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Build a professional quality stand that is stable, strong and heavy.
A good location it is as important as a good lathe.
As a professional turner, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a stand that is stable, strong and heavy, particularly for turning the bowl.
This meets all of these requirements and is better than many steel mounts, but is only made of plywood. Building your stand has another big advantage: you can customize its height.
Turning on a stand at the right height allows you to control your tools much easier and is also less tiring. Time to do it!
Create the parts
First determine the height and length of the stand (see “Sizing the stand” on page 57). This stand is designed for a person about 5 ′ 8 ″ tall and a 28 ″ long lathe with a 9 ″ axis above its base. (I built this particular stand for a Vicmarc VL100.) If necessary, adjust the cutting list to suit your height and the size of your lathe.
Most plywood parts consist of two pieces glued together, face to face. Cut the pieces for these slightly oversized parts (Fig. A, Parts A, D, E, F, G, H and J). Glue them together (Photo 1).
Cut the top interior (A) to the final size. Glue the edging on all four sides (B and C, Fig. A). Trim the edge flush with the inside.
The double splayed legs are the key to the stability of the base (Fig. B and C). Use your table saw or circular saw to cut the top and bottom ends of the legs at 5 ° (Photo 2). Before cutting each leg, make sure these corners lean the same way, not in opposite directions. Spread and cut the cones on the long sides of the legs (Photo 3).
Cut the guides (E, F and G) and shelves (H and J) to the final width. Cut the pieces to size, cutting the ends at 5 ° in opposite directions. (Leave the top shelf extra long for now, so you can adjust its position later if needed.) Also, cut the front and rear edges of the shelves and the top edges of the guides, at 5 °. On the bottom shelf, leave the front edge square. (Note that the lower front rail is not angled to follow the taper of the legs. It is set back so as not to hit the ankles.) Make the tool dividers (N) and attach them to the top shelf.
The fixing system
To make the joints, start by placing the bolt holes in the legs (Fig. C and D). Tilt the drill table 5 °, insert a 3/8 ″ bit into the chuck and drill the holes (Photo 4). Use a fence to make sure all holes are the same distance from the tapered edges of the legs. Reset the guide for the front lower guide holes.
Temporarily fasten the legs and all four rails together. Using a hand drill and the same 3/8 ″ bit, extend each bolt hole into its respective guide (Photo 5). Remove the base. If necessary, drill these holes deeper.
Draw the holes for the copper pipes that will hold the nuts directly from the holes you just drilled. First, draw a center line through each hole. Insert the 3/8 “bit. Adjust a sliding chamfer so that it is parallel to the bit (each hole can tilt at a slightly different angle). Place the chamfer adjacent to the center line of the hole and draw a line along the face of the binary (Photo 6). Mark the center of the copper pipe hole on this line (Fig.D).
Reset the drill table to 90 ° and drill the copper pipe holes through the guides using a 7/8 ″ Forstner bit (Photo 7).
Cut 1-1 / 2 “lengths of 3/4” id copper tubing (P) and tap each hole (Photo 8). Put the 3/8 “bit back into the drill. Push the bit into each hole in the bolt and drill the near side of each copper pipe.
Size your stand
“One size fits all” does not work for a lathe stand – its height should fit your height.
You will need two measurements to calculate the height of your stand. First, if you will be using a mat, put it on it. Bend your arm at the elbow to form a 90 ° angle. Measure the distance from the floor to your fingertips. Second, measure the distance from the center of the lathe spindle to the bottom of the lathe base. Subtract this distance from your hand height – this is the ideal height for your stand.
The length of the support depends on more than just the length of the lathe. You will need enough space on the left end of the stand so your feet don’t hit his leg. When you’re calculating the size of your stand, drop an imaginary plumb line from the face of the spindle to the floor. Leave approximately 10 ″ between the plumb line and the inside face of the leg.
Assemble the stand
Drill holes through the top guides for the lag screws that secure the top. Lock the legs and all rails again. Insert a bolt into each hole. Slide a nut into the copper tube, hold it against the bolt with a flat blade screwdriver, and tighten the bolt.
Secure the shelves and feet (K) using countersunk wood screws. The exact location of the top shelf will depend on the length of the motor drive belt. Once you have determined the correct height of the top shelf, cut it to size. To secure the top shelf, mark its location, then flip the base over. The shelf will remain stationary because its ends are tapered. Run the screws through the legs and into the shelf.
Attach the top. Place your lathe on the stand. (If your lathe has a separate motor, place it on the top shelf where it will go. Line up the lathe pulley with the motor pulley.) Mark the lathe mounting holes. Mark the hole for the belt to pass through (Fig. A). Fix the motor to the motor mount (M) and fix the motor mount to the top shelf using the hinges.
Remove the lathe and cut out the tape passage hole. Drill holes for the suspension bolts that will secure the lathe to the stand. Install the suspension bolts and mount the lathe. Finally, screw in the knock-out bar holder (Q) and a hook for the key. Apply the finish if desired.
Special thanks to Bill Hull of Norman, OK, who helped me design my original stand over 20 years ago – it’s still going strong!
• Sixteen 3/8 “x 4” hex head bolts
• Six 1/4 “x 4-1 / 2” screws
• Sixteen 3/8 ″ flat washers
• Sixteen 3/8 ″ hex nuts
• Four 1/4 “x 1-1 / 2” suspension bolts
• Ten 1/4 ″ flat washers
• Four 1/4 ″ hex nuts
• A pair of 2-1 / 2 ″ butt hinges
• One piece of 3/4 “id x 24” copper tubing
• Three 3/4 ″ x 5 ‘x 5’ sheets of Baltic birch plywood
• Two bd. ft. hardwood
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