Review

Out of the six 12" variable-speed midi-lathes I tested head-to-head, this Jet was the most powerful, handling ½”-wide cuts when hollowing bowls and whirling through parting cuts about 50% faster
than most of its competitors. The tailstock, toolrest and banjo operated smoothly and locked securely. The quill-feed handle is stationary, which makes adjustments and drilling more difficult, and the continuous keyway allows the quill to overextend when drilling deep holes. But the metric and 1/8” scale is useful when drilling shallow ones. The centers aligned well at the headstock with minimal play between the tailstock and bed, 0.003” at any length between centers. The indexing system is easy to use, with numbered positions to facilitate a variety of index layouts. The lathe rocked slightly sitting on the bench and had to be bolted down, because there’s nowhere to clamp it to. Once bolted, the lathe ran smoothly when turning projects between centers. I like the large paddle switch located on the tailstock end, but bumped it easily while hollowing bowls. The large rubber belt didn’t slip and was easy to access for changing speed ranges. The tensioning system was simple to use and effective. The posted speed ranges were reliable and the digital read-out was easy to read and accurate while turning. The speed control does have a slight delay, so “dialing in” the right speed can be tricky, and you’ll have to wait a few seconds after switching on the lathe to begin turning. With a 5/8” tool post, the 10” toolrest flexed slightly when making heavy cuts at its ends, and the small diameter drive-spindle shoulder caused significant vibration when using a faceplate or chuck. The 3” faceplate was the only one tested to have 8 holes instead of just 4. The on-board tool storage racks weren’t practical as they impede removing the tailstock and accessing the lower pulley, however they double as carrying handles. —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

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
4.8
out of 5