Turning Archive 2005

Thinking of buying a new lathe

Bill Grumbine (Kutztown PA)
>Greetings all

I am posting this in three places, since while some of you read all three, there are others who only read one, and I am looking for responses. First of all, no, the Poolewood is not being replaced, and I am still as happy with it as the day I got it home. But the student line is getting longer and longer, and one giant lathe and one mini are straining a bit. The Mini Max copy lathe just went down the road (no more factory style production for me!), which frees me (and some money) up to start thinking about adding a mid sized machine to the stable to facilitate class time with a maximum of three students.

Right now there are two lathes in the forefront of my thinking, the Jet 1642 and the Nova DVR. I have done some turning on both of these machines, and each has its strong and weak points. The price for either is pretty much the same at our local Woodcraft store, although I will be investigating some other options. Mail order is probably not going to be one of them though. I do not mind paying more for local support.

The Nova has the advantage of direct drive and a very compact footprint. That is a big plus in my shop right now and into the foreseeable future. Most of what people want to do is bowls, followed by an even mix of short spindle work and hollow forms. However, I think the Jet is going to have the edge in stability and power, and if I need it, it already has the longer bed. That longer bed will need to find a place to live though, and it may not be as easy to shoehorn it into the shop. I think it is also worthwhile to have a lathe in the size/price range of these machines, not just for my own budget, but so that people can see that one does not need the most expensive machine out there to do good work.

So here is what I am looking for. I would like to hear comments either public or private from people who own one of these machines. What do you like, what do you not like, and what would you change if you could? Also, if anyone has a suggestion as to some other machine I should be looking at, I would be glad to hear it.



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