Steady Rest for Wood Lathe

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Project by Jim Jakosh posted 05-25-2016 02:54 AM 4151 views 13 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this steady rest for the high school. After taking mine in several times to help contain some of their long and skinny projects, I decided they should have one at school all the time for safe turning. All the bolts are 3/8-16 socket head cap screws so I made a place to store the 5/16” Allen wrench so it always available. This will fit a 16” jet lathe with a 1 3/4” gap in the ways.

This is made from 1” Baltic birch plywood, steel arms and rollerblade wheels .

It is finished with clear enamel.

Cheers, Jim

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

28 comments so far

View doubleDD's profile


8598 posts in 2523 days

#1 posted 05-25-2016 03:36 AM

That’s a great design Jim. Nice of you to donate that rest to the H.S. This way they always have it. Safety first.

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

View BurlyBob's profile


6471 posts in 2745 days

#2 posted 05-25-2016 04:05 AM

Jim your just pretty freaking ingenious and that’s all I got to say on the matter!!

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2701 posts in 4164 days

#3 posted 05-25-2016 04:29 AM

Good looking rest Jim, nice design. You have those Elves working overtime again mate.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10696 posts in 4532 days

#4 posted 05-25-2016 04:59 AM

I thought that looked familiar…

Good for the school… They are so lucky to have such a GREAT teacher!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Cliff 's profile


1539 posts in 2204 days

#5 posted 05-25-2016 09:34 AM

Jim, that is great that the students have their own lathe steady. Certainly adds more safety to their spindle turning of skinny projects…..........Jim, I have never had experience using a lathe steady. But I can see the day coming when I will progress to attempting to use one.
From what I can see with a steady, it would seem that the central point between centres can’t change, but the thickness of the spindle determines the three point adjustment? I suppose just touching the round stock at three points but not pushing on the stock is how the steady performs? Also constant “tweaking ” as the wood get even more skinny and changes shape with the turning?

Great project Jim!!!!!!!!! Regards,


-- Cliff Australia : Snoring is good. It blows away all the Sawdust.

View Roger's profile


21010 posts in 3284 days

#6 posted 05-25-2016 12:10 PM

Nice one Jim. Harbor Freight is a good place to purchase wheels for something like this

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

View bushmaster's profile


3671 posts in 2762 days

#7 posted 05-25-2016 12:20 PM

Very nicely designed rest. I like the wider ring and extended areas for the slides, and making the arms from metal is a real plus. Opens up allot of possible projects on the lathe and I have never seen a school with one.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23197 posts in 3585 days

#8 posted 05-25-2016 12:39 PM

Thanks you all for the nice comments.

Hi Bob, I like to keep busy. I got done around 10:30 last night.Then I put the elves to bed!

Hi Cliff. I always set this up with the piece running and the part has to have a truly round section concentric with the centers. I slide up the wheel to just “kiss” the piece and start spinning and then lock it down. I do the bottom ones first and then the top one. The last time I used mine, the student had never been on the lathe before and had this 34” cane designed out on a piece of 1 1/4” maple stock. I had him stop on it until I ran home to get my rest and we had to be careful not to touch the piece too hard to push it out of center. He finished it very well and then made a walnut knob for the top.

Hi Brian, I can see you welding up a nice one for that new lathe of yours!!

Cheers, Jim

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

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3347 days

#9 posted 05-25-2016 01:29 PM

Jim, this looks like a great design for a steady rest. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Ivan's profile


14918 posts in 3347 days

#10 posted 05-25-2016 01:34 PM

You are excellent teacher- not only teching, you also make toolls and accessories for your students.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3814 days

#11 posted 05-25-2016 02:30 PM

Great looking and well built steady rest Jim. I made mine not long after I started turning and I was also new to woodworking at the time, but even though it is a bit clunky and certainly ugly compared with yours, it is still very useful, so I’m sure you will really enjoy yours. A very handy turning accessory!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23197 posts in 3585 days

#12 posted 05-25-2016 04:16 PM

Thanks Ivan and Mike. We will be using it on a project tomorrow! It fits the lathe nicely!

Cheers, Jim

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

View luv2learn's profile


2959 posts in 2783 days

#13 posted 05-25-2016 06:07 PM

Every time I see one of these, I say to myself, “I have got to build one”. Haven’t done it yet, but it is in my “favorites” to-do projects. Nicely done Jim.

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

View ZAGREB's profile


1239 posts in 2130 days

#14 posted 05-25-2016 07:01 PM

Jim,like luv2learn said it’s on my to do list but…today I made it and it’s “on your soul”
maybe it is not like yours but my steady rest work…
well done and I’m waiting another idea
thanks for sharing

-- bambi

View peteg's profile


4435 posts in 3303 days

#15 posted 05-25-2016 09:24 PM

Nice simple design Jim as well as strong looking, will get the job done real good

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

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