Life Hacks

Wood Lathe Tools: A Quick Guide

We all enjoy having beautiful masterpieces such as bowls and vases in our living spaces as they make life to be enjoyable. The use of wood by man to create such exquisite pieces goes back to the earliest of times.

One of the reasons why wood is widely used in creation gorgeous of masterpieces is that it’s durable, beautiful, and easy to work with. Wood has enabled creativity to thrive as with the right lathe tools and design; you can make it anything come to life.

Features To Consider When Looking For Wood Lathe Tools


The length of the lathe tools makes a lot of difference. A tool with a longer bed allows you to turn big items saving you a lot of time. However, if the nature of your work does not involve turning large pieces of wood, you can ignore this feature.


The foundation of a lathe is one of the things you should never ignore when looking to acquire a wood lathe tool. The bigger the base is, the more stable that tool is.


Wood lathe tools are expensive, and they are machines meaning that they can breakdown at any time. This is why you need to ensure you buy a tool with an extended warranty period.


This is usually the heart of the lathe tools, as it is the one that determines the speed of the tools. If you are working with huge pieces of wood, you should go for appliances with bigger motors.

Our Top Pick

The JET JWL – 1221VS 12-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe is our top pick as it has one of the best speed control in the market. It is also one of the most preferred wood lathe tools available as it’s good with experts and intermediate wood-turners.

Our Premium Pick

Most wood lathe tools are expensive, and Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B 20×35-Inch Wood Lathe with RPM Digital Readout is our top wood lathe tool. If you are an expert, this is the tool for you as it is elegant and reliable.

Our Budget Pick

If you are unable to get yourself any of the above wood lathe tools or are a beginner, you should not lose hope as you can take home WEN 3420 8” by 12” Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe. This is the best among all the other cost-effective wood lathe tools available in the market.

5 Best Wood Lathe Tool Reviews

1.  JET  JWL – 1221VS 12 Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe

JET JWL 1221VS boasts of having unrivaled speed control, which is essential in wood-turning. Price is the only issue that many people – especially beginners, are usually concerned with when it comes to this product as it’s a little bit expensive. For experts and those with intermediate experience, however, this is the best wood-turning lathe you can find.

 JET JWL 1221VS speed control comes in two types; discreet control and continuous control. Continuous control is flexible as it allows you to set the spindle velocity at any revolutions per minute (RPV) that the machine can be able to handle while discreet control enables you to set the spindle velocity at locked RPMs.


  • Digital revolutions per minute readout
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty
  • Continuous speed control ranges from 60-3600 RPM


  • Cannot be able to handle pieces that are more than 21 inches

2. Powermatic 1352001 Model 3520B 20×35-Inch Wood Lathe

If wood-turning is a considerable part of your career, then this elegant wood lathe tool is for you as its one of the best commercial wood lathe tools available today. Powermatic 1352001 has a 2 hp motor, that enables it to spin wood in 50-1500 RPM and 125-3500 RPM, and this is the reason this machine is in our choice for the premium category.

What Powermatic 1352001 lacks in terms of speed makes up in terms of capacity, and this makes it the perfect lathe tool for professionals undertaking massive woodturning projects. The advantages of using this fantastic tool far outweigh the negatives, as you will notice below. 


  • Comes with a 5-year warranty
  • It’s a full-sized tool
  • Has a digital speed control readout
  • Has a built-in storage


  • It’s extremely heavy

3. WEN 3420 8” by 12” Variable Speed Benchtop Wood Lathe

WEN 3420 is a high-quality tool that is easy to handle and is also one of the safest lathe tools you can find, making it perfect for beginners. Powered by a 1/3 hp motor, WEN 3420 does not reach its top speed immediately you turn it on, it gains the momentum gradually. WEN 3420 has an adjustable speed that ranges from 750-3200 RPM.


  • Small size
  • It’s affordable
  • Can fit in any workstation
  • Easy to use


  • It’s not ideal for substantial commercial projects

4. Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2 Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe

Delta Industrial 46-460 is a powerful tool with speeds ranging from 250-4000 revolutions per minute. Forward and reverse features found in this excellent wood lathe tool are one of the reasons why this tool has that made its way to our top 5 wood lathe tools in the market today.  Powered by a 1hp motor, Delta Industrial 46-460 comes in three-speed ranges; 250-750 RPM, 600-1800 RPMs, and 1350-4000 RPMs.


  • Has a large swing capacity
  • Compact size
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty


  • It’s not always solid

5. JET JWL – 1440VSK Wood Lathe    

This is another fantastic tool for commercial projects as JET JWL – 1440VSK is very powerful. This tool has thick and long spindles making it easy for you to do heavy work without having any problem. JET JWL – 1440VSK has a variable speed that ranges from 400-3000 RPM.


  • Comes with a 5-year warranty
  • Has a large swing capacity
  • It’s stable


  • It’s heavy


Q1. Why does my lathe make grinding noises?

Wood lathe tools make grinding noises because they have parts that are moving, including seals, gears, and bearings. To minimize the noise, you should ensure that your lathe is adequately lubricated.

Q2. Which are the best types of wood to turn?

Some of the best woods to turn include but not limited to; Figured Maple, Boxelder, Pacific Madrone, Spalted Maple, Quartersawn Sycamore, Live Oak Root, Padauk, Bradford Pear, and Osage Orange, among many others.

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