Review

The Comet II packs a powerful punch for such a compact lathe.
With the smallest footprint in our test of six 12" VS midi-lathes, it needs to be secured to the bench, but then can produce more aggressive cuts. When taking wide cuts, you need to slow your feed rate, or else the belt slips and smolders, adding vibration and diminishing torque. Although the toolrest, banjo, and tailstock all adjust easily, the toolrest and banjo can slip when making heavy cuts. The centers align well with just 0.004” movement between the tailstock and bed along its full length, and it's the only lathe we tested that lets you adjust the headstock's position on the bed ways. I found its 12-position index very limiting, and you’re prone to errors because it’s difficult to see which reference location it’s locked into. The on/off switch is within easy reach below the tailstock, but the push buttons are less intuitive to use than a paddle. The speed dial was the only one in our test to have speeds printed directly on it, but they were inaccurate and difficult to read, especially while standing up turning. The drive belt is accessible, but the motor position keeps tension on the belt even when loose, making it difficult to switch pulleys. The quill worked smoothly with a rotating handle and stopped keyway, but with just 1-3/4” of travel, it isn’t designed for drilling deep holes. It’s the only lathe tested without a scale on the quill. With only a 6” toolrest (that needed heavy filing to remove thick paint), I had trouble reaching into deep bowls or turning long spindles without repositioning it. You can use the 3” faceplate with #10 or smaller screws and the cup live center doesn’t have a replaceable point like the others I tested. Teknatool also offers a grinding wheel or a wire-wheel attachment for the outboard end of the lathe, but I haven’t found many uses for a wire wheel in my woodworking shop, and the grinding shaft has too much play in it to make it useful. The Comet II is a great value if you’re careful when taking heavy cuts. —Tested by Brian Simmons, WOOD turning expert

Product

Performance

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Features

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Ease of Use

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Value

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
4.3
out of 5