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What kind of turning do you plan on doing?
The Ridgid lathe is a tube bed, and is very limited. But it's tail stock has awesome grip.
If your looking to put out about 800 bucks, the Jet has been reviewed lately in a couple mags and has gotten editor choice.
I do mostly small turnings, no bowls or vases, so the Ridgid suits me just fine.
John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"http://www.woodys-workshop.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.woodys-workshop.com</a>
Although I don't have a lathe, a number of posts on other forums have recommended this HF as a good beginning tool. It's similar in construction to both Jet & Delta, but of course at a much lower price. Your "don't break the bank" didn't indicate where you were coming from, but this can be picked up now using the usual codes for $245 delivered. It also goes on sale every 3-4 months for below $200.
It has a solid cast bed which, from other posts, is one of the critical must-haves if you're going to remain satisfied with it after the initial honeymoon phase.
Last year, I had an immediate requirement for turning several long spindles (6 inch diameter X 6 foot length). Never letting an opportunity for a new toy go by, I started looking at lathes that could handle long spindles. Lots of them for megabucks. Settled on the Grizzly 1067. IMHO, the best bang for the buck. A little underpowered, but sufficient.