So many changes have happened over the last four months.
I’m comfortably installed in my new studio. And now I have a brand-new lathe for my new studio, a Jet 1642, with a 2-hp, 230-v, reversible motor and a 16″ swing. The speed is also variable from 0 to 3200 rpm, with two different belt settings, unlike my old lathe.
Don’t get me wrong. My old lathe, also a Jet, the 1442, served me well for almost five years of full-time turning—and I haven’t retired it yet. It is a little workhorse, but I have worked it hard and push its limitations daily. What are its limitations? Well, the speed is variable only at fixed steps. The lowest speed is theoretically 450 rpm, but actually measures closer to 700 rpm—not slow enough to safely turn very unbalanced pieces. It also lacks reverse. And though 1 hp does the job most of the time, I can stall the motor if I cut too agressively. It has been a very good machine for me for a long time, though, and I would stand by it as a solid choice for an inexpensive first full-size lathe.
My new lathe is, I think, the best deal around for the money. It costs little more than half the price of a comparable Powermatic (I paid $1439 on sale!), and it feels rock steady. I’m actually astonished at how quietly and smoothly it operates. I feel as though I can turn anything on it. And, although it may not be a lifetime lathe, I have no doubt I will get years of service from it.