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Thread: Best lathe out there

  1. #61
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Bucks County, PA
    Hi Group. First ... an apology, I've only made 2 posts over the years. Second ... I am jumping on an older Lathe post with hope of getting some feedback/suggestions. I own a cabinet shop. Sometime ago I bought a Lathe ... actually bought two. It's been a 'someday' desire to try, so I found a Jet (JWL-1442VS), then later found a Powermatic (Model 45). Both are 1-HP motors (中国人vs Baldor), with both accepting about 36" long stock. I am finally getting the time and space to put one into operation and sell the other. The big question, which stays ... which goes. The Jet is newer by decades, but the Powermatic still runs strong. My inclination is to keep the PM and sell the Jet. Advice... thoughts? Thanks!

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Cambridge Vermont
    I personally like the newer VFD variable speed lathes over the reeves drive ones. Are they both reeves drive? After the VFD question things I would value is speed, slower is better for turning bowls, more weight is also better, and swing, more is better. Of course there's looks too. My guess is the Powermatic looks more classical while the Jet is more of a generic looking lathe. Some of the parts for the older lathes aren't available so you might want to keep that in mind. That leaves option #3, sell them both and get a good mid sized lathe to learn with.

    I started by playing on a co-worker's father's lathe that only went down to 600 rpm and it was intimidating getting the nerve up to stick a gouge into it on some of the larger hunks of wood. Until then I had thought about a lathe Grizzly sold that was reeves drive that wouldn't go slower than 600 rpm. SO I jumped up to the same model that had a vfd but was $500ish more. Before I took the plunge I found a discount code for their G0766 for only a couple hundred more. Having a simple knob to turn to adjust the speed and being able to go much slower made it so much easier to learn. Also when I sand on the lathe I like to go at very low speeds, like 100 rpm. My personal rule of thumb is for a 12" swing lathe I would like it to go about 300ish rpm for turning.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Mesa, Arizona
    Jerry -- It really depends on what you want to turn. For spindles and smaller things, the Powermatic 45 may be your better option. However, the Jet is more flexible. It has a sliding and pivoting headstock, which allows you to turn larger items. (However, the Powermatic allows you to turn items up to 16" in diameter over the 'gap' in the bed. So, you can turn a 16" platter or shallow bowl with the Powermatic.) However, the Jet's slowest speed is 450 rpm -- which is too high for large, out of balance, items. So, the flexibility offered by the Jet's sliding and pivoting headstock is more theoretical than real.

    Either lathe will fill the bill for an occasional turner -- as long as he or she isn't to ambitious as to the size of the items being turned. Neither will serve you well if you develop a passion for turning. If it were me, I'd keep the Powermatic and sell the Jet. But, that has more to do with my feelings about 'old iron' rather than the relative merits of the two machines. Functionally, the two are very close in terms of what they can do well -- spindles and smaller items. So, feelings about such things as 'old iron' play more of role than they would if you were comparing a Powermatic 90 with a Jet JWL-1840EVS. No matter how you feel about old iron, the Jet 1840EVS, can simply do more and do it better than can the Powermatic 90. That's not the case with your two lathes.
    David Walser
    Mesa, Arizona

  4. #64
    $3000 would buy a used Vicmarc Vl300 lathe from a member of my turning club.

  5. #65
    If the US $$ is high a Oneway 1640 would be my choice.

    * It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for life - Sister Elizabeth Kenny *
    I think this equates nicely to wood turning as well . . . . .

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