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Buying a lathe at Home Depot...which should I get

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Forum topic by Marcus posted 286 days ago 1763 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Marcus

1041 posts in 646 days


286 days ago

So I have a bunch of Home Depot gift cards that I have just been sitting around and decided to put them towards a lathe. So for the sake of this argument, the lathe universe consists of just whats available at home depot. Im new to turning, just looking to make simple/smaller items….a few pens, maybe a small bowl or two…and want something benchtop so that I can store it away (I dont have a problem moving/lifting 100 lbs, so thats not a worry). I am also looking for variable speed for the convenience factor. It looks like my 3 choices are:

Nova Comet II
http://www.homedepot.com/p/NOVA-12-in-x-16-1-2-in-Comet-II-Variable-Speed-Wood-Lathe-46300/204488330#.Un5KOuI4ljs

This looks great because it would mean almost $0 out of pocket. From looking at reviews, there seems to be some QA issues with them as well.

General 25-200 M1
http://www.homedepot.com/p/General-International-12-in-x-17-in-Variable-Speed-Maxi-Lathe-VS-25-200-M1/204205750#.Un5KhOI4ljs

The digital readout seems to be pretty cool and the turning head might prove useful for future use. Very little for reviews out there.

Jet 1221VS
http://www.homedepot.com/p/JET-12-in-x-21-in-Variable-Speed-Woodworking-Lathe-719200/204077179#specifications

Largest and most powerful (on paper at least) of the 3.

Any thoughts from anyone out there on the three above?


13 replies so far

View Sawdust2012's profile

Sawdust2012

49 posts in 339 days


#1 posted 286 days ago

I’d either go with the Jet or the Nova. If forced to choose right now, I’d do the Nova. Turning is their thing. They make accessories you can attach to the outboard side of the drive. You really cant go wrong with either of the two. I’ve never had anything from Jet that wasnt top rate.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

4825 posts in 1204 days


#2 posted 286 days ago

View lew's profile

lew

9992 posts in 2382 days


#3 posted 286 days ago

What do you want to turn?

If you are turning pens and small diameter spindles, then I’d get the Nova.

If you expect to do bowls or anything that approached the maximum diameter the lathe supports you’ll need more horsepower.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View PaulDoug's profile

PaulDoug

530 posts in 330 days


#4 posted 286 days ago

The Jet has been around and well proven. If you can believe the horsepower rating it has the most. Best warranty. Can run at the slowest speed (important in pen making depending on the type of finish you want to use). That’s the one I’d get, if it were me.

One of the most important things if you get into turning, You will spend a lot more money before your are through (well if you really enjoy it, I guess you never get through buying for it).

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View Bill7255's profile (online now)

Bill7255

143 posts in 912 days


#5 posted 285 days ago

I have the Jet. It is very nice lathe. I also have a Delta Midi lathe. The variable speed on the Jet is nice and generally use this lathe, but the Delta is also a good lathe. I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them, but my first choice would be the Jet, then Nova. Be prepared to spend on chisels and a sharpening system. For pen turing I bought the Shopsmith pen turning chisels. Three chisels in the set. I don’t know if they still sell them. Sorby chisels are also excellent. You will also need a way to sharpen them. I use the Woverine jig with the 8 inch slow speed grinder from Woodcraft. I have the Jet (Tomek) knock off, but haven’t master this system. Note, get a cheap set of chisels to practice sharpening. If you like turning, then you can be on the lookout for a used full size lathe. I found a Powermatic 90 for $180. Doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but is rock solid. You need to be more careful if buying a full size lathe.

-- Bill R

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Jimbo4

1130 posts in 1390 days


#6 posted 285 days ago

Marcus, where do you live so as to purchase these lathe’s at Home Depot? I didn’t know HD sold lathe’s.

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1041 posts in 646 days


#7 posted 285 days ago

They’re all available online and will ship to the store for free. None are actually in stock at the store.

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1130 posts in 1390 days


#8 posted 285 days ago

Thanks, never thought about online for HD. I’ll pass it along.

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3873 posts in 1007 days


#9 posted 285 days ago

The Jet is very popular but the Nova is less expensive and is also good from what I read. Both are good companies so the HP ratings are probably correct. I’d be tempted to get the Nova and have money left over. Nova + Delta/Nova chuck will run you $670.00; plan another $100-200 for tools, so $800-900 just to get started.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View PaulDoug's profile

PaulDoug

530 posts in 330 days


#10 posted 284 days ago

Yep, the lathe is the cheap part of the hobby! Fortunately the expensive part can be spread out over a longer time. You will save on the tool side also if you can get into a turning club. They will show you what is what so you don’t waste money on unnecessary items. One thing I will advice, if you go Nova, DO NOT buy the Nova sharpening jig set up. I had one and it ended up in my metal scrap pile. Seriously!

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1130 posts in 1390 days


#11 posted 284 days ago

Marcus, go to www.woodturnerscatalog.com for all kinds of turning accessories.

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View Darell's profile

Darell

421 posts in 2221 days


#12 posted 284 days ago

Our turning club just purchased two of the Jet 1221 VS lathes this past summer. They have held up well with our class schedule. I don’t know much about the Nova. I have the Nova DVR but that’s another class of lathe. One thing you might consider is the bed length. The Jet is 21” between centers while the Nova is only 16.5”. That could be a limiting factor if you get into pepper mills or longer spindle turnings. Happy Turnings!

-- Darell, Norman, Ok.

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

514 posts in 662 days


#13 posted 280 days ago

I’d say either the Nova or the Jet. They’re both decent lathes and use quality materials and parts. I personally haven’t used the Nova, but have friends who like them. I have two Jets and the quality is decent, and the warranty is good.

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