is it my lathe, the electrics, or both?

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Forum topic by leeko posted 02-12-2012 03:28 PM 1267 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 2867 days

02-12-2012 03:28 PM

Hi all,

I recently purchased a new lathe,the harbor freight 34706 clone of the jet 1236. I read a bunch of reviews beforehand, and understood that I would be getting a good lathe for the price ($200) but with a potentially underpowered motor which can get bogged down on larger bowls.

I”ve been very pleased with the purchase, but have a question:

The motor seems to get bogged down easier than I’ve read should be the case. First, on a maple platter 10” x 2.5” deep, I could take only very light cuts, and it would still slow the motor. Next, on an 8” x 5” deep pine bowl, which is actually very lightweight, I’m getting slowdown as well. On a few occasions, on a longer cut, the lathe slowed down then the circuit breaker to my garage tripped. Notably, that has also happened with my bandsaw.

Now, I’m sure there’s a problem with the Electrics in my garage,and have scheduled an electrician to come out. But, do you think that fixing that may also improve the lathe’s “oomph”? Or is that likely a different issue?

I”m also having problems with the reeves drive slipping at higher speeds, even after changing the belt for a napa replacement, but I think that’s down to the cold weather more than anything else…

Thanks for your suggestions,


6 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3888 days

#1 posted 02-12-2012 03:55 PM

what’s the Amp rating in your garage circuit? how many things are you running on it at the same time (light/DC/tool/other)?

since you mentioned your bandsaw trips your breaker, I suspect you are experiencing both – insufficient electric current in your circuits as well as a low performing motor on your lathe.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View leeko's profile


15 posts in 2867 days

#2 posted 02-12-2012 05:10 PM

Hi Purp,

Thanks for the reply. I wouldn’t know where to start with the electrics, so I’ve got someone coming to take a look. I do have a lot of tools in the garage, but generally the only ones that are plugged in at the same time are my lathe, bandsaw, disc/belt sander and a portable heater. I’m only running one tool at any time (only one pair of hands!). I think the lights and all the outlets are on the same circuit, because when the breaker goes, everything switches off.

I’m also thinking it’s both, but do you think fixing the electrics could potentially allow the lathe to perform better? It’s not, and never will be, a powermatic, but better than it is now?

Thanks again,


View Scot's profile


344 posts in 3636 days

#3 posted 02-12-2012 06:44 PM

Sounds like you are having an under voltage problem. If this is the case, you will eventually end up with a bunch of burned out motors. Have an electrician install a dedicated circuit for your shop equipment. If you are only running one machine at a time you can multiple receptacles ( one for each machine ) to eliminate extension cords and make things easier.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View MrRon's profile


5275 posts in 3483 days

#4 posted 02-19-2012 11:03 PM

You should have as a minimum, #12 wire on a 20amp circuit for 110 volt receptacles; #14 wire for lighting on a 15 amp circuit ONLY and #10 or #12 for hardwired 220 volt circuits.

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 2621 days

#5 posted 02-21-2012 09:49 AM

That lathe is only 6 amps at 120 volts so it’s sounds like running to many things at the same time or incorrect gauge of wire or both. I would have somebody qualified check it out too, I have been thinking about a buying that lathe so I am curious if it’s the tool or a wiring problem. Good luck.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3290 days

#6 posted 02-21-2012 03:01 PM

The lathe is most likely fine. Lights lathe and a PORTABLE HEATER on what is likely a 25 amp circuit is as others have mentioned, a recipie for disaster. Also, if trying to use turning tools as they come from the store without honing, you will experience problems. Tools have to be sharp too. Get a couple more 20 amp circuits.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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