Space is a rare luxury these days and most of us can’t afford it but that doesn’t mean we cannot fulfil our wishes. A mini wood lathe might be the best solution to see you through small woodturning projects like turning pens. There is a lot you can get up to with this small lathe, without even stepping into a full-scale workshop, things like turning bowls, bottle stoppers, sofa legs, chair spindles and hollow vessels to mention but a few. With that in mind, one begins to think long and hard about the perfect mini wood lathe they can get which will cut on the space they use without cutting the quality of the work they produce. 

The JWL-1015 from Jet is one of the best mini-lathes on the market, the fact that it’s easy to use makes it perfect for beginners. It is very affordable that you can even get it for your backyard workshop and will also be a great addition to your big workshop without leaving a huge dent in your bank account, it is also great in the sense that you will use less power when working on something small that does not need a big lathe. 

BrandJet
Model NumberJWL-1015
RPM500, 840, 1240, 1800, 2630, 3975 (six spindle speeds)
Motor1 PH / 5 Amps / 115 Volts
Facelift Size26 inches
Weight35 kg
Dimensions26×7×14 inches
Horsepower½
Voltage115
Warranty5 years

Woodcarving can be fun even for the stay at home mom and all those people who think they can’t work with wood, you might be surprised that even your children have a passion for wood, its size reduces the scepticism one gets when they have never tried something before because bigger lathes can be intimidating. You might visit a workshop and discover that you enjoy working with wood. The hustle then comes when you look to buy your first lathe, there is a lot to it than meets the eye, one needs to consider the size of their project and the horsepower they will need not forgetting the power supply they have at their disposal. Considering all this you will lose a lot of your precious time searching for the lathe suitable for your needs. 

Pros 

  • Six spindle speeds 
  • Bigger speed range, from 500 to 3975
  • Cast iron bed for reduced vibration
  • Very durable 
  • 24 index positions 
  • Compatible with extensions

Cons

  • Doesn’t have reverse speed
  • Extensions bought separately

The JWL-1015 takes into consideration most needs of wood spinning, it weighs 35 kilograms without any accessories making it lighter than most of its competitors. It gives you 15.5 inches between centres meaning you can easily fit a piece of 15 inches without any hustle. It comes with a cast-iron lathe bed for that improved durability most products in the field lack, the cast iron is not only durable but also reduces the vibration you get when working resulting in smooth operation which then translates to quality work. It also comes with a 10-inch swing over bed and 5 years warranty which gives one peace of mind that should the equipment develop faults they have someone to turn to. 

The standard JWL-1015 version which is this one without any modifications features six variable speeds. The six spindle speeds of 500, 840, 1240, 2630 and 3975 make this lathe versatile as you can change speeds slightly which is a very useful feature when roughing out a blank. Vibration is a nuisance we don’t want when working but we can’t get rid of it completely, the JWL-1015VS does a great job in reducing it though its ½ horsepower motor which is enough to turn the wood piece without much vibration. 

Turning to science, less vibration actually means the machine is more efficient so most of that power you pay for goes to good use. In changing the speed of the lathe you can easily access the belts and pulleys. If you have an older version of a lathe this can be an upgrade as it comes with an improved tensioning system with easier access to belts. The only shortcoming of the JWL-1015 is the limited access to the lower pulley but does not reduce the quality of your work at all. 

Aesthetics

The size of this lathe means more people purchase it for their home workshops, and one would want their home workshop to feel less serious than their workshop at the workplace. The JWL-1015 has a less serious look which has a futuristic feel giving one the much-desired drive to work. It looks simple enough that even someone who has never worked with wood can have the courage to try it out just because the equipment is inviting. It comes with two handles which do not only make it easy to move around but add to its looks as well.  

Performance Review

It is well built with the best alignment you can find in this price range. If you are new to the trade you might wonder why the manufacture had to go through the trouble of putting 24 index positions on this piece of machinery, many index positions make it easy to cut fluting and veining, this is great for performance and makes the lathe very friendly to the not so experienced spinners.

Safety

Worry not for your safety, I don’t know if it was part of the plan to make this piece so safe or it was just a coincidence but the bottom line is it’s the safest in the market. All the moving parts are conveniently concealed apart from the ones you use. Its on-off switch is a safety key which is a great feature for a product which will find itself in many homes surrounded by mischievous young ones. It is advised to connect your lathe in a 10 amp circuit to prevent any electrical complications.

Our Verdict

This is the answer to most of us who could not afford the big lathes but feared the sub-standard results of the smaller ones. This is a great buy and we greatly recommend it especially for the beginners, and as an addition to the workshop where all you professionals work, it won’t cost much and definitely won’t take that much space. 

David D. Hughes