Router Lathe

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Project by Rob posted 01-20-2009 11:27 PM 52453 views 60 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Okay, first post and I’m already breaking the rules – it’s not a completed project but I thought some guys could appreciate the lathe idea. Sorry, but this project has been taking months. I keep picking up projects in-between. Got this years 160 hour flu at Christmas and that really slowed me down. Anyway, I bought a few sections of quartersawn heart-pine bowling alley that my wife wanted as a farm table. We’re using a trestle table design. However, the turned legs were a challenge – I don’t own a lathe, and even if I did, I’d probably kill myself trying to turn something this big the first time. Instead, I designed a router lathe and template system that allowed me to turn 2 matching legs for each end of the trestle base. The table is going to be over 100 inches long with the breadboard ends. My wife wanted the feet to be able to take a lot of abuse, as we have two small boys racing cars across the floor, or learning to help mom with the vaccuuming, so the base is made of laminated red and white oak, the columns are pine. The base will get a coat of red, then black paint with a waterborne acrylic clear coat. The column is hollow so I can bolt it together with the leg sitting in a huge round “mortise”. I hooked a drill up to the center shaft for the final sand, and used a bunch of cheap stop collars from Harbor Freight to keep the project centered so the template would be accurate. There was a template on both sides. Later on, I added a foot pedal so I could turn the drill on while keeping my hands on the router. I used a c clamp on the drill trigger to get the right speed – keep in mind it was a big Bosch hammer drill. I wouldn’t have tried it with anything smaller.
Dec 15, 2009 Update. 10 days to Christmas. Very, very close. Since I’m unemployed due to some layoffs, I think I can get it done. Still nervous about how to flatten the top – since I think the best way is going back and forth with a router on a sled on runners. The best is to have a cnc flatten it, but I don’t have access. Just need to muscle through it. The base is going to be painted black over a coat of red over a coat of gray, that way it will look antique as the paint gets rubbed / chipped off.

29 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8653 posts in 4986 days

#1 posted 01-20-2009 11:32 PM

brilliant! nicely done.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View puzzled's profile


72 posts in 5130 days

#2 posted 01-20-2009 11:41 PM

I second that comment!! Great Job!

-- -- Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of a woodturner.

View boyneskibum's profile


76 posts in 4808 days

#3 posted 01-20-2009 11:52 PM

That is pretty ingenious, I’d love to see some more pictures of this jig!

-- Always keep a stash of band-aids in your workshop!

View mtnwild's profile


4761 posts in 4865 days

#4 posted 01-20-2009 11:52 PM

Really nice work. Looks like a good solution, while keeping cost down.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5093 days

#5 posted 01-21-2009 12:07 AM

Agree with boyneskibum- would love to see more pix of the jig.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 5123 days

#6 posted 01-21-2009 12:32 AM

This one deserves a blog! Your idea is awesome. A favorite for sure.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 5244 days

#7 posted 01-21-2009 12:39 AM

What a great idea!...and you could probably create spirals as well…

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Rob's profile


15 posts in 4752 days

#8 posted 01-21-2009 01:26 AM

How do I add more pictures? Create a new project? Let’s not get too carried away. Creating spirals would be very difficult in this setup. You need to index the rotation and the rate of travel on the top carriage. In Bill Hybels book – router magic, he showed a router lathe at the end. It doesn’t look or function like this one. I needed something that could handle a heavy load, as well as had a good size distance from the center. This legs are 8” wide. I could probably create a blog on it, as there was quite a lot of learning in the process.

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 5092 days

#9 posted 01-21-2009 01:35 AM

If you want to add more pictures you will need to open up an account on Flicker or one of the like ilk and upload your pictures to it. You can from there use the forth button about left as you write and use it to embed the pics using the URI of the Pic from Flickr…easy after you’ve done it once or twice…

I do have to say your jig is quite ingenious….

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View DocK16's profile


1200 posts in 5425 days

#10 posted 01-21-2009 03:30 AM

Congradulations, you’ve just reinvented the Legacy Ornamental Mill.

View Rob's profile


15 posts in 4752 days

#11 posted 01-21-2009 03:39 AM

Thanks for all the positive feedback. I looked up the Legacy Ornamental Mill. Those are very nice. I built mine for about $20.00, but it really can’t cut spirals. However I did get mine on the cheap. Compared to $1,400 for their cheapest, I don’t know if SWMBO would have gone for that. Although, she’s been supportive of most of the tool purchases, and advised me if there is anything left of my annual bonus after I fence in the back yard, then I can get the SawStop contractors saw. I love my Ridgid contractor’s saw, plus I’ve got several awesome jigs I’ve custom made for it. It’ll be hard to let it go, but I can probably retool many of them.

View Brenton's profile


20 posts in 4800 days

#12 posted 01-21-2009 03:50 AM

I really like the jig, it’s inventive.
However, I have to ask , what’s with the monkey in your buddy icon (avatar).
And why is he wearing a shirt?

-- Here I post the good, for the rest has become firewood.

View Rob's profile


15 posts in 4752 days

#13 posted 01-21-2009 03:57 AM

Now that’s calling the kettle black. These guys don’t know what a hair ape you are. I got some pics of you somewhere around here that I use to scare the kids. Keep it nice or I’ll post them.

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4928 days

#14 posted 01-21-2009 04:06 AM

Great idea – thanks for sharing.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Dusty56's profile


11868 posts in 5026 days

#15 posted 01-21-2009 04:43 AM

this is great ! thanks for sharing this …I’m sure that somewhere down the line I’ll need to use something like it : ) Welcome to LJs !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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