It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…Jet?

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.



11 Comments Add yours

  1. Lee Hockman says:

    Congrats on the lathe. Jet is a very good one. Question is, what are you going to do with the little band saw when you get a bigger one? I have been looking, mostly on Craig’s List, for a used small band saw to cut scrollsaw blanks from and this looks like just the right size. Most of what I cut is less than 2 inches thick. I would be interested in buying it from you, depending on price and shipping costs. I live in North Georgia, Atlanta area, and might be able to pick it up if you aren’t too far away.
    Lee Hockman


    1. Lee, I would give it to you if I thought it would be worth the money to ship but last night it started giving out that electrical smelling black smoke that makes me think the motor is just about shot. I’ve really asked far too much from it for too long.


      1. Lee Hockman says:

        Actually, I went online last night and looked at the Manual for this machine and a bad motor is not really such a deal breaker as I have a source for motors and could easily make the swap. Or, I used to wind electric motors in my earlier life and this too would be a cheap, easy way around the issue. For me, I guess the most important part would be the cost to ship it. Food for thought. Either way, enjoy your new lathe, and, yes, they are addictive.


  2. Marilyn says:

    I’ve been lookin at this one for a long time. I’ve been vacillating the one you bought and the Rikon. Super happy to hear you’re having such a good experience with it.


    1. Honestly they’re probably about the same in practice, but the Jet seemed more substantial – like a full sized lathe in a midi body. It’s solid as a rock.


  3. Brian says:

    How heavy is it? Are you able to pick it up and put it on a shelf when not in use?


    1. It’s heavy. I’d say 120 lbs? My back is not as happy about this as I am.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Brian says:

        I’d say that is my largest hesitation about a midi lathe. They almost require a dedicated bench. In the case of 120lbs I would guarantee it in my shop. I’m still undecided. I would hate to buy one, then have to build a stand for it. I’m considering a 48″ stand alone, then put it on wheels. Hard to say what I’ll end up with.


  4. The Laguna 14/12 is going back on sale next month according to my local woodcraft. Just sayin….


  5. Derek Long says:

    I’m always more impressed by Jet’s machines. They’re more expensive, but they are usually heavier, use less plastic, and come with a five year warranty. If you’re shopping for a bandsaw, you’ll notice the difference in net shipping weights for the Jet saws compared to the competition. That’s extra steel.


  6. Patrick Savard, passionné de pêche et du travail du bois/ avid fisherman and woodworker says:

    Great buy! Now, if you are like me, this is the end of your budget for years to come. In ten years from now, you will look back and see how many tools or parts you will have purchased due to the lathe. But the addiction is well worth it.


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