Jet or Rikon - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-09-2008, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Jet or Rikon

I'm looking at mini-lathes. I've basically narrowed it down to either a Jet or a Rikon, but I honestly have no idea what to look for. I'm looking at the variable speed versions, but may go cheaper with the indexed head so I can get a little more swing.

I'm going with either a 10" or 12" swing, but I don't know which is the "right" choice. Is the Rikon good enough for a starter (at least) so I can spend a few more nickels on tools?

Related question, what would be a good beginning turner's required tools for making bowls, pens and pepper mills? I don't think I need any coring tools because I don't anticipate doing many deep bowls or vases at this point but please tell me if I'm wrong.
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-09-2008, 11:19 AM
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Both of those are good lathes. I don't think you can go wrong with either. I would go for the 12" if you can. They have more horsepower which you will enjoy.
You can turn most anything with a 1/2" bowl gouge, 3/4" spindle roughing gouge, 3/16 or 1/4" parting tool, 3/8" detail gouge or 3/8" spindle gouge with a fingernail grind, 3/4 to 1" skew. I have over 75 tools and use those I just mentioned 90 percent of the time. The rest of the tools are somewhat specialty tools for doing hollow vessels or miniature work. I also have slightly larger and smaller tools in each of those mentioned above.
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-09-2008, 11:21 AM
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Sorry I forgot to mention 2 tools that beginners find very useful. I do use them on occasion. A 3/4" round nose scraper and 1/2" flat nose scraper.
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-09-2008, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks John, I appreciate your help. The Jet and the Rikon actually both have 1/2 hp motors and 6 (slightly different) speeds. The Rikon is a 12" swing with 16" spindle length whereas the Jet has a 10" swing with 14" length. Both are adjustable but the Jet has 24 index positions while the Rikon has 12. (I don't know what these will benefit me so I don't know if it will make a lot of difference.)

At this point I'm leaning toward the Rikon mostly because of the larger swing. The price of the Jet is actually slightly less than the Rikon due to current rebates but I suspect accessories will be similarly priced and therefore more expensive in the long run.
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-09-2008, 12:40 PM
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Jet also sells a 12". It has a 3/4 horse motor and is the one I'm going to buy when I get around to selling my Carbo-Tec and the 10" jet that I'm using for a project lathe. They sell it i single speed and variable speed.
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-09-2008, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, the jet 1220 is a little out of the range I'm looking to spend right now. I did ogle it a bit though the other day. It is more power, and has a longer spindle length (without extensions) but I think we'll mostly be turning small bowls and ornaments etc. (my wife is going to take an intro class with me) so for now I'm going to go with the cheaper lathe and then upgrade if I think we need it.
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-09-2008, 04:32 PM
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You can turn bowls up to about 8" pretty well on the jet or rikon but you have to take small cuts. I did demos for 3 days at a fair on a Single speed jet mini. It was a little hairy when I first started roughing because 500 rpm is a little fast for an out of balance piece. Once I got it trued up and rough shaped the outside I increased the speed to hollow the inside.
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-10-2008, 12:30 AM
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jet or ricon

For what its worth,The Ricon was my 1st lathe and still have it,plus a Nova 1624 and and old Ohio forge.I got know complaints,but lots of compliments about it and there service is 2nd to none.I actualy cored bowls with the Kel McNaugton coring tool on it.Its one tough little lathe.

Last edited by The woodsman; 12-11-2008 at 10:09 AM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-10-2008, 04:22 PM
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Frankp, I too am working on choosing my first mini lathe. I may go for the Rikon because it is available locally, but have also eyed this one on amazon.com pretty hard. It is $249 with free shipping, which is a heck of a lot cheaper. The only significant differences I can find is that the Rikon has 12" swing, compared to the 10" of the Penn State Turncrafter, and the Rikon isn't variable speed. They have a non-VS lathe in the same configuration for $188.

I hear nothing but good things about Jet and Rikon, and admittedly haven't heard or read any feedback about the Turncrafter except on Amazon.


Just food for thought!
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-11-2008, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, termite. I've seen a few things here and there about Penn equipment but nothing that stands out as good or bad in my memory and nothing specifically about lathes.
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post #11 of 13 Old 12-11-2008, 10:19 AM
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Jet or Ricon

There is one important factor you have to look at and that is service.Jet has a fantastic rep and so does Ricon.If fact the motor on mine started getting pretty weak(my fault,thought I was turning on a Nova)it was out of warranty,anyway I called them up to order a new motor,told em what happened and just send me one out and I would pay for it.There response was NO WAY that motor should hold up better than that and two days later I had a new motor ,at no charge to me.Now you can't beat that.I have also heard the same stories about Jet.One thing to remember,the lowest price may not be the best deal in the long run.So if you go for the lower priced one, be sure and check out there service record if you can and how good there warranty is.
Ken
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post #12 of 13 Old 12-12-2008, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Woodsman, thanks for the information. I had pretty much decided on the Rikon, but your story definitely was the final straw.
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post #13 of 13 Old 12-12-2008, 08:35 PM
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Jet or Ricon

Good luck on what you get and let us know how you like it

Ken
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