Over the past decade power tool manufacturers have introduced a variety of midi lathes, and the Rikon 70-100 mini lathe is one of the best wood lathes in this category. Unlike other mini lathes, this one has extra large features that are comparable to floor standing wood lathes.
The Rikon 70-100 features 16” between the centers and has an option to add more bed extensions. This is definitely an improvement over the Shop Fox W1704, which features 12” between the centers. However, 70-100 features a 12 position indexing head as compared to the 24 position indexing head of the W1704. The Rikon 70-100 comes with a 12” swing, which is 4” more than W1704 and 2” more than JWL-1015. Swing over tool rest base is 9-1/2”.
This wood lathe has an 8” tool rest as against the standard 6” tool rest of most other mini lathes.
It is safe to say that it is the largest mini-lathe in the industry. If you are looking to change the speed while doing a project, you will notice that you can easily access the cover to adjust the belt drive, and can change the speed from 430 to 810, 1230, 1810, 2670 and 3900 RPM. It has a ½ HP motor.
Tip: A wood lathe with more speeds is always better. For smaller projects and when you are finishing a piece, you would need higher speeds. So choose a lathe with at least four speeds.
The Rikon 70-100 mini lathe is heavier than most others in this category at 88.5 lbs, but it comes with a convenient lifting handle so that you can move it around your work place. A faceplate, spur center and a tooling knockout are included in the product shipped to you.
One of the most important things to consider when buying a wood lathe is that its accessories should be available on the market. Fortunately you can find a number of accessories if you want to customize your Rikon 70-100 – there are a variety of lathe bed extensions, different sizes of tool rests and face plates, lathe stand, lathe stand extension and many other accessories.
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Standout features: 16” between the centers, 12” swing, convenient lifting handle, headstock and tailstock line up perfectly, Spindle: MT #2.
The only limitation that this wood lathe comes with is that it has a manual speed control that forces you to change speeds by moving a belt on stopped pulleys. Even though this would not take a lot of time, other mini wood lathes like Shop Fox W1704 offer change of speed with the help of a knob. The belt takes some time to get used to, as you have to adjust it for different speeds. However, once you are used to it, it will take just a few seconds.
Tip: If the wood lathe comes with a 12” swing over bed it only means that the distance from the center of the drive to the bed is 6”. This means that the largest diameter that you can turn in is 12”.