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Despite worries to the contrary, the new JET 1014I Mini's remain tough, smooth and a very good value, only now with indexing!
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JET 1014I Mini Lathes

Indexing comes to an old favorite

Text, photos and Video by Tom Hintz

Posted - 10-10-2007

Note: The JWL-1014I and JWL-1014VSI versions are identical in all respects other than the speed control and related pulleys. Everything else about them is identical so I will only note the differences in the speed control systems.

The JET 1014 series lathes have been the de facto standard in mini lathes for years. When JET announced an update to the 1014 series, many grew concerned because manufacturers often camouflage cost-saving feature or manufacturing cuts within a supposed update. Not so at JET. The new 1014I series remains untouched except for the addition of a 24-position indexing system. Everybody can take a deep breath and relax; all is right in the wood turning world.

Still an Old Friend

The super-smooth running spindle, with its 1X8 threads and #2 Morse taper made the jump to the new version unscathed.
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The JET 1014I mini lathes retain the solid cast iron foundation that made them a very stable favorite. The 10" swing and 14" between center capacities remain as well. Also tagging long to the new version are the high-end ball bearings in the headstock that make this an exceptionally smooth-running lathe, and a long lasting one as well.

The spindle features the popular 1 X 8 threading and #2 Morse taper that make these machines compatible with a huge range of accessories you have now or may want down the road. The JET 1014I comes with a four-wing drive spur that handles small and large work pieces easily. The tailstock ram also has the #2 Morse taper. A 3"-diameter, chrome plated handwheel on the outboard end of the spindle is a very useful touch.

Sliding Stuff

The taiilstock and tool rest base also remain unchanged, very functional and nearly bulletproof.
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The JET 1014I mini lathes continue to use their trusty cast iron tool rest base and tailstock body. Both are rigid and exceptionally durable for decades of trouble-free use. The tried and true cam-style locking levers actually secure the tool rest base and tailstock without having to pound on the lever!

A 6"-long tool rest is included as standard equipment. While this is a nice size for the mini lathe, the 5/8"-diameter post on the tool rest makes the base compatible with many accessory and aftermarket rests that might be more appropriate for special turning projects.

The tailstock ram has 2" of travel and is self-extracting. When the ram is retracted fully, whatever is in its Morse taper is released. A double row ball bearing live center with removable point is also standard equipment on the JET 1014I lathes.

Motor and Speed Controls

The smooth, dependable 6-step pulley system (left) returns on the standard 1014I. The 1014VSI variable speed model uses this electronics box (right) to house the controls and cover the lower pulley compartment.
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The JET JWL-1014I series lathes feature a 1/2HP TEFC (totally enclosed fan cooled) motor (115V only) that delivers its power smoothly and consistently. Mounted directly below the bed, the motor is out of the way but the belt tensioning levers remain easily accessible from the front.

The JWL-1014I uses a pair of six-step pulleys on the motor and spindle to achieve six distinct rpm settings that handle virtually any turning job. Changing among the 500, 840, 1240, 1800, 2630 and 3975-rpm settings is fast and tool free. Loosen the belt, move it to the new step position on the upper and lower pulleys and then tighten the belt.

The JWL-1014VSI combines a sophisticated electronic speed control with a three-position step pulley system. The electronic speed control dial offers infinite spindle speed variations within the (low) 500-1200 rpm, (medium) 1100-2600 rpm or (high) 1700-3900 rpm ranges developed by the three pulley positions. Changing pulley positions on the JWL-1014VSI model is done exactly s described for the JET 1014I lathe above.

Indexing

The indexing system is simple, tough and very easy to use. The push button/pin is in a good place and locks the spindle well.
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The big addition to the JET 1014I series mini lathes is the 24-position indexing. An especially nice feature of this indexing system is the simplicity of design. The indexing wheel is housed within the headstock and a simple, spring-loaded push button/pin engages that wheel to register the spindle.

The push button/pin can be used to temporarily lock the spindle to install or remove faceplates and chucks by just pushing it in and catching one of the indexing holes. That same pin can be screwed into the headstock housing to lock the spindle in any of the 24 positions for drilling precise hole patterns, fluting or other decorative work. This is a very nice, dependable indexing system.

Bed Extension

The 26" bed extension lets you expand the 1014I economically. the motor has plenty of power to turn the larger pieces.
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Because so many turners find themselves wanting to turn things that are longer than their lathe, JET offers a 26" bed extension. Like the lathe itself, the bed extension is all cast iron, accurately made and just a tough.

The bed extension mounts to existing holes in the lathe bed and even has a hanging clip that makes it easy to install when you are working alone. The mating end of the bed extension has setscrews below the mounting bolts that help get the machined surface aligned with the lathe. A pair of adjustable, rubber-tipped feet that both stabilize the machine and help align the extension to the lathe.

Stand

For those who want to use either JET 1014I mini lathe as a free standing unit, JET offers a well built stand. An equally well built extension kit for the stand accommodates a JET 1014I that has been fitted with the bed extension.

The JET stand for the 1014I Mini's, shown here with the extension kit to support the bed extension, is solid, stable and nice looking.
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The sand is made from heavy walled square steel tubing and hefty steel plate. The mounting pads that actually secure the lathe are adjustable so you can set the spindle centerline at a comfortable height for you. The wide-spread feet at each end have leveling feet with solid rubber tips that keep the assembly stable and help to dampen vibration.

In the Shop

One of the first things you notice when using a JET 1014I series lathe for the first time is how quiet and smooth they are. This quality carries over from the previous version because they didn't mess around with the foundation of this fine machine.

Changing speeds on either the JWL-1014I or JWL-1014VSI versions is easy. Relax the belt tension with the front-mounted motor controls, move the belt to the new pulley position through the upper and lower access doors and then re tension the belt. Despite claims to the contrary by some of the lazier among us, the process is harder to describe than it is to do.

See It Work

The VSI version adds the convenience of the infinitely adjustable electronic speed control that operates within three major speed ranges. Changing the belt on the three position stepped pulley remains necessary to move between the Low, Medium and High ranges. The JET 1014I continues to use the six position stepped pulley system. The VSI version uses the electronic control box, mounted on a hinge for the lower pulley access door.

Another nice thing about the JET minis is that the tool rest base and tailstock lock very easily. You don't have to lean on the handles or whack them with something to prevent movement.

The 1/2HP motor that comes on both the JWL-1014I and JWL-1014VSI versions has plenty of power. It didn't show any signs of strain even when turning a 38"-long 4X4 post. (The bed extension was installed) The TEFC (totally enclosed fan cooled) motor runs smooth and is surprisingly consistent unless you really bear down with a cutting tool far more than a rational person would. I have spent hours turning large pieces on my JET mini without a hint of overheating or distress from the motor, bearings or anything in the running gear.

JET didn't skimp on the included pieces during the update either. You get everything you need.
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The JET mini lathes have been a favorite of wood turners for years because they are remarkably tough, smooth running and surprisingly versatile. Their capacity makes them great for smaller projects like bottle stoppers, pens and ornamental objects but they can handle far more. I know lots of people who have turned hundreds of bowls, peppermills and other projects many people do not associate with the mini lathe. The JET 1014I mini lathes handle them all with ease.

Add the 26" bed extension and the capacity rivals that of many 12" and 14" "full sized" machines. Like the machines themselves, the JET stands are well built, solid and very stable.

Conclusions

Whether you are new to turning or a veteran wanting to expand your capabilities (or just the number of lathes you own....) the JET 1014I Mini lathes offer the capability, durability and versatility that has made them the industry leader for many years. Their compact size is great for smaller shops and their equally small price makes getting into turning easier on the pocketbook.

At this writing (10-10-2007) the JET 1014I carries a street price of $237.99 while the JET 1014VSI variable speed model is selling for $329.99. The legendary durability of the JET 1014I Mini Lathes means that you won't have to replace this machine any time soon. Most turners keep their JET 1014I Mini lathes even after they buy larger machines. Turning on the JET 1014I is just too much fun to pass up.

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