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Forum topic by Jerry Maske posted 09-06-2014 04:31 PM 1286 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jerry Maske

14 posts in 1357 days

09-06-2014 04:31 PM

Okay folks; you’ve probably had questions like this before but I can’t find the answer, so, here it is.

I’ve got an older (10+++ year) old Craftsman 2 HP lathe that I’ve been quite happy with, well, with one exception. Currently, I’ve just destroyed the SECOND power head. The motor burned out on the first one and this morning the front bearing died on the replacement.

So I have two questions. First, Since I’m not really overworking the lathe, is this normal from something from Sears? I am turning some heavy wood, but I keep the RPMs down and make sure I’m well centered.

Second, if this particular lathe is weak along these lines, what do I buy to replace it? I’m just turning as a hobby but I still don’t want to be restricted in size. Tops and pens are okay, but I want to make larger bowls too. What lathe would handle what I’m asking for?

I suspect I could come up with about three grand to buy a new one if I had to. And it’s beginning to look like that’s what’s on the menu. I took both power heads over to a machinist friend who will attempt to make one good one out of them. But I can see the writing on the wall that sooner or later, probably sooner, I’m going to have more trouble.

So, what’s a good lathe to consider without breaking the bank? I know, broad question, but if I need to buy a new one, I don’t want to have to face these kinds of problems again.

Thanks in advance.


16 replies so far

View lew's profile


12052 posts in 3749 days

#1 posted 09-06-2014 05:09 PM

The last power tool I bought from Sears was a jointer. Burned up 2 motors and demanded my money back.

If I could afford one, I’d buy a Powermatic but the Jet series is more in line with my budget. Some folks have had good success with Grizzly lathes, too.

Right now, I have an old Delta Iron Bed. Works great but I know its’ days are numbered. This lathe uses Reeves pulleys for speed adjustment. Folks have reported this type of speed control is noisy- and I agree.

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

View Woodknack's profile


11605 posts in 2374 days

#2 posted 09-06-2014 05:26 PM

... is this normal from something from Sears?

- Jerry Maske

I’m turning on a 1958 Craftsman, still using the original bearings. But Sears stuff can be hit or miss, they buy their stuff from other companies and it just depends on that manufacturer. But Sears isn’t known for selling quality lathes and someday I will replace mine, probably with a Delta.

When you say “larger bowls”, how large? 30”? 15”? What is large to you?

Delta makes a fantastic 12.5” lathe. Jet if you need larger. Powermatic if you can afford it.

-- Rick M,

View Jerry Maske's profile

Jerry Maske

14 posts in 1357 days

#3 posted 09-06-2014 06:59 PM

Well, I think 15” would be great, but the larger the better. I’ve got some Maple pieces that are in that size. They’re too big to fit on the Craftsman. So, at best, I’d need to do some chain saw work before they went on the lathe.

I may be condemning the Sears lathe when it’s not it’s fault. However, we haven’t spun up anything really big and are careful to be centered before we do. Okay, I’ll be visiting a Rockler shop this weekend so I’ll look over the Jets. Not sure if my budget will allow for a big powermatic.


View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2129 days

#4 posted 09-06-2014 07:09 PM

You do not say whether have the 12” or 15” Sears lathe, In any event would not waste more time & money one it!

Before recommending you buy a new lathe need to know what kind of turning do you do mostly? How much room do you have for turning and do you have 220V line available?

I have this one in my small shop, cannot believe the price these days. Also comes in a 220V version, I do not have 220. Bought mine from, free delivery and driver put it where I wanted it.

If space is a problem might look at this lathe.

Nova also has a recondition site but once pay shipping not sure much of a bargain especially if live near a woodcraft store and have the model you want on hand.

I saved buying from because did not charge me for taking my order or shipping.

-- Bill

View Jerry Maske's profile

Jerry Maske

14 posts in 1357 days

#5 posted 09-06-2014 07:39 PM

Space is no problem Currently I have the Craftsman, all 42” of it, on a home made work table. It’s too low so I’d be thinking about that. I’m “Electrically competent” and could wire a 220 outlet if I needed one. I wired up the work shop with LOTS of quad outlets and still didn’t put in enough.

Okay, I just did some homework on Jet lathes and found one I like, so I’m asking for opinions.

708360 JWL-1642EVS-2. It’s a 16” lathe, 42” long and TWO HP. I found it at two places both on sale. Looks like it’s as big and powerful a lathe as I’m likely to find. Plus, it has a FIVE YEAR WARRANTY. In five years, I’ll know if it’s going to stand up or not.

Please help me on this. $2300.00 is a lot of money and I don’t want to have to do this again. Getting too old for this nonsense. However, the wife and I really enjoy turning. So, is this a good lathe for that much money?

Open to suggestions.


View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3579 days

#6 posted 09-06-2014 09:11 PM

I don’t know the lathe in question which you have and are referring too, but it sounds as though maybe it is working too hard for it’s own good and maybe not designed to do such big heavy stuff.Turning a larger type of bowl from a large unwieldy chunk of wood is very demanding on a smaller lathe. Especially the bearings and motor windings.I have three wood turning lathes one which is dedicated to bowls and another very large which I too make bowls form , it is very powerful and has a six foot bed for large spindles too.I also a mall delta lathe for turning pens it can do bigger but I use it purely for pens.I have heard of people using these delta small lathes for quite large bowls around ten inches and they seem to end up burning out the motors time after time.
Once your bowl blank is trued up and turns freely without vibration , then it is very much easier on the lathe in question.
I have apart from the smaller single phase delta ,converted my other two lathes to three phase . Then used with an invertor with full speed control this seems to be what most bowl turners are now doing.You can, with this method, get the speed revs way down, so that it does not try to walk across the workshop floor LOL .Once you get it as said trued up and vibration free you can then slowly increase the speed and continue with your normal turning this can only be done with three phase motors through an invertor as otherwise you are restricted to belt changing to reduce speeds this method does not get the lathe slow enough with enough torque for reducing large bowl blanks safely and without potential damage to the lathe .I would therefore ask-encourage you to read up on what I mam saying and make yourself through youtube etc more familiar with these current bowl turning trends with this regard I hope you have fun Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2129 days

#7 posted 09-06-2014 10:38 PM

I have the 110V version already mentioned and it works well for me. I harvest my wood for turning and no problems so far with out of round wet bowls blanks.

If had 220V line would have bought that version when bought my lathe. Even though remember when they first started selling the 220V version it came with a 1 ½” motor too. Not sure when they up the horsepower to 2 HP.

The difference between 1 ½ HP & 2 HP from Asian motors anyone’s guess. Other than amp draw and torque might not make much difference. If spending another $275 will give you piece of mind go for it!

Good luck which ever way you go!

-- Bill

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

208 posts in 1726 days

#8 posted 09-10-2014 06:03 PM

+1 with Wildwood. I also have the Jet 1642 EVS, in the 220v version. I’ve had it for almost two years now and couldn’t be happier with it. Solid machine, very reliable, and great backup from their service department when you have an issue (my on-off switch went bad and they shipped me a replacement quickly). The Powermatics and Robusts are the real beauties, but the price tags on them are a bit more than I chose to invest in that piece of gear.

Hope this helps.


-- Once in awhile I make something really great. Most days I just make sawdust.

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2129 days

#9 posted 09-11-2014 08:28 PM

Jerry where are the pictures?

-- Bill

View runswithscissors's profile


2750 posts in 2019 days

#10 posted 09-12-2014 04:06 AM

Many lathes allow you to turn the head end for end, so you can do outboard turning of large stuff like bowls. Which of course doesn’t address the question of which lathe to buy.

But here’s another viewpoint on quality of Sears’ stuff. Rather than depending on what the manufacturers supply them, in Sears’ case the tail wags the dog. They put out a specification for manufacturers to bid on. The specification often calls for cheap components, such as bearings, and from the resulting bids they select the lowest (most profitable) bid. Which may mean that even though Craftsman tools may appear to be clones of established brands and models, they may actually be of lesser quality in those components that you can’t see—such as bearings.

They can get away with this because they are so big. To see evidence of this, take a look at the most common brand offered on CL. Craftsman outnumbers everybody else by far.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View copcarcollector's profile


256 posts in 2111 days

#11 posted 09-12-2014 06:03 AM

I have the Grizzly G0733 Heavy Duty Wood Lathe 18” x 47”, its $1845 shipped to your door.

I have a couple small gripes, such as the included tool rest being massive, and the post hole in the banjo not being a standard size. I have to get a machinist friend to trim down the posts on the Robust tool rests I bought. The digital readout is handy for the spindle speed, but there are no presets, and no numbers around the dial, so you have to “dial in” the speed you want each time. There is no hand wheel on the spindle. I think that’s about it. I have not used it a ton yet, but when I have it has been great.

Or, have you looked at the Nova lathes?

View Jerry Maske's profile

Jerry Maske

14 posts in 1357 days

#12 posted 09-12-2014 12:34 PM

Had an email that the lathe shipped from TN on Thursday. I live along the coast of Maine so I’m expecting it early next week. We’ve been cleaning the shop to make room for it and to, well, clean the shop! Amazing the things I found tucked away here and there but that’s another post.

Anyway, again, I appreciate all the thoughts on lathes. I really did consider what each of you offered and I hope we continue to keep in touch. Now that I’ll have a new lathe alongside the old Craftsman, the wife and I can turn at the same time, until we both reach for the same tools.

Now, about tools . . .

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1286 posts in 1724 days

#13 posted 09-12-2014 03:50 PM

So, what do you want to know about tools? We’re just so full of it in that department. hhahaha Oops, information is what I meant. heheh…........ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View Jerry Maske's profile

Jerry Maske

14 posts in 1357 days

#14 posted 09-12-2014 03:57 PM

I guess “Tools” is a wide open subject. The thing is this; about a year ago I wanted to get a set of lathe tools but didn’t have a clue what to buy. Asked a lot of questions, did a lot of home work and ended up with a set of HSS tools from “Hurricane.” Good choice too. Not the top of the mark in tools but not terribly expensive either. I’m learning how to use each one and learning how to sharpen them too.

Now, I need to add to, or replace my more favored tools. THIS TIME, however, I have a bit of background on what I’m after. I still need guidance but at least I can understand what people are telling me. Last time, for example, one set that was highly recommended didn’t have handles. Well, I didn’t have tools to carve the handles with, so what good were they? I can do better with that now.

So, if you have advice on what tools to buy, I’m always listening.


View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2129 days

#15 posted 09-12-2014 07:44 PM

Depending on the tool I may buy it handled or unhandled. Turning you own tool handles not complicated. My last bowl gouge from Thomson tools bought unhandled. Bought a ¼” skew handled. I have replaced both homemade and handles that came with the tool from time to time.

Think buying individual tools as you need them still the best advice anyone can give you. Also look for sales, just bought some stuff from Craft Supplies ( on sale. Often if buying two or more tools at a time some vendors not all offer a discount on turning tools. If do not see discount for buying more than one tool at a time ask for one.



Woodcraft and other often have sales on Robert Sorby tools.

Forget claims on wear resistance all tools need sharpening when dull. HSS M2 steel tools can turn any spindle and bowl project you have. For exotic steel tools look at Thompson tools will need to turn or buy a handle. Bought ½” Henry Taylor KRYO skew chisel, to replace HT M-2 HSS ½” skew five or six years ago. Will be looking for a replacement soon, old one lasted eleven –twelve years.

-- Bill

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