Turning Archive 2005

Jet 1236 Lathe -- Good News

Brad Vietje
>I'll admit that I have occasionally been none-too-poetic about the shortcomings of the Jet 1236 -- a lathe I own, and a model I think could be an excellent value in mid-sized lathes with a little more attention to quality control and machining tolerances -- even though that would raise the cost somewhat.

Well, 2 weeks ago the tailstock ram erupted through the aft end of the tailstock casting while I was trying to rough a small bowl between centers. When the wheel is turned to advance the ram, you are basically pushing a captured E-ring on the shaft against the back of the casting to advance the ram. Over time, the E-ring had drilled a cylinder right through the cast iron, and when it reached about 1mm thick, it just gave way. I consider myself a fairly skilled turner, and I had not overtightened it enough to bend the E-ring, so I didn't think I had abused it.

I wrote to the WMH Tool folks (they own Jet and Powermatic), and I argued that 2 other lathes I use, both about 50 years old, have had no such problems, and I thought it was a design flaw. Their response was to offer to replace the casting at no cost to me, even though the lathe is 6 or 7 years old, and I bought it used about 3 years ago.

While I still feel this popular model could use an upgrade and slight re-design, I commend the WMH Tool Group for standing behind their product. I'll be a happy camper when the new casting arrives, so I can get turning again. Seems like WMH is a good group to deal with; hats off to them.

Safe Spinning,

Brad Vietje
Thetford, VT

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