Shop-Made Wood Turning Lathe

(Update) OK, I'm officially shocked.  Blogger just added the ability to view the stats on my blogs and to my surprise THIS post is the most viewed post on my blog!  I mean, considering that this post was made with no care of thought whatsoever, just imagine what the better posts look like!  So, it looks like with so many people interested in this topic that I need to do some drawings with measurements for y'all.  I'll see what I can do.  Scott

Here's one of two lathes I made one weekend when we had two surprise students show-up for a turning class. As it was we had 8 lathes in the shop, and at the last minute on Friday evening we received a call saying that these two extra students were in their car and were already half way from Chicago to attend our lathe class in the morning! There was no way to get my hands on two lathes by morning, so I built two of these that evening from parts I had in my home shop. Looking back on this I can’t believe it either! I was way too young and stupid to know that this couldn’t be done!

The good news is they worked very well. They were clamped to a bench, with the motor mounted on a board and clamped to the back edge of the bench. The belt was ridiculously long because it’s what I had on hand.

I used a 5/8" steel rod for the spindle, and to this I was able to mount standard Shopsmith accessories. These lathes worked so well that several of my students asked if they could take a turn on them (pun intended), and several of them took measurements before they left the class.


  1. 12, 2008 at 3:16 PM

    wow finally i found this! is great i want it!! :D i'll try build one xD

  2. Is there a way to get some rough measurements from you for this lathe?

  3. Is it just made from 2x4's and 2x6's? Can you post dimensions? Thanks. - Dave

  4. Yes, it's just 2X timber. I'll see what I can do. Scott


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