Review

This lathe was deemed co-Top Tool of our test of six variable-speed 12" midi-lathes (Dec. 2015, issue 230). Overall, I was impressed with this lathe.
Its powerful motor allowed me to take up to 3/8”-wide cuts on a dry maple bowl without stalling. The unique, serrated clamp block on the banjo and tailstock made them rock solid when locked, but makes the banjo slightly more difficult to maneuver with one hand than the other machines tested. But, with two hands, the banjo does slide easily; a common practice used on larger lathes. The tailstock is also easy to remove with two hands because of the position of the locking lever. The centers aligned well near the headstock but there was 0.005” play between the tailstock and bed at about 19-1/4” between centers and 0.008” at the maximum of 20-3/4”. The lathe does feature a 1” diameter tool post but only has a 6” rest. This combination offered stout performance, but left me wanting more when turning longer spindles and deep bowls. The quill was easy to use, thanks to a rotating handle and stopped keyway that stops the quill from self-ejecting when boring deep holes. The scale is marked in 1/8” increments for easy reference. The headstock indexing system is easy to use, with 24 numbered positions, but I would like to see Rikon add a cursor to better reference each position. There’s easy access to the lower pulley, and the upper pulley is very visible but there’s little room between the upper pulley and the headstock casting to get your fingers when changing belt position. The digital read-out is easy to read from any position, but there’s a slight delay between adjusting the speed dial and the spindle speed, making it tedious to “dial in” a specific speed. The faceplate will accommodate up to #10 screws and there’s onboard storage for accessories. I was disappointed by the small spindle shoulder, which caused some vibration when using chucks or faceplates; with light cuts it didn’t vibrate at all. —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