Review

This lathe was deemed co-Top Tool of our test of six variable-speed 12" midi-lathes (Dec. 2015, issue 230).
It delivered lots of power, even when I made demanding cuts hogging off material in hard maple. The toolrest, banjo, tailstock, and quill adjusted easily and locked securely, but you have to be careful because there’s a pinch-point between the toolrest locking handle and the banjo. A rotating handle on the quill handle makes adjusting and drilling easy, the stopped keyway prevents overextending the quill when drilling deep holes, and a scale marked in sixteenths of an inch helps when drilling shallow holes. The tailstock locking handle is positioned at an odd height, which makes removing the tailstock with one hand difficult. The centers were aligned at the headstock but the tailstock had 0.006” of play on the bed at about 17” between centers and 0.011” at the maximum 19”. The headstock indexing system works well, with each position numbered to facilitate indexing multiple combinations. The lathe wobbles slightly when sitting on the bench but securing it with clamps eliminated the vibration. I did not care for the location of the switch and speed-control dial (above and behind the headstock) because I felt unsafe reaching over a spinning bowl. But I didn’t have to worry about accidentally bumping them while turning. The forward and reverse switch (located next to the power switch) was poorly labeled, making it difficult to determine which location it was positioned in before starting the lathe. Speeds are easily adjusted within each range, but the dial delivered inaccurate speeds (off by about 50 rpms) according to the speed chart posted below it. Changing speed ranges proved more difficult, despite easy access to both upper and lower pulleys, because the motor lacks significant up-and-down movement to remove most of the tension from the belt. There is an adjustment for tension but it has little effect on how much the motor is raised for belt changes. I like that this lathe comes equipped with both 6” and 10” toolrests for turning longer spindles and reaching into deep bowls. But with a 5/8” post, the 10” rest flexes enough to cause chatter while making heavy cuts. The supplied 3” faceplate will accommodate #12 screws, and was the only faceplate in our test to feature countersunk holes on the bottom, helping it to seat flat against a bowl blank. Overall, I was confident turning most any project on the Delta. —Tested by Brian Simmons, WOOD turning expert

Product

Performance

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Features

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Ease of Use

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Value

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
5.0
out of 5