When is the last time you were left in awe by woodwork? Can’t quite recall? Well a wood lathe is one thing that will yield impressive results within just a few attempts on the machine.
What Is A Wood Lathe?
A wood lathe is a tool used for creating circular wood surfaces. A central piece spins at a high speed while you work on it, turning an irregular or square block into contoured circulars surfaces that go up and down the surface of the wood.
A wood lathe is a vital accessory for any craftsman who wants to create a bowl, goblet, pen, staircase baluster, or baseball bat. It might not be as useful as miter saw or router, but it’s critical for certain jobs.
So, let’s get to the details already!
Jet JWL-1440VSK 40″ Wood Lathe
This Jet benchtop wood lathe is versatile in every sense. It’s sold in this benchtop version as well with legs if you want to use it as a standalone tool. The Jet provides you with some good variety of wood turning capabilities. Although priced a bit high, it is definitely worth your money with its sliding headstock and multiple speed settings.
The Jet 1440 can accomodate items up to 40-inches long and it can work from 400 to up to 3000 RPM. It has a generous 12-inch tool rest and a quill travel of over 4 inches.
With an optional extension it can accomodate pieces up to 60″. The 1HP motor can handle the extra length and material with no problem.
- RPM display which is easy to read
- Warranty of 5 years
- An optional extendable bed which you can attach in various positions.
- Full 360-degree pivot
- Forward operation only (no reverse speed)
- Weight: 270 pounds
Jet JWL-1221VS 12″ x 21″ Wood Lathe
If you are looking for a more modestly sized wood lathe then this Jet 12″ x 21″ lathe will do the job. This midi sized lathe has variable speed controls and a 1 horsepower motor for serious versatility at about half the price of a full-size wood lathe.
This midi lathe can work in reverse, which is not found in every model in this price category and has a digital read out for position, which is a nice perk too.
- Variable speed from 60 to 3600 RPM
- Weight: 121 pounds
- Dimensions: 33.6 x 11 x 36 inches
- 5-year warranty
Rikon 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe
The next in our list is a mini lathe from the reputed brand Rikon. This lathe is perfect if your workspace is a bit limited and your jobs are small — cups, pens, and so forth.
- Save time with the self-ejecting tailstock
- Speed changing facility.
- 12-inch capacity
- Provision to add multiple numbers of extensions.
Shop Fox W1704 1/3HP Benchtop Lathe
If you are a freshman searching for a wood lathe for your woodworking project, then this Shop Fox bench-topper could be ideal. This lathe is portable and can turn the smallest pieces of wood.
- Portable and lightweight
- Construct of durable cast-iron
- Experience non-spindle turning with 5.75-inch faceplate.
- 13-inch spindle capacity and 8-inch width capacity
Wan 3421 Mini Benchtop Wood Lathe
If you want something really affordable for occasional use, then a very popular choice in a mini lathe is the Wen 3421. This little guy has a 4-inch swing (can work on pieces up to 8 inches wide) and can hold pieces up to 12 inches long. This is a good pick for small projects like pens and bowls, but won’t be able to take on anything much larger.
- 3.2 Amp motor
- Variable speed of 750 to 3200 RPM
- Cast iron build
Nova Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe
This innovative machine this lathe comes with a motor of 0.75 horsepower. With the comfortability of small size, this machine will give you the most accurate results!
- Versatile and portable
- Equipped with both front and reverse turning capacity
- Can achieve different speed ranges with the three-step pulley
- An expandable capacity of 41 inches
What is a midi lathe?
A midi lathe is a type of wood lathe that exists between a full-size lathe and a mini lathe. With a wide capacity of at about 12 inches and a maximum work length of around 20 inches this is a good-sized lathe, but it will fall well short of full size.
What is a DRO?
A DRO, or digital read out, is a digital, numeric display that shows the X- and Y- and Z- position on a 3-axis machine. On a lathe it will show the position of the carriage and also the position of the cross-slide. DROs are easier to read than wheels or dials but aren't as durable.