The right lathe makes all the difference when you’re turning wood. Heavy, rigid lathes eliminate vibration for perfect balance. And powerful motors keep the wood spinning at a consistent speed.
Whether you’re shopping for a professional floor-standing model or a smaller bench top lathe, JET has a reputation for quality machines at reasonable prices. Let’s explore three popular ones to see which lathe is best for the projects you plan to do.
JET JWL-1440VSK Wood Lathe
The JET JWL-1440VSK wood lathe is versatile enough to adapt to a wide range of projects. It’s a floor-standing model with a solid cast-iron frame and a powerful 1HP motor. It can handle wide bowl turnings and thick, long spindles as well as aggressive cuts.
One of the features that woodworkers appreciate about the JWL-1440VSK is its variable speed. Just turn a knob to select from 400 to 3000rpm. This is an old school Reeves drive with no digital readout, a fact that keeps the price of the lathe a little lower than similar models. Plus, the tailstock has an Acme thread and the quill locks in place with an anti-rotation key.
Another useful benefit is that the JWL-1440VSK has a 14-inch swing with a maximum length of 40 inches. This size is ideal for turning table and chair legs or spindles for stair railings. And you can add an optional extension bed for up to 60 inches between centers as well as outboard turning.
The sliding and pivoting headstock adjust to let you work on smaller projects, too. There are seven positive locking positions located at 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 270 degrees.
The only downside to the JET JWL-1440VSK is that it does not run in reverse. Being able to work in reverse is useful for cutting metric threads, tapping, and sanding.
More features of the JET JWL 1440VSK wood lathe:
- CSA-certified for safety
- MT-2 taper
- Has a 5-year warranty
- Comes with spindle index pin, spur center, live cone center, knockout rod, faceplate, and tool rest extension
JET JWL-1015VS 10-Inch X 15-Inch Variable Speed Wood Working Lathe
If you don’t need the power and capacity of a floor-standing lathe, take a look at JET’s JWL-1015VS benchtop model. It’s designed for novice woodworkers or anyone who wants an economical tool for turning bowls and small spindles.
There is a 15-1/2-inch distance between the centers, with a 3/8-inch spindle bore and 2-inch quill travel. The 0.50HP motor keeps the lathe working smoothly even when you work with hardwoods. And the three-speed ranges (200-1050, 300-1750, and 600-3600) give you the flexibility to work with a variety of materials. In fact, you may prefer this lathe because it has lower speeds available than either the JWL-1440VSK above or the JWL-1500 below.
While the cast iron bed is wide and stable, be aware that there are no non-slip feet underneath. Although the lathe has minimal to no vibration while working, you might want to secure it to your workbench in some way.
Finally, the JWL-1015VS has integrated twenty-four-position indexing for making equally-spaced holes. It also has easy access to its belts. Plus, the belt system is improved over earlier JET models. These last two features are important because the lathe does require maintenance to keep running smoothly for years to come. Both the belts and the motor brushes may need replacement in the future.
More features of the JET JWL-1015VS wood lathe:
- Covered by a 5-year limited warranty
- Assembly required
- Manual covers assembly, operation, and troubleshooting as well as tips for what tools to use for turning
JET JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe
Since the model numbers are similar, what are the differences between the JET JWL-1015 and the JWL.1015VS described above? It turns out that the “VS” in the name is the giveaway—it stands for variable speed. The JWL-1015 does not have variable speed ranges. Instead, it’s limited to six individual speeds: 500, 840, 1240, 1800, 2630, and 3975rpm.
These speeds could be advantageous to you for certain kinds of jobs. For example, to finish an item with a diameter under 2-inches, you can set the lathe to a higher speed like 3000rpm. But for cutting an 8-inch bowl, 800rpm is appropriate.
Other than the difference in available speeds, the JWL-1015 is similar to the JWL-1015VS. It has a sturdy cast-iron frame with a wide bed for stability. And since there are no non-slip feet, you might prefer to anchor it in some way to your workbench.
The 24-position indexing allows you to make equally spaced holes. And the 15-1/2-inch space between centers allows you to create small and medium-sized projects with ease. And since the JWL-1015 has easy access to its belts, maintenance is a breeze.
More features of the JET JWL-1015 wood lathe:
- Covered by a 5-year limited warranty
- Assembly required
- Comes with an instruction manual that also cover tips and tools for turning
When you shop for a lathe, are you planning to complete large or small projects? A free-standing floor model like the JET JWL-1440VSK is perfect when you build furniture, but you can adjust it for smaller projects, too. It offers variable speed and a powerful 1HP motor, plus it has an Acme thread in the tailstock.
Next, if you are looking for a bench top lathe, both the JWL-1015 and the JWL-1015VS have 15-inch distance between their centers. They can handle up to 10-inch bowls. But there is a key difference between them.
While both of the smaller lathes have multiple speeds, the JWL-1015 has individual speed settings. Then the JWL-1015VS has variable speed ranges. Be sure to understand how these features can affect the work you plan to do.
In particular, the JWL-1015 might be challenging for new woodworkers because its lowest speed is higher than what is recommended for roughing larger bowls. And its highest speed is almost 1000rpm higher than what’s available on the other two lathes.
Finally, none of these three lathes from JET can work in reverse, which could impact thread-cutting. And all three will require both assembly and maintenance to keep operating smoothly in the future. But they come with a 5-year warranty for home use, and their user manuals are complete with tips for turning.