JET JWL-1220VS Lathe a Solid Lathe for New Turners but Lacks Other Tool's Safety Features
posted on October 1, 2009 by Chris Marshall
Jet JWL 1220VS Benchtop Lathe Motor size: 3/4 hp, 110 volts
Swing: 12" over bed; 9-3⁄8" over rest
Distance between centers: 20"
Speed range: 200-4,300 rpm
Weight: 106 lbs
www.wmhtoolgroup.com
(800) 274-6848

The manual-speed brother of this lathe has been around for years. It’s probably the most popular first lathe for new turners, with good reason: here’s a proven tool with sturdy components, two tool-rest sizes and enough power to get modest-sized turnings done right.

Jet benchtop lathe metal handles One overlooked, but extremely useful, feature of Jet's lathe is two sturdy metal handles, making it much more portable.

It’s also the only one with carry handles to make the machine reasonably portable. After repeatedly hulking these machines on and off my bench, trust me: the handles are worth their weight in gold. The rest of this test group should come with handles, too.

Tool rests on a Jet benchtop lathe Jet's lathe features tool rests at both 6" and 10", which are incredibly useful for making cuts in tight spaces or on long pieces.

Adding variable speed control makes this “steady Eddie” lathe even more convenient, and I love the on-board worklight and both 6" and 10" tool-rest sizes. But, I have two concerns about the speed control box. It’s hinged to double as the bottom pulley-access door. The steel clip latch was finicky to adjust, so the box either wouldn’t stay closed or was too tight to open.

Jet Lathe Spur and Live Centers The spur and live centers on Jet's lathe are extremely well laid out, ensuring that spindles will turn on one perfect axis.

It just needs a better latch. Second, lathes can be dangerous, especially to a curious child. The basic toggle switch that powers up this tool has no lockout provision. A safety switch would be a sensible improvement.

All in all, this JET is a respectable tool, but it falls a little short on some important features.

posted on October 1, 2009 by Chris Marshall
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What People are Saying:

I have been ordering from Rockler for almost 20 years and have found their products to be very inexpensive and of high quality. Shipping is fast even when an item is back ordered. The best prices I have found anywhere."

- Orval - 08/07/2012
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