JET JWL-1221VS Wood Lathe Review

The JWL-1221VS model is one of two in the 1221 wood lathe series by JET. Unlike its sibling, this lathe focuses upon a core feature set up without the bells and whistles, focusing upon the aim to increase your overall turning experience.

If you don’t have too much time on your hands, don’t worry – we have you covered. Below, we’ve made a quick overview of the JET JWL-1221VS wood lathe review.

  • Weight of 129.8 lbs and dimensions of 32.8” x 14.6” x 21.2”, assists in reducing vibration and minimizing noise
  • JET’s exclusive patented ratchet belt tension system increases quality of finished objects
  • Control module holds variable speed option with a specifically designed speed range for optimal performance
  • Includes a wide set of additional accessories, such as tool rests, face plates and one drive and tailstock center
  • JWL-1221VS includes 24 integrated indexing positions for additional versatility

This model has been designed with one goal in mind, and that is to increase the control you have over your lathe.

Upon rollout, JET stated with their advertising that this model would be “different from anything that anybody has ever made before.

They believe they have created the perfect woodturning experience with this model, so it’s interesting to see if this can live up to the hype they have generated.

Specifications & Features

Firstly, let’s start with the specifications of this model. I’ve then picked three features, as well as three stand-out features later on in this guide. This should be able to assist you in your decision, especially if you’re still unsure on what you should be purchasing.

With that being said, let’s get into the specs.


  • Dimensions of 32.8” x 14.6” x 21.2”
  • Ratchet style belt tension system, that is unique to this model (patent pending)
  • Integrated spring-loaded lock into spindle
  • Cast iron bed and total weight of 129.8 lbs, and
  • Transitions made moving from forward to reverse are incredibly smooth

Cast Iron Bed & Dimensions

The bed is a complete cast iron, which gives durability and reliability to the model. Weighing at 129.8 lbs, this is also beneficial to the overall performance of the lathe.

The reason? Well, the mass of the JWL-1221VS in total reduced overall vibration when turning, increasing the accuracy and precision of your work. Not bad when it’s put that way, is it?

The JWL-1221VS is a tool that won’t be winning competitions for being the loudest in the workshop, as it’s relatively quiet when in use, in addition to minimizing the vibration holistically.

The dimensions of 32.8” x 14.6” x 21.2” allow for a fair amount of space to turn, which is also an added bonus to the overall design.

Adding to its versatility, the JWL1221VS won’t take up a massive amount of space in your workshop.

Smooth Forward To Reverse Transitions

In the form of a sliding switch located within a convenient location on the lathe, is the forward to reverse sliding option.

Many woodturners state that they have no use for these features however, I on the other hand, find them incredibly useful.

If you’ve used older lathes, you’d understand the difficulty of reversing when turning, and how clunky this technique could be.

The JWL1221VS will remove any bad experiences you’ve had, with a seamless transition from forward to reverse,

Especially if you’re undertaking an activity such as tapping a drilled hole in a workpiece, which would be a good reason to reverse the lathe spindle. This is exactly the situation that this feature is built for.

Conveniently Located Controls

One important factor you’d want to consider when turning a new project, is the accessibility of the controls.

Luckily, JET have covered this in the JWL-1221VS model that sees the controls located within the one area on the lathe.

The variable speed control option is in the form of a knob, providing added control over the pace. This lathe will notify you of the RPM currently maintained through its digital RPM readout, which has the forward and reverse sliding switch nearby.

The control module’s location on the lathe also protects you in case of an emergency when turning wood – meaning you won’t have to be near the rotating wood and risk further complications.

What’s Included?

With this model, it’s not only the wood lathe you’ll be receiving. JET have included a helpful addition of accessories to assist with your woodturning. The inclusions are as follows:

  • 1 x JET JWL-122VS Wood Lathe
  • 1 x 3” faceplate
  • 1 x 4 prong drive center, live tailstock center
  • 2 x tool rests

What Separates This Model From The Rest?

So we’ve had a close look into the specifications and some of the basic features of this lathe.

I’ve chosen an additional three features which place the JWL-1221VS head and shoulders above the opposition, as you’ll read in the next section of our review.

Variable Speed With Digital Control

This allows for speeds of 60 to 3600 RPM to be attained, which JET state are ‘optimally designed speed ranges’ for their users.

Changing of speeds using this variable speed function are made through a rotating knob, which will adjust the RPM to your will.

If you’re looking to use lower speeds for smaller pieces, you’ll be pleased to know that plenty of torque is still offered at lower speed settings.

Everyone wants some additional convenience when they’re working, don’t they? Luckily, JET have this covered with the digital control system. When adjusting speed, you’ll be able to constantly monitor the RPM thanks to this feature.

24 Integrated Indexing Positions

With 24 indexing positions, JET are looking to provide you with extra versatility when working on projects.

There are many new ways that this indexing head introduces new techniques, such as detailed pattern work like drilling and grooving, and improved accuracy in your turns.

Patented Ratchet Style Belt Tension System

It’s important to note that this ratchet-style belt tension system included on the JWL-1221VS exclusive to JET, with a patent currently pending. The position of the tension belt will only require change if you’re looking to move to a different range of speeds.

We looked into the variable speed options earlier, yet the belt has three ranges for these speed range, which are 60-900 RPM for Option 1, 110-1800 for Option 2, and 220-3600 for Option 3.

These options will allow for a smoother finish to your woodturning designs, enhancing the quality.

Anything that assists in improving quality is a tick in my books, do you agree?

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve had a deep dig into the JET JWL-1221VS wood lathe, your idea of the perfect lathe for your needs should be a little bit more clearer. With a handy set of standard features and additional accessories, it covers many qualities a woodturner would want.

I’d definitely recommend this if you’re looking for your first wood lathe, or for an upgrade on your current model.

Even more so, it would be a welcome addition to your growing tool and accessory inventory, especially as it caters for all experience levels and usage. You can’t go wrong if deciding to purchase this for your woodturning endeavors.

Yet, I would like to hear what your thoughts on this model are. Perhaps there’s a feature I’ve forgotten, or an experience with this lathe you’d like to share?

Feel free to share these thoughts in the comments below.

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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