I finally bought a lathe. After months of scouring the local ads for a good, used lathe in my price range (notice all the adjectives there) I did what I knew I was going to do all along. I bought a Jet midi lathe.
My wife gave me wise counsel on this one. Basically it went like this:
Her: “Is that the one you really want?”
Me: “Well, yes, but…”
Her: “Do you have the money to buy it?”
Me: “Yeah, I saved up from all the freelance work, etc. but…”
Her: “Then you should buy it, because if you don’t buy it now you will eventually come back around to it the expensive way.”
She gets me.
When it came down to it, a midi lathe made the most sense for my workshop and the work I intend to do. I can extend it if I need to, but for now, everything I need to turn is 19″ or less, so I’m golden.
What about the competition from Nova, Rikon and Delta? All very good lathes I’m sure, but after conversations with a few people I trust I was sold on the reputation and service from Jet. Plus, they were on sale in January and the price gap (nearly) evaporated.
I’m just learning my way around this thing, but I can already attest to how addictive it is. I’m constantly sneaking out to the garage to sharpen chisels and get my fix of wood ribbons and chips. My firewood pile is shrinking daily.
One thing they say about turning is true though; the lathe is the least expensive part. There are chisels to buy and chucks to lust over. Suddenly whole sections of the Woodcraft catalog that I used to just skip over have become terribly relevant.
Oh, and now I need a new bandsaw. Preparing stock for the lathe has put the nail in the coffin of this poor sad soul.