Planning to pick up a new hobby of wood turning? The art of wood turning can be traced back to the 1300 BC. However, it is in our times that tools like the Jet JML variable speed indexing mini lathe, has made wood turning an easy task to turn out. If you are a novice to this hobby or profession, and have been wandering through various websites for the best mini lathe, no doubt you would have come across a great many options. However, what we are going to do today is ease your way a bit. We will be looking at the JML 1014VSI Variable Speed Indexing Mini Lathe by Jet. This tool costs is a bit on the higher side for a product of these specifications. ‘All great things come at a cost’ we have heard. Now let’s dig deeper and see if this tool is really worth the price.

Impressive Featureset!

To start with, the key features of the Jet JML are impressive, and whether you are a pro or a beginner, it has everything that you could ask for in a mini lathe. It has a 1/2 HP engine which offers a 3,900 maximum RPM; which is extremely good for small projects and for a beginner’s work. It has a variable speed, a 10 inch swing, 14 inch bed and quick release levers for easy and accurate positioning of the tool rest and tailstock.

…the Reviews are in!

The reviews left by the users at Amazon show that the tool has earned a strong fanbase among novices in the wood turning world. However, the one I really picked up for a closer inspection was a review from Tom. From Arizona in the USA, Tom was obviously a pro in this field. This is the second lathe to go into his repertoire and he plans to use it on his smaller projects. He is impressed with the number of indexing positions that the Jet JML has to offer. It has 24 indexing positions, which is impressive for a mini lathe. Now why is indexing helpful? Indexing is also known as the dividing work. It locks the lathe in a fixed position which helps you divide the wood into precise equal divisions of its circumference. For example, if you want to make a fluted leg for a piece of furniture, you can make use of the indexing feature to lock the wood in its place and then add the flutes with a router. This will ensure that the flutes are evenly distributed. You can also use it for flutes, mortises or anything else that needs to be evenly placed.

Variable Speed …

In addition to this, the variable speed setting is what impresses Tom. The Jet JML has a five speed setting on a dial which is combined with three belt settings. This also means that there is no speed control knob, as the one found on the Fox Shop W1704. This is because with every speed change you may also have to adjust the belt setting, which only takes about 20 seconds. However, the speed settings are mentioned on a plate on top of the motor, which means you can figure it out quickly and adjust it as per the need. The Jet JML does have the handwheel, which is missing in the Fox Shop W1704. This means that when it comes to adding finishing touches, the Jet JML comes in handier then its counterpart.

What I believe to be most important…

Wood turning art is something that needs to be backed up by a tool like the Jet JML mini indexing lathe. The relevance and usefulness of this tool will again depend on what you plan to use it for. Tom said that he has a 2HP motor lathe for the heavier turning project he has on hand, which obviously suggests that this lathe may not be the thing you need if you are looking at huge projects. However, for smaller projects this is spot on.


Additional Toolerant ressources:

Lathe projects for beginners
What is the best lathe to choose? (General Guide)