The quality of your wood lathe is the quality of your woodwork. This isn’t a wise old saying, but it should be!
To make sure that you are able to create the best possible pieces it’s vital that your wood lathe has the abilities to properly bring your design visions to life. A good wood lathe should be strong -to mold many kinds of wood, adjustable -to hold many sizes and agile -to move as fast or as slow as your workpiece requires. (Check out our 16,000 Woodplans Here)
There are some best midi wood lathes available in the market. This review will compare some of the best midi wood lathes available.
Our Top Pick:
Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
Delta Industrial 46-460 is one of the best midi wood lathe. This lathe has a powerful 1 horsepower motor with variable speed up to 4,000 RPM that will give you all the precision and consistency you need to control the crafting of your project.
Its three pulley-speed ranges mean that your speed can be changed without the fuss of having to change the belt position. Easy = better, at least when it comes to wood lathes!
It provides a 12-1/2-inch swing capacity which is the largest in its class.
The Delta Industrial has a forward and reverses function that will give you precision and accuracy with the only a flip of a switch.
This 46-460 includes a 3-inch faceplate with 6 inch and 10-inch tool rests. This will support tools in a variety of turning applications.
10 Best Midi Wood Lathe Reviewed!
This is our top ten list of Best Midi Wood Lathe! Clicking below will take you to Amazon to view the latest price:
- JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe
- NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 12-Inch x 16 1/2-Inch
- Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe
- PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Turncrafter Commander 10″ Variable Speed Midi Lathe
- RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe
1. JET JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe
The Jet JWL is in a similar class as the Delta Industrial lathe. However, this is a lathe that has been created with one distinct goal which is control -which wants we want!
This lathe also has a 1 horsepower motor with a maximum speed of 3600 rpm. It has a smooth forward and reverses transition capability.
The manufacturers of this tool wanted to offer a lathe with the most responsive control as possible. You will be able to easily control its speed by simply turning the knob.
This feature allows the speed controller to adjust speeds in 3 steps.
Step 1: 60 – 900 rpm
Step 2:110 -1800 rpm
Step 3: 220 -3600 rpm.
This maximum speed is quite fast compared to other machines in its class. The tension belt position will only need to be changed if you want to move to a different range of speeds.
It has an innovative ratchet style belt tension system, this simply means that it is able to secure well in any position. It has 24 integrated indexing positions with conveniently located controls.
The Jew JWL -1221VS also features a built-in spring-loaded spindle lock to secure your workpiece. Weighing almost 130 pounds, this is a very solid machine, perfect for working with thicker woods.
2. NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Lathe 12-Inch x 16 1/2-Inch
The Nova 46300 Comet II is a compact and portable lathe. Its measurements are slightly smaller than other similar machines, which means its a good choice if you have a small workspace or need it to be portable.
It has a 3/4 horsepower motor with a variable speed that goes from a very slow 250 RPM to a very fast 4000 RPM. This lathe is good for a variety of tasks.
It’s 3 step pulley system offers different speed ranges while providing flexibility. Its 12 point index feature is perfect if are a furniture maker. It’s accurate and easy to adjust
It features a 12-inch swing capacity over a bed and a 16.5- inch between center. There is the option to expand the spindle length up to 41-inch with the NOVA Comet II Versaturn Bed Extension Accessory.
3. Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe
The Jet JWL-1015 midi lathe, weighing in at a featherweight of 77 pounds, this is another compact lathe.
It is the ideal purchase for the first time woodworker. It has been designed to be affordable and user-friendly. It’s constructed with the full features that will make it a good choice for the more advanced crafter too.
It has a swinging over bed range of 10” with an option to expand it using the Jet JWL Bed Extension Accessory.
It has a 1/2 horsepower motor. The distance of 15-1/2″ between centers allows lathe to work with woods with a limited length.
It features a six-speed spindle setting;- 500, 840, 1240, 1800, 2630 and 3975. This means it will give you a more definite control over the speed the lathes spindle moves.
With an Integrated 24 position indexing, this would be good for projects needing detailing.
This Jet JWL-1015 was designed with an improved tensioning system and easier access to its belts. It has a wider bed ways which provide increased stability and rigidity.
4. PSI Woodworking KWL-1018VS Turncrafter Commander 10″ Variable Speed Midi Lathe
This PSI Turncrafter Commander is ESL listed and certified by Intertek. This means you can be assured of this products quality, performance, and safety.
The PSI Woodworking KWL -1018VS Midi lathe, replaces the TCLC10VS model. It has a 3/4 horsepower, 110v motor. This is perfect for most woodwork projects.
This is lathe has a 10” swing over bed and Its distance between centers is 18”. It has an internal SBC microprocessor -this a fancy way to say that the lathe has a little computer inside it -it is a smart lathe!
It features a digital readout that lets you select the precise speed you want to work. It has variable speed with two belt positions:
Position A: 500-2000 RPM and
Position B: 1500-3600 RPM
This is quite a wide speed range for a lathe of this size, that means it will be able to handle a variety of projects
Built with 24 indexing positions, this lathe is good for making items like furniture -as this seems to be a good way to describe a lathes ability!
Its spindle bore is 3/8 “ and can lock into position.
At 82 pounds, this cast iron wood lathe is a compact and solid option for safety conscious wood crafters who need to be sure of its quality before buying it
5. RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch Mini Lathe
The RIKON 70-100 is described as a mini lathe, but its specifications and functions can classify it as a midi too.
Weighing a respectable 91.4 pounds, this mini lathe is the largest on the market.
With its 1/2 horsepower motor, this lathe is able to reach a maximum speed of 3900 RPM and minimum speed of 430 RPM. This means that this little lathe has a lot of versatility.
The RIKON 70-100 has an easy-access speed change feature that lets you quickly change speeds from 430 to 810, 1230, 1810, 2670, and 3900.
It has a swinging bed range of 12” and 16” distance from centers. These features can be expanded with the extensions that are available which will allow you to work with larger pieces.
Its 12 position indexing head allows for precision in your detailed pattern work. It has a self-ejecting tail stock so there is no need for you to use a separate knock out bar to remove the center.
When you purchase this wood lathe it will also come with several compatible accessories that you can use to customize your RIKON Lathe and tailor it to fit your needs.
With all the different wood lathe machines available, choosing the one for you could feel like information overload!
Each of these woodturning machines are created with their own specialized design features, so it is important that you already know what you want from your wood lathe and understand how to find it.
The specification information holds all the important details that you will need to understand before making your choice.
To all the wannabe carpenters and woodwork novices, most of the information found in the specification sheet will not be clear to you!
If you are not able to understand what it actually means, you wouldn’t really be able to understand how to identify what it is that you need it to do!
Do not despair! This buying guide will brief you on the meanings of all fancy names and technical terms of the features and functions you seek in your chosen woodturning lathe.
To start at the beginning, we will need to understand what a specification sheet is and where we can expect to find it.
A specification sheet is usually in the format of a table. This allows the manufacturers to provide as much information as possible in an easy to read layout.
Specification documentation is most often included as a hard copy in the packaging of the product.
However, you don’t need to buy it before getting to see it. These days you can usually find a products specification details on their website. There, you should be able to view and download it.
All spec sheets should have the following general information:
Electrical Data and Motor Power: Expressed in horsepower (hp). This usually ranges between 1/2 hp and 1 hp. This is the range for non-commercial and semi-commercial use.
Supply Characteristics: This is about the power supply, voltage, phase, and full-load current. Use this to make sure your power socket matches these characteristics.
Speed: Expressed as ranges or discrete values. Lathes that indicate speed range, such as 1221VS offers better speed control than discrete speed values, such as 70-100.
Lathe Capacity – Swing Over Bed: This indicates the maximum thickness of the object you can turn without hitting the bed. This will limit the diameter for bowl turning
Swing Over Tool Rest: This indicates the maximum thickness of the object you can turn without hitting the tool rest. This will limit the diameter for spindle turning.
Distance to Centers: This indicates the maximum length of the object you can turn during spindle turning
Spindle Characteristics: This includes information about the spindle’s thread per inch and bore diameter. This will be used when fixing the workpiece on the headstock.
Tailstock Characteristics: This data is about quill travel and tailstock hole’s diameter. This is used when attaching the workpiece on the lather.
Dimension and Weight: This is the size of the lathe, make sure this will be appropriate for your available space. The heavier the better, it will be more solid and increase precision.
Material: What all the major parts are made from. It is usually cast iron and stainless steel.
The Benefits of The Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe:
The Delta Industrial Lathe seems to be the daddy of the woodturning lathes.
Its maximum 1 horsepower means that this machine can handle the big jobs and well as the little ones. Its 4,000 RPM motor offers good control over the speed.
The Deltas swing bed range capacity of 12-1/2-inch is the largest in its class making it able to turn long workpieces easily, without hitting the bed.
The forwards and reverse feature give you the ability to rotate your turned project in a forward and backward direction. This will allow it to be sanded in both directions and achieve a truly superior finish.
However, usually, you would have to remount the object backward for this effect which is difficult and time-consuming.
With the Delta Industrial 46-460, this process is so much more efficient and can be done by simply flipping a switch.
This model is made with their patented belt-tensioning system. It makes for quick speed changes and maximum power transfer. This enables the tool to last longer, therefore, saves you money!
This solid cast iron lathe is able to absorb its vibrations and allows for accuracy and precision in every product it turns out!
Frequently Asked Questions:
A good tip, when researching your new midi lathe, is to check the FAQ page. You will find more information about the product there!
Here are some FAQ on our top picked best midi wood lathe.
Question: What is the range in speed?
Answer: There are 3 belt positions. Easy to change, but have to turn it off. Variable speed within each is 250-700, 600-1800 and 1350-4000 RPM.
Question: Has anyone done bowls with this lathe?
Answer: Oh yes. Lots of them. Mostly small but occasionally up to 10″ diameter.
Question: What is the distance between the mounting holes on the bottom, front to back and side to side?
Answer: from the hole center is 30 1/4″ left to right and 3″ front to back. uses 3/8″ hardware to mount.
Question: What accessories are included with this lathe?
Answer: Drive center, live center, (2) tool rests, faceplate, wrench, and knock out the bar.
Summing Things Up:
So, this article has given you our top 5 woodturning lathes. We included all the important features that will help you in choosing which lathe is right for you, as well as a buying guide to make this all clear!
The products described above are, in our opinion, the best performing lathes currently available.
The cream of the woodturning crop, which rose to the top for us is the Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe. We think, now you have a clear idea about the best midi wood lathe of 2020!
This machine will be able to create the wooden pieces of your dreams, giving it the quality and finish of a product you can be proud of a good wood lathe.