Thoughts on the Rikon 70-450 20"x37" Lathe

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Forum topic by JamesVavra posted 12-19-2013 10:42 PM 4359 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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304 posts in 3314 days

12-19-2013 10:42 PM

Does anyone have any experience with the bigger Rikon Lathes? Specifically, I’m looking at the 70-450 ( There are not a lot of reviews out on this one.

It’s a 20” with only a 1.5HP motor, though it’s got 6 speed ranges, so torque shouldn’t be too bad.

The biggest feature that I like on this one is the rotating headstock. I’ve got that on my Jet 1442 and love it. Not many of the 20” lathes have this feature (other than the Nova DVR). Also, at $2500 it’s very nicely priced.

I’d love to hear from anyone with first hand experience on one (or the 70-500, 70-425, or even the 70-300). I’ve read lots of posts just like this and it’s a lot of folks chiming in with speculation but not too many actual owners.


15 replies so far

View copcarcollector's profile


256 posts in 2116 days

#1 posted 12-19-2013 10:58 PM

I don’t have a Rikon, just going to chime in though!

Have you considered the Nova DVR 2024? Smaller between centers but it has more horsepower, and DVR drive, no belts to move around. Higher top end RPM as well, and only a couple hundred bucks more.

I do like where the power switch is located on the Rikon, that’s kind of cool.

Just food for thought. Whatever your decision, Happy Turning!

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#2 posted 12-20-2013 10:40 AM

Oh, for lot more money can buy a Nova mini lathe with more swing and no cast iron legs.

Rikon 450 & 425, & Woodfast clone Model70-500

Cost of these lathes $2100, $2500, and $3,000 would make you think lot of sales and many reviews. Prices are more competitive than Jet & Powermatic lathes. Sadly no chatter from owners of these lathes. Guess turners that have turned on these lathes at trade shows not impressed, many feel quality might be an issue. Would definitely have a conversation with people at Woodcraft about returning or repairing before consider buying one.

I know with a few exceptions owners manual for their 1642 almost same as my Jet 1642.

-- Bill

View los's profile


49 posts in 3548 days

#3 posted 12-27-2013 08:18 PM


I picked up the Nova 2024 in Nov on sale for $2600 on Amazon. Keep a look out for it going on sale.

Its an awesome lathe. I had the Nova 1624 for a couple years and wanted more swing and variable speed.

*I just checked Amazon while writing this and its on sale for $2644 with free shipping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tons of torque, electronic variable speed, remote watch band with on/off and speed control, 20 inch swing, rotating headstock(I picked up the outboard tool rest but havent used it yet, used many times on my 1624)

You cant go wrong at that price. Its also a compact size vs most of the 20 inch lathes.

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#4 posted 12-27-2013 10:06 PM

JMHO, NOVA 2024 not flying off the shelves, as fast as vendors & Teknatool would like. See where Terry Scott from NZ, trying to crate interest over at wood central. Tool rest & circuit boards a problem for some turners.

Problem for swiveling headstock lathes is re-aligning after rotating headstock. No problem this tool makes task a snap.

Comparing a Nova to Rikon full size lathes like comparing apples & oranges.

Still think turners including myself not really interested in a swiveling headstock on a lathe with large swing. Have a lathe with sliding headstock and never use that feature.

-- Bill

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304 posts in 3314 days

#5 posted 12-27-2013 11:47 PM

I use the swiveling headstock almost every time I turn. I do very little spindle turning and removing material from a bowl or hollow form (after turning a tenon and mounting in a chuck) is far easier with the headstock kicked out a little – there’s no need to lean over the ways and kill your back.

The nova is just not in the same class: it is incredibly light and cannot have the same torque at lower RPMs – that’s just physics. It’s also much, much shorter. I don’t often turn beyond 20” long, but that room is needed when using an articulate hollowing arm or captured system.

It’s not an option for many reasons, which is why I specifically asked for Comments from folks who have used the Rikon.

Sigh, this is going to be one more post with no real info on that lathe.

View Woodknack's profile


11626 posts in 2379 days

#6 posted 12-28-2013 12:21 AM

I think you got your answer… no one here has experience with that lathe. Also the link in your OP includes a parenthesis and doesn’t work.

One thing I’ve noticed in comparison reviews over the last few years is that Rikon motors were often underpowered when compared against other brands with the same HP rating. Not that they are bad but either the Rikon HP figures were bloated on those machines or the other manufacturers were sandbagging; that included one lathe review (different model). Just something you might want to investigate.

-- Rick M,

View JamesVavra's profile


304 posts in 3314 days

#7 posted 01-15-2014 02:50 PM

So I pulled the trigger on the Rikon. It was 15% off this weekend, dropping to to around $2300 with shipping. Should arrive via freight sometime next week.

Here are my concerns:
- Torque. The smaller motor should be more than offset by the 6-position belt. In theory, it should have more power at lower speeds than a 2-position, 2HP. It’s simple math to calculate that, but there’s always the possibility that the motor is overrated and not really 1.5HP.
- Build Quality. There are literally no reviews on this model. I have tracked down a few, “I saw it at a trade show and it looked/operated well,” stories out there, but of course the manufacturer’s demo model is going to be setup perfectly. There are a handful of reviews on the 70-500, which really is a different product. There are a lot of positive reviews on other Rikon machines, both mini lathes and bandsaws, etc. It looks like I’ll be the first one to review it.
- Customer service/support. While there are a few horror stories out there on bad experiences, there are just as many good reports. For what it’s worth, I found their pre-sales support to be very responsive in answering the handful of questions I had.

I decided that it was worth taking a bit of a chance on this machine. It’s got the rotating headstock that love on my Jet 1442VS. It’s an unknown from a quality standpoint, but worst case I can always do a chargeback if they ship me a piece of crap and wont accept the return.


View waho6o9's profile


8190 posts in 2575 days

#8 posted 01-15-2014 03:07 PM

Looks like a great machine, congrats.

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#9 posted 01-15-2014 07:46 PM

Good luck with your new lathe!

-- Bill

View JamesVavra's profile


304 posts in 3314 days

#10 posted 01-23-2014 04:56 PM

I’ve had it for about a week. I’ve turned a few things, and posted an initial review.

View Porchfish's profile


823 posts in 2531 days

#11 posted 01-19-2016 09:10 PM

Before you jump , take a look at the Grizzly G0800 I am trying to decide wether it is worth the convenience of dumping my shop built “Red Ryder” with 40” swing over bed….

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#12 posted 01-19-2016 10:31 PM

Good luck with new lathe and thank you for your review.

-- Bill

View OSU55's profile


1672 posts in 1988 days

#13 posted 01-19-2016 11:16 PM

I use the swiveling headstock feature on my lathe quite often. Leaning over the ways is way too hard on the back. I may switch outboard and spindle turning several times in one day, as different projects are at different steps or as the need arises. Quicker aand easier to swivel the head vs sliding it and removing the tailstock each time. No issues with alignment – yes the headstock needs to be aligned when swiveled back before locking it down – takes an extra 30 seconds.

View Woodknack's profile


11626 posts in 2379 days

#14 posted 01-20-2016 04:01 AM

Before you jump , take a look at the Grizzly G0800
- Porchfish

He bought the lathe 2 years ago, I think you are a bit late with advice.

-- Rick M,

View restored's profile


53 posts in 2091 days

#15 posted 02-12-2017 10:18 PM

I am on my way to the review. I hope it’s good. Have a chance to pick up the same Rikon from a late 2013 purchase, making it just over 2 years old, on C L for 1900. Upgrading to a One Way, said he liked the the quality of the machine so much, that it helped improve his final product, he doesn’t expect the same increase in performance,but his dream machine. He did say it has turned a couple hundred bowls and hollowed vessels of which sold well, helping to afford the dream machine. Any input from James on the asking price.” I may be all wet, and not stick my nose were it doesn’t belong, but. I wouldn’t buy the Nova lathe discussed for the mere fact it looks like a set of folding saw horses that you pay top dollar for, and end up adding plywood gussets to so you don’t have to throw out. It may have some nice features, but just doesn’t look like a real machine. Only my opinion on looks not performance. I know they run over 3000, I would save a little longer and buy the powermatic or save a little and buy the Grizzly. Though I’m a big believer in form follows function. To many other good options to go there for me. The question was about the Rikon, nothing else. We all struggle with this, and look at 4 or 5 different lathes, before one jumps. Off to the review.

-- KRT

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