Turning Porch Posts

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Project by Dan Katz posted 12-30-2012 04:10 AM 4823 views 7 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A couple of months ago I was commissioned to turn 9 porch posts for a restoration project in
Historic St. Elmo here in Chattanooga,TN.
The first thing I had to do was to lengthen my lathe bed. My shop was designed just for this.
The posts in line with my lathe are embeded in a 5’ x 6’ x 20” deep concrete slab.
The over head trolly system is built onto these posts.
I went to a steel shop and bought 2 – 4×8 x 1/2” angles 66” long ($300)
and had plates welded to the ends and drilled to match the bolt holes of the lathe.
With the 18” extension this gives me 9’ 6” between centers.
The blanks were glued up of popular and planed to just under 4 7/8” square.
First step is to create the pattern for the Vega duplicator. The design was modified from the original post.
Mark the location of the shoulders then align the duplicator and adjust the pattern. Saw inside these lines. Turn to round and cut the shoulders then rough out with the Vega. The duplicator does a good job of profiling the design. To dampen vibration I filled the cavity of the Vega with playsand.
Sharp tools and sandpaper finish the job.
Each post took about 6 hours to complete.
If anyone is interested, I am puting together a book with complete diagrams of my shop and lathe set up. Included will be several articles on millwork for the small shop. Check out my website for pictures of other projects.
Dan Katz
Chattanooga Millworks

-- VillageCarver,Chattanooga

14 comments so far

View bake's profile


387 posts in 4683 days

#1 posted 12-30-2012 04:32 AM

Wow, what a great set up. Beautiful job on the posts.

-- I love the smell of Home Depot in the morning, it smells like.......carpentry. Bake, Bar Lazy U Woodworks, Lehi,UT.

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4582 days

#2 posted 12-30-2012 04:43 AM

Wow Dan these are amazing.


View Ken90712's profile


17972 posts in 4194 days

#3 posted 12-30-2012 05:20 AM

That is so sweet! Wow just love it!!!!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 4107 days

#4 posted 12-30-2012 06:45 AM

Looks like you’ve done this type before and certainly know what your doing…........................

-- mike...............

View Dutchy's profile


3992 posts in 3174 days

#5 posted 12-30-2012 08:21 AM

*Beautiful Can you make a ship mast for my? :)


View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4242 days

#6 posted 12-30-2012 02:04 PM

You did a great job extending your lathe. Very impressive and the posts turned out looking fantastic.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Caleb James's profile

Caleb James

149 posts in 3935 days

#7 posted 12-30-2012 07:51 PM

View Julian's profile


1620 posts in 3696 days

#8 posted 12-30-2012 08:41 PM

That’s one monster lathe. Also, great website. Your carvings are beautiful.

-- Julian

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3695 days

#9 posted 12-31-2012 02:32 AM

Now that’s a serious turning project! Great job extending your lathe bed. And those columns turned out perfectly. I always wondered how those big columns were done.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View wrench's profile


320 posts in 3619 days

#10 posted 12-31-2012 04:37 AM

wow epic!

-- J Wrench Syracuse New York

View grosa's profile


1037 posts in 3834 days

#11 posted 12-31-2012 10:28 AM

That looks like a bunch of fun to me. I really like all the modifications you have made to your lath. Great job.

-- Have a great day.

View Dan Katz's profile

Dan Katz

96 posts in 3644 days

#12 posted 01-01-2013 09:21 PM

Thanks Guys,

One correction. The extension allows 8’ 6” between centers.


-- VillageCarver,Chattanooga

View Trevor Roth's profile

Trevor Roth

100 posts in 3111 days

#13 posted 01-07-2013 06:32 AM


View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 4126 days

#14 posted 02-03-2014 03:53 AM

Wow. Impressive

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

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