Mastering woodturning on a lathe is both fun and exciting. Bolting the lathe solidly to a lathe stand will eliminate sliding and vibrating, and possibly prevent the lathe from flipping over while in use. Designing and building the right lathe stand can give you a safe place to work, while at the same time provide additional storage space for lathe tools and wood stock.
Types of Lathe Stands
There are several models of lathe stands on the market today. The same companies who manufacture the lathes make the most common metal lathe stands. However, most mini-lathes and midi-lathes usually sit on a table and must have custom lathe stands made. When using a mini-lathe or midi-lathe on a DIY lathe stand, bolt the lathe to the stand so it will not vibrate off.
The Lathe Stand Legs
A lathe stand must be solid and heavy in order not to slip and slide when in use. The basic stand is constructed from 2-inch by 6-inch boards. Cut the legs to the desired height. Each leg has a triangular notch in the bottom to make feet, which help keep the stand from vibrating. Join each pair of legs with two crosspieces; one is located just above the feet, and the other 1½ inches from the top of the legs. Lay concrete blocks on the bottom brace for additional weight. These crosspieces are also made of 2-inch by 6-inch boards.
The Lathe Stand Top
Cut two 2-inch-by-6-inch braces. The length of the braces will depend on the type of lathe housed on the stand. Next, cut the top of the lathe stand from ¾-inch hardwood plywood; the type of lathe housed on the lathe stand will determine the width and length of the top. Screw and glue the braces to the legs, then glue and screw the lathe stand top to the legs and let dry. Install the on/off switch for the lathe motor at the front of the lathe stand.
Attaching the Lathe Motor
When using a full-size lathe, screw the motor to a mounting board cut from ¾-inch plywood. Fasten the mounting board to the lathe stand top with butt hinges. Then mount the drive belt on the pulleys. Next, cut and install the tension pedal from 2-inch by 4-inch scrap wood. Connect a length of wire to the motor-mounting plate and the pedal. This will allow the wood turner to slacken the drive belt with foot pressure. Mount the rest of the lathe assembly to the other end of the lathe stand top and turn on the lathe for final adjustments.