Being budget limited I have been looking at these (among others). I'm also considering a Mini such as Jet, Fisch, Delta that can be expanded. I am mostly interested in bowls, gobblets, hollow forms, and other small stuff but may turn an occasional spindle.
Am I looking in the right direction?
Widen the Horizon.
Harbor Freight do a clone of this lathe also.
I bought Kendemps when he upgraded... its exactlythe same as the 1236 for about $250.
The tool rest arrangement which is the same as all of them is about the only feature that could do with some improvement.
Other than that it's a fine intermediate lathe.
I think it is better than a mini for bowls as the headstock swivels and trying to get the correct angle of attack on a mini is darn near impossible especially with full length tools...BTW I do have a mini as well so I speak from experience.
"Is it fair to say that, in your opinion, there is no reason to spend the extra money on the Jet when comparing these clones?"
I have no experience with the other lathes you mentioned but as a Jet owner, I can share my experience with it. I am very pleased on the construction, quality and value that I got from my 1236. If the clones are of the same quality, I will say go for it.
"Would it be safe to say that I should skip a "mini" if I only plan on owning one lathe (at a time)?"
Jet mini have rave reviews so I won't discount that choice. The factor you have to consider is the swing capacity. If you are sure that you won't turn anything bigger than 9" or so in diameter then the mini is okay. When I bought my 1236...I thought I won't turn anything bigger than 11". Now my problem is that I have a few 18"-24" diameter blanks that I want to turn as big as possible and can't.
You will see this a lot here..."you can always turn small items on a big lathe but never vice versa" and I for one believe it.
By the way...you should know that lathe is only the beginning. Soon you will need a sharpening system, jigs, chuck, bowl gouge, calipers, sanding supplies, dust collector, chainsaw, bandsaw, buffing system, coring system, hollowing system, etc. Believe me...my wish list seems to be getting longer after each purchase. That is why they refer to this "hobby" the vortex (so be warned) :D.
Good luck on your choice!
[h4][font color = "blue"] Innovate or Stagnate[/font]
[font color = "red"]"I count my blessings more than my misfortunes"[/font][/h4]
Just to add on to Dario's comments.
If you want to do spindles then a mini is fine but the limited swing over the bed is one problem..the other is that because the heads do not swivel you are limited to the angle of attack you can achieve with such a small swing.You can sometimes achieve this by having the handle of a full size tool the other side of the bed angled backwards but it's a literal pain in the neck and trying to turn with short tools(6" overall length) requires considerably more control and will frustrate the novice...ask Holly!!!
It was this frustration that got me looking at a full size lathe so that I didn't relinquish control of my DVR..(nice lathe..ooh ooh ooh!)
I had an old Crafstman but it rattled like a gravel truck and got to me so bad that I couldn't be in the same room because of the frequency.
Was about to buy the Jet 1236 which from memory was being offered on special at about $300 on Amazon and scoped it out at the local Woodcraft.
Then Kendemp bought a Nova so with finances tight I offered to take his HF at a reasonable(good) price.
Lo and behold it was exactly the same as the Jet..even the motor type and number.
as I said the tool rest arrangement is not so hot and with the rash of broken tool rests that Jet users experienced I can see why.
Main problem is that it has an outrigger attachment which can be dispensed with in most applications and only comes with a flimsy 12" tool rest which you have to use the end of in most bowl turning modes. Therefore any catch will bang the tool down on the end of a flimsy rest risking it to snap. A 6 or 4" rest would be a must to stop this likliehood.
From all that I've seen the quality and build are the same and the difference in price justifies in my mind the difference that "after sales service" costs..your take may be different..But to me I can buy almost 2 HF's for the cost of one Jet and although it's a pain you can always send it back..HF is good about that.
My thoughts are that if you ain't fussed that it's an emerald green color without the cachet of a jet sticker ...for difference in price it's well worth it.
if you do ever decide to trade up...distinct possibility...you could give it away and only be down $250 If you only got a hundred bucks for it it's easier than trying to sell a Jet for $150 off $429 + shipping.
I know many will disagree with me but having sold the Craftsman which was not difficult (single add in the local rag) I would have no qualms about getting the HF.
Thanks for the input.
I have a local HF so I can go down and put my hands one one, and if I did want to return it it's pnly a 20 minute drive. As far as looks goes I have grizzly tools as well and they are about as ugly as HF, but that really doesn't bother me.
re-reading one of your earlier posts you mentioned not being able to turn past 12" which is the swing of the bed...
Have you swivelled the head to 45 degrees or 90 degrees ?. I find that once a bowl is chucked of whatever size it's much easier on the back and easier to control the tool angle with the head swivelled outboard.
Whether the motor is man enough to take 18" to 24 " is perhaps a little on the large side but I reckon you should be able to go 15-18" with a well balanced blank and a light touch.
The tool post arrangement definitely needs to utilise the outrigger which will also mean that you need to be delicate with your cuts to obviate any suggestion of flexing.
Since using lathes with heads that swivel I would definitely not go back to a fixed head.
Kendemp fitted a 1"+ oak platform on top of the supplied stand...I believe he salvaged it from an old desk. It certainly helps keeping the lathe stable and although it would help even more with a shelf fitted to the lower supports and cinder blocks added at the moment there hasn't been any need.
One last plug for Penn State's "Benjamins Best" brand of turning tools... they are full size, oak handles, HSS, indistinguishable from Sorby's in looks and usage and unbelievably inexpensive...so much so that they probably would sell more if they upped the price !! to much of a credibility gap when you see a half inch round nose scraper at $10.50 and a side cut diamond scraper at $16.50...both of which I have and rave about.
Spindle gouges range from $8.95 to $14.95..Roughing gouges $12.95 to a 2" at $36.95 the latter would cost you $90 for a 1 3/4" Crown..it just sounds too good to be true...but in this rare instance it is!!!