This has been a long time coming, but it's been well worth the weight. I starting scheming on getting a Precision Matthiews PM1236 Lathe back in March of 2009. I had just seen Todd Johnson's when visiting his shop. What a great machine! I thought it would be many years before I could get a machine of this caliber.
In the fall of 2010 I was contacted by the Greater Kansas City Pipe Club about making their Pipe of the Year. We eventually did that in 2011. The plan was to use the proceeds from this project to fund some major workshop improvements, with this lathe being the center piece. You can see more pics of the workshop here.
The Lathe was ordered in April of 2011. It was supposed to arrive in June. Well, June came and went, and no lathe. It finally made it to Quality Machine Tools in September. They finally shipped it in mid November. I set it up and tested it that first week and have been tooling it up this last month and used it heavily over the last few days. I'm very glad I bought it, and would buy it again. In a comparison with other Chinese imports I think it's at the top of the heap, and far less money than most.
If I had lots of money and could justify the cost I would have looked at American, UK, European, or Japanese lathes, but at nearly 10 times the cost those were not an option for me. And after exploring the possibilities I decided I don't have the time or expertise to get an older lathe and restore it. Short of that, or lucking into a very lightly used and well cared for Taiwanese Jet , I can't imagine anything that would make me any happier for what I had to spend.