Handscrew Bungee Mini Lathe

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Project by swirt posted 09-13-2010 07:56 PM 6246 views 18 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few weeks ago I built my full size bungee lathe based on 2×4s and a couple of pipe clamps. I had two competing ideas in my head when I chose to build the larger one. The other idea kept nagging at me. So even though I didn’t need a mini-lathe, I couldn’t put the idea out of my head…. I had to build it.

So the benchtop mini-lathe was born. Using a 12” handscrew (as the head and tail stock), a couple of bolts (as the dead centers), a 12” barn spike (as the tool rest) and a pair of F-clamps (to keep it in place). The treadle and bungee setup are the same one I used in my full size bungee lathe

It works as well as the first bungee lathe, but is faster to set up and takes up less space. The only drawback is that it is limited to ~ 7.5” length and a little over 5” swing.

It can be made with either a fixed tool rest w/adjustable centers, OR fixed centers w/adjustable tool rest.

And best of all. When it is not being used as a lathe, the handscrew clamp goes right back into active duty as a clamp.

As always you can find the full build details and more images about the bungee handscrew mini-lathe on my website.

-- Galootish log blog,

19 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24656 posts in 5137 days

#1 posted 09-13-2010 08:19 PM

Very clever!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Paul's profile


226 posts in 4914 days

#2 posted 09-13-2010 08:47 PM

Nice Job

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4551 days

#3 posted 09-13-2010 10:11 PM

I love it! Clever.
This is one to bring in the toolbox.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View swirt's profile


7693 posts in 4434 days

#4 posted 09-13-2010 10:25 PM

LOL As I was writing this, I was thinking to myself that Mafe is going to be bringing one of these to France with him. Now you just have to come up with a clever way to talk girlfriend into letting you string a bungee from her ceiling ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 4342 days

#5 posted 09-14-2010 12:47 AM

All you need is a flywheel for torque!

Neat idea!

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View Bricofleur's profile


1483 posts in 4655 days

#6 posted 09-14-2010 04:03 AM

Well thought! So simple and effective. Do you have lots of black outs in your area? (LOL)

This is good inspiration. Thanks for posting.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4520 days

#7 posted 09-14-2010 05:57 AM

As usual, a pretty inovative solution. Very cool.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4699 days

#8 posted 09-14-2010 01:26 PM

All you need is a flywheel for torque! – And hook up an electric drill for power…

-- Hal, Tennessee

View swirt's profile


7693 posts in 4434 days

#9 posted 09-14-2010 03:26 PM

I wouldn’t want to go noising it up with electricity. ;)
There is something very hypnotic about the sound it makes. Once the wood is round, and you get the right rhythm, it sounds like a big cat purring. It’s one of the coolest things I like about the spring lathes. For anyone that has found hand planing relaxing, spring turning is the same kind of experience.

Torque is rarely a problem. A change in foot placement and you can generate a lot of torque. The nice feature of a spring lathe is that the torque varies on its own based on the size of the piece. A large diameter piece only makes a few rotations with each pump, but generates a lot of torque. As the piece gets smaller, the number rotations goes up and the torque, no longer needed, drops off.

A flywheel could be fun but takes up a lot of room and also increases the danger fairly dramatically. With it configured like it is, I can have my toddler son in the shop or even turning with me. A flywheel would make that too risky. The way it is now, the lathe has built in lathe-stop technology (patent pending) :)

-- Galootish log blog,

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4402 days

#10 posted 09-14-2010 10:20 PM

Ah heck, I’m just gonna have to try this! Need some chisel handles any way. Good on you swirt!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 4753 days

#11 posted 09-14-2010 11:39 PM

I don’t think a flywheel would be appropriate on a lathe that goes back and forth like this. It would just make it harder to use (all that stopping, changing direction, stopping, etc.). Now, a lathe that only spins one direction, that’s where a flywheel helps.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View David65's profile


190 posts in 4747 days

#12 posted 09-15-2010 04:30 AM

very nice can’t wait to see a project off of it…

-- David '65

View swirt's profile


7693 posts in 4434 days

#13 posted 09-15-2010 04:47 AM

For anyone contemplating the flywheel, JJohnston is right. The flywheel would need its own axle and would be connected only indirectly to the spindle by a cord.

-- Galootish log blog,

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 5248 days

#14 posted 08-30-2011 02:53 PM

Cant beleive I missed this one. Totally cool.

View Bertha's profile


13635 posts in 4155 days

#15 posted 08-30-2011 02:54 PM

My favorite project in a long time. Totally awesome.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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