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Forum topic by Sawdust2012 posted 09-13-2014 03:43 PM 1274 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sawdust2012's profile


123 posts in 1707 days

09-13-2014 03:43 PM

I have a pretty capable Steel City VS mini lathe with a 10” swing. I have recently developed a strong interest in turning bowls. In that pursuit the 10” swing is pretty limiting. I need some recommendations about a replacement. I see several options that have 12” to 12.5” swing. I cant afford one of the big boys, so outboard capacity or a turning headstock may be out of range. My questions:

Is a midi lathe, i.e. Jet 1221VS, worth the cost given that it only adds 2” more swing, the additional HP notwithstanding?

Do I need to gut it out and lay down the cash for something with outboard capability?

Are the smaller lathes with turnable headstock, i.e. the Jet 1236, a smart option, or underpowered?

Given its limitations, if only for turning bowls, is the HF copy of the Jet 1236 a viable option or begging for trouble?


3 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2130 days

#1 posted 09-13-2014 04:36 PM

Is the Jet 1221 VS worth the money yes, but so is the Delta 46-460.

There are less expensive alternatives

Nova Comet II

Turncrafter with extension bed without save $50.

Or buy ultimate midi lathe Nova 1624-44 for big bucks.

At one time could save buying a reconditioned Nova, but once add shipping do not think they are a bargain. Better to wait for new lathe go on sale.

Included the Nova 1624-44 even though does not have EVS probably better than Jet 1236, 1442 or HF 34706 reeves drive lathes. Both Jets have slower starting speed than HF 34706. If money is tight get the HF 34706 and beef up the stand with shelf & weight.

-- Bill

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2993 days

#2 posted 09-13-2014 04:39 PM

The HF version is actually a nice lathe. Probably the most bang for the buck of any of the smaller lathes. You are not going to find anything much better for under $1k.

If you are going to be turning big bowls, I wouldn’t even put together the stand. Mount it to a bigger bench and add some ballast to keep it from jumping around.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3658 days

#3 posted 09-13-2014 06:33 PM

I have been running a Delta 46-460 for the past 3+ years, and have been quite happy with it. I have turned bowls up to 12” in diameter (blanks cut to near-round on the bandsaw) and vases/hollow forms up to 10” deep.

The Delta currently runs <$700 ($669 on It has a 1hp motor, electronic variable speed, and is reversible. I put an extension bed on mine so I can get up to 42” between centers. Every so often a used 46-460 pop up on CraigsList.

A lot of people have had good luck with the HF 34706, but keep in mind that it has a Reeves drive. They work if properly adjusted and maintained. The HF lathe also has what I would consider a pretty limited speed range (600rpm to 2400 rpm as opposed to the Delta which ranges from 250rpm to 4000rpm).

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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