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Thread: What brand is the best mini lathe?

  1. #1

    What brand is the best mini lathe?

    What brand is the best mini lathe?

    I have started my research into the best mini lathe. I asked someone who I respect on the phone about the Jet Mini Lathe and that person recommended the Vicmarc mini lathe over the Jet mainly due to he had the opinion it had better bearings and it would last. I also read a review of the PSI Carba-Tec II that was reviewed as the best mini lathe, but that was on the Penn State Industries web site and I assume PSI stands for Penn State Industries.

    So what do you guy's think is the best mini lathe made for wood working?

    Thanks for any information

    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    East Jordan, MI
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    Mike,

    I can't help you with your lathe selection, I don't turn. However, I would like to welcome you to the "Creek." It's a great place and, although I don't turn, I do visit the Turner's Forum frequently because they seem to have more fun than some of the rest of us. They're a crazy bunch. I've recently thought maybe I should take the plunge and think about turning. I looked at the General Int. "Maxi Lathe." I don't know what the term "Maxi" means in this context, because it's a small lathe. Just seemed to be priced right and looked a little more substantial than some of the other "Mini" lathes. As you can see, I'm showing my ingnorance on the subject, but fear not, the turners will fill us both in.

    Welcome to the "Creek."

    John
    John Bailey
    Sawmill Creek is a member supported forum. Click here to donate.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Lewiston, Idaho
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    Mike.....Welcome to the Creek! Like John, I don't turn...yet.....but those turners here (who'll be able to help you) do have an awful lot of fun! I've accused them of sniffing wood chips and it must be better than some of the drugs used in hospitals or bought on the street! Again....Welcome!
    Ken

  4. #4
    mike, welcome! no opinion on minis sorry, tod

  5. #5
    I would suggest the Jet Mini, preferably the variable speed if you can afford it.... I have both a Jet 1236 and a standard Mini... great machines...

    The new Rikon seems to be having some growing pain problems and I would stay away from it for now... I know of at least 5 people who have had to return the first one they bought and 2 of them had to return the replacement...
    Tom Mullane
    Hagerstown, MD
    If you work with your hands you are a laborer
    If you work with your hands and head you are a craftsmwn
    If you work with your hands, head and heart you are an artist

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    "Best" is relative. Best at what cost is the real question!! For example, you won't find a better "mini" than the OneWay 1018 or 1224. But they both cost a whole lot of money over most of the other "mini" lathes. In that class, I like the Jet VS and would likely buy one.
    “Never raise your hands to your children, it leaves your groin unprotected.” - Red Buttons

    If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep...

    Be safety conscious. 80% of people are caused by accidents.

    Equestrian Sports. The most fun you can have with your boots still on...


  7. #7
    What qualifies as the best mini will depend largely on what you plan to do.
    If you are wanting to teach classes or turn proffessionally(8 hours a day, every day), then the Vicmarc will probably be worth the money.

    I have a Jet mini personally. I have been using it about 2 years with no problems (got it back when they were about to introduce the variable speed model, so it was cheaper!). I don't see any signs of it needing repairs or improvements (other than maybe getting bigger) anytime soon.

    If you are anywhere near Australia, get a mercury , wish I had one of those.


    Really, just get one that has #2 Morse tapers and a fairly common thread size and have fun. I don't think I would want anything much smaller than the Jet for what its worth.

    If you really get into turning, your probably gonna end up buying a bigger one to go along with it (I know I am once the budget allows, well and the wife ).

    Patrick
    Patrick Lane

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Marquette Heights, Illinois
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    I have no feel for the Vicmark other than the quality of their products overall, since I have never turned on one. I have owned a Jet Mini for over two years and have really given it a run.....Out of balance wood.........Big pieces.......Long pieces (Just finished 4 - 34" long 4" tapered legs on mine) and have not had ANY trouble with it. I am upgrading to the Rikon and have it weighting down the back of my van, till I'm through with some long stuff I need to finish. (Didn't spring for the extention yet.) I've used one at Woodcraft several times and the only thing I found objectionable was that the threads on the spindle were rough, but when I mounted a chuck firmly, it ran true.

    Bruce

  9. #9
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    I believe if you did a poll on this question that the Jet Mini would win hands down against what else is out there. I have 2 Jet Minis, one of which has produced a couple thousand items including small bowls,etc. The variable speed version is nice but not essential.
    "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high - but so are the rewards" - - Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
    Ken Salisbury Passed away on May 1st, 2008 and will forever be in our hearts.

  10. #10
    For the money, the Jet VS mini-lathe is the best. If you want a fantastic mini-lathe check out the Oneway 1018 (discontinued but there are few around), for slightly larger check out the Oneway 1224 (12"swing, 24" BC). The Vickmark (VL100) is also very good and priced between the Jet and Oneway. The one I liked but I don't see them imported anymore is the Nova Mercury (oh well).

  11. #11
    Welcome to the Creek Mike!!! I think you'll find this family quite comfortable! Can't help you with the lathe choice....Don't have any experience with a mini of any kind......I do like VS though!

    Good luck in your quest
    Last edited by John Hart; 12-07-2005 at 3:12 PM.
    ~john
    "There's nothing wrong with Quiet" ` Jeremiah Johnson

    I live in Steve Schlumpf's basement...under the stairs

  12. #12
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    Atlantic City New Jersey
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    Jet

    I did a lot of checking around before buying my Jet mini and I never heard anybody badmouth a Jet. I have heard problems with every other one. The Jet mini is a sweet machine. Smooth, quiet, my headstock and tailstock lined up perfectly. I have been having a good time on it. So has my son. We got the VS and i really like that feature. Have fun. Welcome.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Salisbury
    I believe if you did a poll on this question that the Jet Mini would win hands down against what else is out there. I have 2 Jet Minis, one of which has produced a couple thousand items including small bowls,etc. The variable speed version is nice but not essential.
    Is there any other difference between the "standard" mini and the VS?
    (I'm having trouble figuring out how they get away with charging $100 just for that feature.)

  14. #14
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    Aurora, Co.
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    I own a vs Jet mini and two loder Delta lathes and I have turned on a Rikon. I really like the Jet and would not put my money into the Rikon now that I spent some time on it. I think that they have some start up problems right now that they will have to clean up if they want to be in that part of the business. I would not buy another lathe that did not have the variable speed option on it. I do not like changing the pulley speed all of the time on the Deltas that I Own. Just my 2 cents worth.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud
    Is there any other difference between the "standard" mini and the VS?
    (I'm having trouble figuring out how they get away with charging $100 just for that feature.)
    Lee, that feature is a substantial value add to the machine. But it primarily is the only difference. If you plan on mostly spindle work, there is no need for the VS. If you plan on a lot of bowls and hollowforms, the VS is a good thing to have, both for safety and for better working conditions.
    “Never raise your hands to your children, it leaves your groin unprotected.” - Red Buttons

    If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep...

    Be safety conscious. 80% of people are caused by accidents.

    Equestrian Sports. The most fun you can have with your boots still on...


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