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JET JWL 1221VS Wood Lathe Review

The JWL 1221VS is built as an advanced innovation lathe with very different and unique resolution to create ease and make turning simple. It is one of the 1221 twin series produced by JET with focus on improving turning experiences generally. It comes without the bell and whistles that make machines attractive superficially yet not enhance its function in any sense. This lathe is considered the most preferred small lathe for both medium and small sized woodwork piece turnings. With much focus in giving users total control, JET Lathe 1221VS is designed with a Revolution Per Minute (RPM) digital readout. It has an average speed that varies from 60-3600RPM.  According to JET, the model remains “different from anything that anybody has ever made before”. It is a very high-tech lathe machine with outstanding specifications that make it standout. JWL 1221 variable speed lathe is fast becoming the top choice for most professionals owing to certain features and specifications. It comes with an inbuilt switch for gear reversal and can be operated either forward or reverse without turning the device off. This highly innovative machine has all controls placed together on the right-hand corner of the lathe. Meaning that, the 600-3600 variable control, reverse and forward gear selector as well as the novel digital readout are positioned in one place. The product is made of cast-iron and has a bed width of about 170mm with possible bed extension of 560mm which supports upgrade. It is therefore a very easy to use lathe since it allows setting of desired speed needed for turning on the lathe. Most interestingly, when the machine experiences a fault, the lathe shows an error code.  The motor speed average range of this machine is designed to carry out a wide range of woodworks as possible. Apart from having a very high level of stability, reduced vibration and an advanced woodturning support, it also has a new ratchet belt tensioning system. The machine spindle stored in large bearings are drives a 730w motor through a belt and can be indexed at 15° with the use of a locking mechanism.

Looking for something slightly different we have wrote an article about the best Midi Wood Lathes which might be of interest to you.

JET JWL-1221VS Overall

The JET JWL-1221VS model have been manufactured with easy to locate controls located in just an area of the lathe.  The variable speed rate of the machine is controlled by a knob-like button providing regulation for the machine pace. The JET machine with 24 indexing positions has created more versatility for turners. The indexing head introduces new techniques and improves turning accuracy for detailed pattern works like finishing, drilling as well as grooving. Unique to this model is the patented ratchet style belt tension system helps in speed ranch control. This comes in handy when there is a need to move using a distinct speed range. The ratchet belt has three options for ranges being 60-900 RPM, 1,110 -1800 and 220-3600. These ranges allow a less stressful finishing during turning designs and contribute to enhancing work quality. Unlike other lathes before it, the JET JWL 1221VS lathe is bigger in size and much heavier having a banjo being more muscular. The bed and tailstock are wider; the tailstock quill having the capacity to read scales in both in inches and millimeters. The machine also contains an indexing pin alongside a spindle lock that make removal of threaded accessories easy. With the capacity to enable fast changing of belt, one can save quality time in the disassembling process of this lathe. Possessing a total dimension of about 32.8” x 14.6” x 21.2” allows the turner preserve space. This happens to be of the most distinguishing quality of the design. Among other accessories available is the face plates, tool rests, as well as a one drive and tailstock center. To add, since the bed is made of cast iron, the durability and reliability of the model remains a guarantee. Also, to weigh up to 129.8 lbs, the total performance level of the lathe is improved. Its reduced mass minimizes vibration when turning and as such enhances accuracy. It’s reduced sound when in used also contribute to minimized vibration. Other notable features include, 1HP motor (1Ph, 115V and 6A), 20.5″ being the distance between the centers, a spindle thread rating 1” / 8TPI, pre-loaded bearings, 1 x 3” faceplate, and 2 x tool rests. The 115v power outlet used in powering the lathe isn’t really fitting for the product as the lathe occasionally trips the breaker.


  • It consists a one-Horse power motor Power
  • Spindle Length – 20.5”
  • Headstock Spindle Size – 1” x 8 threads per inch
  • Spindle Interior Taper – MT2
  • Tailstock Quill Taper – MT2
  • Power Source – 115V Standard (grounded)
  • Recommended Circuit – 10 Amps.
  • Pulley Speeds – L (60-900 rpm) M (110-1800) H (220-3600)
  • Speed Range – 60-3600 R.P.M.
  • Index Positions – 24 (inside pulley compartment)
  • Max Swing or Bowl Diameter – 12”
  • Overall Size – 33.6” L x 11” W x 17.7”H
  • Weight – 137 pounds
  • Banjo Tool rest Inset – 5/8″



  • The lathe has an adjustable speed control knob for turning bowls at desired speed.
  • The lathe size remains very outstanding for both small to medium wood bowl turnings
  • JET JWL-1221VS is constructed to have reduced noise and vibration
  • An average of three torque range pulley settings easing bowl turnings.
  • It possesses a digital revolution per minute speed readout to check speed.
  • This novel product also has a compact footprint to improve its functionality.


  • The lathe’s forward and reverse switch isn’t specific; it is not unclear whether forward or reverse is in use.
  • Considering its diameter, the lathe won’t accommodate woodworks with larger-diameter bowls
  • All tool rack tools need to be removed first before the lathe pulleys can be accessed.
  • Tool thumb locks on tool rest and banjo could be sturdier.

Wrapping Up

The JET JWL-1221VS lathe is a new model wood lathe with revolutionary functionalities. It is versatility and uniqueness make it a lathe of choice for most professionals. Designed by JET, the wood lathe compromises of certain features that improves overall productivity and accuracy.