A mini wood lathe is the perfect solution to trying your hand at small wood turning projects, like turning pens. However, these power tools excel at other tasks too, like turning bowls, bottle stoppers, sofa legs, chair spindles and hollow vessels. So, a mini wood lathe is a bench top lathe with 20” or less capacity. One of the best wood lathes in this category is the Jet JWL-1015 Wood Working Lathe.
The Jet JWL-1015 is great equipment for a beginner wood turner who wants to buy an inexpensive, easy to use lathe or a professional who is looking to add a mini lathe in their workshop. Woodturning can be fun even for an inexperienced wood turner, but buying your first lathe can be difficult. As soon as you have discovered the size of your project and the horsepower you need, you should spend time researching them.
Tip: If you have small projects to do such as pen blanks, then a mini lathe is good. It should have an easily adjustable tool rest and tailstock.
Weighing just 77 pounds, this one is lighter than the Shop Fox W1836 and its dimensions are 35×18.1×14.6 inches. It offers 15-1/2” between centers. The JWL-1015 has a cast iron lathe bed that offers extra stability, which results in low vibration and smooth operation, compared to the Rikon 70-100 where you are giving up 3” in the center. It comes with a 10” swing over bed.
The JWL-1015 is available in the standard version that has six variable speeds or in the variable speed version that comes with three adjustable speed ranges. The six spindle speeds of 500, 840, 1240, 2630 and 3975 makes this tool versatile as you can change speeds ever so slightly (this is handy in the lower range for roughing out a blank). The ½ HP motor gives enough torque to turn the wood piece with very little vibration. If you want to change the speed of the lathe, you can conveniently access its belts and pulleys. However, you may also find that the speed control box limits access to the lower pulley, so that is an area that could be improved upon.
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Standout features: Cast iron bed, 6 Variable speeds, 15-1/2″ length between centers.
Tip: Bench top lathes and mini lathes usually come with high RPMs and are often not able to achieve the lower RPM speeds which larger lathes can achieve. But this shouldn’t be a concern, as smaller projects usually require high RPM.
Unlike several other wood lathes on the market, Jet JWL-1015 has cast iron bed construction with a wider bed for stability and low vibration.
Many wood lathes offer 24 index positions these days as does this one. The many index positions make it easy to cut fluting and veining.
Here are a few more things you should know about the JWL-1015:
- If you are planning to turn longer spindles, you can add an extension table to it.
- It doesn’t include a chuck and you have to buy it separately.
- It doesn’t have reverse speed.
- Quill taper: MT2.
Overall the JWL-1015 wood lathe is a well-built power tool with good alignment. It runs smoothly and is quiet as compared to some other wood turners.