Knock Down Storage for Under My Harbor Freight Lathe

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Blog entry by luv2learn posted 11-09-2013 10:18 PM 29939 reads 14 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Let me begin by saying that I am not a wood turner but I am curious. That being said, I bought a Central Machinery lathe sold by Harbor Freight (Item # 34706)

This particular lathe had a 4 out of 5 star rating so I took a chance realizing the old adage ”that you get what you pay for.” However, with a 25% off coupon and the lathe on sale I walked out the door with a $218.00 investment. Several of the raters comments were that this lathe needed some ballast so I set out to build storage within the confines of the stand hoping that by the time I filled the storage bins it would be enough weight to stabilize the lathe.

Since I always like to challenge myself and my skills I set a couple of goals for this build.
1. Everything had to be made entirely of wood, no screws, hinges, pins, etc.
2. The storage had to install and be removable with no tools other than my two hands. I don’t know why I decided to do this other than just for the challenge.
3. The storage had to fit within the confines of the stand’s legs.

So here we go:

First I had to assemble the lathe stand.

I wanted the lathe mobile so I set the stand on casters.

The slope of the stand legs are 11 degrees so the end door panels, drawers, and the back and front panels were all cut taking that into consideration.

Once the front, back and side panels were built I assembled them in the stand. First the back panel was installed.

Then the front panel.

Then the two end panels which lock the front and back panels in place.

The next step was to install the floor of the storage space. This consisted of three 2×6’s planed down to an 1 1/4”. The back and front pieces were cut at an 11 degree angle to accommodate the slope of the legs. These went in first and then the middle piece locked everything in place.

I built three interior partitions, the two outside partitions do double duty acting as the back wall of the two end storage spaces and as drawer guide spacers. The center partition acts as a drawer guide spacer for all four drawers. I glued in backer bars for the two end partitions to butt up against. To keep all the partitions in alignment I pinned them with 1/4” wooden dowels. All the partitions and drawers are routed to accommodate 1/2”x1/2” hardwood runners.

The drawers are funky looking because their front and backs are sloped to fit the stand profile which means I also had to cut the front and rear dadoes for the bottoms at an angle also. This was an easy task with the tilt feature on my router lift.

After making some drawer pulls it was time to install the drawers.

With the drawers installed it was time to put on the top which consists of three 2×4” planed down. The two outer pieces have 1/2” rabbits cut into three sides so that they will sit down in the framework and lock it in place. The center piece of the top has rabbits cut in both ends and once installed locks everything in place.

I built a tool tray to sit on top of the drawer unit. It just slides in and is locked in place with two cleats attached to its bottom.

Finally, I made a bottom shelf consisting of four 2×6s planed down and rabbited on the ends so they will sit between the caster supports.

I had intended to leave this shelf open so that I could add concrete block ballast if needed but I think I will enclose it to match the top. Perhaps this will be part two of this blog when I finish with it.

This was the challenge I thought that it might be but it was a fun build. Here are a few more misc. photos thanks for your interest.


-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

28 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile


6807 posts in 3721 days

#1 posted 11-09-2013 10:27 PM

You can make machine stands for me anytime!


I make shelves etc under all of the stands that there is way to make it usable on.

The tablesaw is without, my other shopa tools have extra storage under them.

The stand for the DeWalt 788 Scrollsaw works very well to add a shelf and extra. It is not nearly as nicely done as yours, but works well.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27696 posts in 4560 days

#2 posted 11-09-2013 11:10 PM

I love it. you’re a man after my own heart. I do the same thing with new machines becaause storage is so important in the shop so you can find things and protect them for damage.

you did a great job on that cabinet. it is a fine piece of furniture under that lathe.

I have looked at that lathe several times and almost bought it but the length did not fit my lathe station.

Does that tool tray slide out easily? it will be a chip catcher and need to emptied quite a bit.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8638 posts in 4807 days

#3 posted 11-09-2013 11:31 PM

That is one very fine good looking well though out cabinet build Lee. You continue to amaze me with your ideas. Maybe you should patent that and sell them. I couldn’t think of a more perfect solution for storage for a lath.
Great job on this two thumbs up my friend!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View MABFwTx's profile


25 posts in 3325 days

#4 posted 11-09-2013 11:34 PM

Once again nice work buddy.
Now you just need few hundred lbs of concrete on the bottom shelf.

View quicksilver's profile


195 posts in 4042 days

#5 posted 11-10-2013 12:18 AM

Great machine stand.
Don’t let anyone kid you, it is a real lathe with good medium range capabilities with variable speed (a plus).
Part numbers match up # for # with the Jet 1236 and sold in many countries under different names.
Only problem I’ve found is the headstock rotates and mating up with the tailstock can be fussy.
Projects like pens and spinning tops, you have to be OCD about it.
The top shelf could be made into a dust catcher and better with vacuum hookup.
Look for a sanding table here on LJ’s for ideas.
Would pull some of that dust away from your face. A pegboard top might be a start.
I built a 2 X 10 stand that bolts to the wall which was good but soon found the the light metal parts of the lathe
make a lot of noise when vibrating thus the medium range rating.
Don’t let any of this stop you, it will still turn a 10” bowl as long as you bandsaw it round and mount it well.
Have fun.
Makes great Christmas gifts.
Also, is addicting and a hog on your time.

-- Quicksilver

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4258 days

#6 posted 11-10-2013 12:21 AM

You could have got that for a lot less. I’ve seen that on sale for 149, plus if you had a 25% off coupon, you coulda saved a few bux. You still got a good deal. As long as the centers line up, yer good to go. Very nice solution for storage. I’d add a few bags of sand or mortar mix to help weight your table down. Have fun turning. It’s a lotta fun

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View luv2learn's profile


3158 posts in 3757 days

#7 posted 11-10-2013 12:30 AM

ralbuck, I have that model DeWalt scroll saw and I think I will have enough left over material to build storage under it as well. Is yours posted on LJs?

Jim, thanks for the kind words. Yes, the tool tray slides in and out but I built it a little to snug to say it does it easily, I think a little adjustment will fix that problem though. LOL

Tony, I thought about taking the idea to Harbor Freight but they would outsource it and sell us back the whole kit for a buck ninety nine LOL. Seriously, thanks for the kind words. The knock down process could be used for any stand.

Hey buddy Mike, that is why I left the bottom shelf open but I won’t be turning those big honking blocks of wood like you do :).

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View luv2learn's profile


3158 posts in 3757 days

#8 posted 11-10-2013 12:41 AM

Roger, you are right about the price but that was just for the lathe without the stand. I saw the lathe and stand listed separately a couple months ago but when I went to buy just the lathe last week Harbor Freight had it priced with the stand and they said I couldn’t buy just the lathe. I went to their website and they had changed it there too. I guess when you snooze you loose LOL.

quicksilver, I read somewhere that this was basically the same machine as the Jet you mentioned. I will be addressing the dust collection next. Thanks for your suggestions.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3747 days

#9 posted 11-10-2013 12:47 AM

Great looking cabinet and incredible design!!! Your ingenuity is second to none—absolutely impressive in the challenges you set for yourself and the way you meet each challenge. By using the drawer guide system you chose, you not only saved money but more importantly you added 1” to the interior width of each drawer over metal, ball bearing guides (which require 1/2” width for each guide). Great blog and photographs, thanks for sharing.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View luv2learn's profile


3158 posts in 3757 days

#10 posted 11-10-2013 12:58 AM

Thanks John, with such shallow drawers it really wasn’t practical to use ball bearing guides although I am a big fan of them. The hardwood guides work surprisingly smooth especially when waxed. And, you are right storage area is maxed using this method. Thanks for the kind words.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View theoldfart's profile


13129 posts in 3906 days

#11 posted 11-10-2013 01:03 AM

Lee, outstanding work and design. I have an old lathe but I need a stand so its on the to-do list.
BTW nice tag line.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View doubleDD's profile


11279 posts in 3498 days

#12 posted 11-10-2013 02:08 AM

I must say that is a fine job on building the storage. Great job. I built my storage with the idea of utilizing all the accessories as extra weight. Sure nice to have almost everything for it in on spot. Good luck turning, hope to see some projects soon.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View BusterB's profile


2365 posts in 3463 days

#13 posted 11-10-2013 02:11 AM

L2L- That is a hoss of a build buddy. I am not in the least bit surprised you could take a standard metal stand and turn it into a high end piece of shop equipment. Nice Build Lee. You sure you were not an engineer in some past life??? LOL I know, I know…you actually used your tools…

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View HuckD's profile


312 posts in 3169 days

#14 posted 11-10-2013 02:19 AM

Nice use of space…very innovative. Now show us what you’re turning. :)

-- Visit my Youtube Channel:

View luv2learn's profile


3158 posts in 3757 days

#15 posted 11-10-2013 02:21 AM

to theoldfart, Thanks for the kind words. BTW, back at you concerning your tag line. The Possum Lodge men’s prayer cracks my wife up every time she hears it.

Dave, I have been watching a lot of youtube turning videos to get some pointers.

Thanks for the encouraging words Buster. Actually I wanted to become an architect but wound up an Ironworker instead LOL.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

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