As interest in wood turning has grown, the lathes on the market have grown more sophisticated. Today's crop of heavy-duty lathes typically comes with electronic speed control, a 16-in. or 20-in. swing, a bed measuring 42 in. between centers, beefier spindles, and the torque needed to turn large workpieces. Turner Andy Barnum tested seven heavy-duty lathes ranging in price from $1,200 to $3,200, measuring them for ease of speed control, vibration, lathe movement, power, tool-rest design, and ease of adjustment for outboard turning. He evaluated the tailstocks and live centers, and tested how each lathe performed both on small and large workpieces. In the end, two clear winners emerged.

Models tested include: General 25-650; Grizzly G0456; Jet JWL-1642-EVS-2; Nova DVR-XP; Nova 1624-44; Powermatic 3520B; Rikon Woodfast Series 70-500.

From Fine Woodworking #191