turning you see done on any forum. But folks always dream of making 22 inch bowls. ( I dunno why!!) Your 1220 or the Delta 46-60 are terrific for new turners. Get the bed extension. I have been turning for 25 yrs & have 5 lathes, so I know a tad about this. if you have any questions, send me a private message & i’ll be happy to help.

View pvwoodcrafts's profile


244 posts in 4120 days

#12 posted 01-15-2012 03:25 PM

My first was a 12-20 vs. has been good to me . I just received my new 1624 Nova just for the capacity. I’m planning to keep my 1220 for some of my smaller stuff too.

-- mike & judy western md. www.

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