Jet JWL-1642 EVS Lathe Review
Written by: Dominic Greco      June 2003
Jet JWL-1642 EVS Lathe Review

Like many here, I found that I had reached the point where I could justify upgrading from my Jet JWL-1236 Lathe. I had approached, if not exceeded the operational limits, and found I needed a lathe with greater capacity. After corresponding with several of you, and taking into account your input, I arrived at (2) possible choices in my price range. The newly released Jet JWL-1642EVS, and the Delta 46-745 16" Steel Bed Lathe.

Before I go much further with this, I'd like to take the time to thank Frank and John from Woodworker's Haven in Southampton PA (Tel: 215 953-1955). With their permission, I was allowed to "operate" both the Jet and Delta lathes under controlled conditions. These gentlemen went as far as to allow me to test each lathe by chucking in a large out of round blank. It was after much comparison (and hand wringing) that I finally chose the Jet.

Jet 1642EVS Lathe

JWL-1642 Specifications
Stock Number: 708359
Over bed: 16"
Swing over Tool Rest: 12"
Distance Between Centers:  42"
Speeds (RPM): 0-1200 & 0-3200
Spindle Nose: 1 1/4" x 8 TPI
Drive Spindle Through Hole 3/8"
Tailstock Spindle Through Hole: 3/8"
Tailstock Spindle Travel: 4"
Tool Rest:  14"
Face Plate:  6"
Headstock Taper: MT-2
Tailstock Taper: MT-2
Spindle Center to Floor (approx.): 44 1/2"
Motor:  1 1/2 HP, 3Ph, 230 V (Input Power 115V only)
Net Weight (approx.): 440 lbs
Shipping Weight (approx.): 475 lbs
Footprint dimensions: 20" x 56 5/8"

Jet 1642 EVS Features
The people at Jet really seemed to have done their homework in figuring out what kind of features their customers would like. The features that most impressed me were:
  1. The design of the legs, as well as the heavy cast iron construction of the bed. These made for a extremely smooth operating lathe.
  2. Easily accessed controls on the head stock. Much to my surprise, I found I liked the LED indicator.
  3. A live center with multiple tips, and a heavy duty face plate with tommy bar and set screws. Both very reminiscent of Oneway's version of these items.
  4. The heavy duty, cast iron banjo has (3) tapped holes that can accept the locking lever for the tool rest. This means you can switch which side the locking lever is on (very handy when outboard turing).
  5. Easy to use pushbutton spindle lock. IMHO, the spindle lock on the Delta's was clumsy to use.
  6. Innovatively designed vacuum chuck adapter that doubles as hand wheel. Rather than being awkward to use, this fit my hand perfectly.
  7. The cast iron bed features a series of tapped holes for attaching an extension bed, or maybe an out board turning rig.
  8. The under-bed wire frame tool shelf, (that can be swiveled out of the way when not in use) and wire frame safety guard, are nice features. But I will probably only install the tool shelf.
Tapped holes in end of bed

Packaging and Assembly:
The lathe comes in one large box (approx. 3' x 3' x 6') weighing approximately 475 lbs. This box can be broken down into (3) somewhat smaller ones. The (2) cast iron legs are packed in individual boxes and can be easily handled. The bed is lag bolted to a pallet, with the Headstock, Tailstock, and tool rest, assembled onto it. The rest of the associated parts are loose. While it is possible for one indiviual to transport this, I suggest bringing one other person with you to avoid the possibility of injury.

Each of the parts were inspected upon delivery. Aside from a copious coating of Cosmoline, (which was easily removed with mineral spirits) fit and finish appeared to be just about perfect. The lathe manual was disappointingly generic. The procedure for attaching the legs to the bed was totally missing from the manual. Fortunately, this task is not impossible to reason out.

Assembly was completed within 1 hour. I have the lathe bed a coat of T-9 Top Coat, and the body a fresh coat of paste wax (it's pretty for such a short time. Why not spoil it a bit?).

First Impressions:
The first thing that I noticed after assembly was the increased spindle height of the JWL-1642 versus my old Jet JWL-1236. At 44 1/2", it seems as if it is about 2" to 3" taller. Still, in order to bring it up to a more comfortable height for bowl turning, I will be adding 2 1/2" of blocking under the legs to lift it up to 47".

The operation of the Spindle is silky smooth. I really liked the 4" of travel, and the graduated scaled embossed on the quill. The Tailstock and Toolrest slid up and down the bed quite easily. The Headstock, being much heavier, requires a bit (but not much) more effort to perform this task. The levers for the Tailstock, Headstock, and Toolrest are all hefty and fit my hands well.

I was very impressed with the Pseudo-Nova Live Center (pictured above) that was included with the Lathe. This was of a much more substantial style than I was used to. The center comes with a 60 deg cone that has a threaded insert. Without the cone installed, it is a small stub center. Changing the tips is an easy process. To install the cone center, you must insert the Live Center Rod into a small hole located towards the #2 MT to stop the center from spinning on it's bearing. The really nice part is that this live center will accept all the accessories for Oneway's version. In addition, it's easy to make your own accessories by tapping a block of wood for the 3/4"-10 threaded end.

6 Face Plate

Like the Live Center, the 6" faceplate is reminisicent of Oneway's design. It's a nice heavy design, and features multiple holes to accomodate just about any size larger blank. Since this lathe's controller allows you to run in reverse, the face plate has (2) set screws. When engaged, these set screws will help to prevent the face plate from becoming loose when the lathe is running in reverse.

Lathe with Walnut Blank spinning at 616 RPM

I selected a 15" diameter x 10" thick walnut blank which weighed about 35 lbs to test out this lathe (I had been saving this blank for the moment when I finally got this lathe home). I am happy to say that the lathe was able to handle this blank with ease. It took some adjusting to get used to the fact that I could vary the speed so easily. But after some time, I got used to it. While turning the unbalanced blank, I did get some oscillation at higher speeds. So adding sand bags and /or a ballast box will be the next thing I add on. In the end I was able to rough out a 12" diameter x 7" deep bowl (Only some defects in the wood prevented me from turning a larger bowl).
Lathe with roughed out bowl

As you can probably guess, I am very pleased with my purchase and would recommend this lathe to any who ask.

Thanks for viewing.

Dominic Greco



Copyright ©2003 Dominic Greco.. All rights reserved.
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