Lathe Stand

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Project by EEngineer posted 07-04-2008 07:31 PM 15439 views 6 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few years ago my boss offered me a wood lathe that he was going to throw out. He had bought a (much) better lathe and just wanted this one gone. I had a lot of other woodworking tools but no lathe so I was glad to have it. It came mounted on a stand made from a couple of 2X10’s that just wasn’t sturdy enough for any real lathe work so it sat in my basement for a few years while I thought about a design for a lathe stand – not high on the priority list.

Earlier this year the company I work for started renovating. Over the course of a month of dumpster-diving I found : 1. a pair of heavy cast-iron legs with leveling feet 2. sections of a large bi-fold solid core door 16” X 84” X 2” 3. lots of pieces of oak veneer plywood – already stained and finished

So this is the end result. I built a frame to hold a set of drawers under the solid-core door. It is recessed about 1/2” into the door to act more or less like a torsion box to keep it from sagging or warping while suspended between the two legs. The frame and drawer fronts were all made from the recycled oak veneer plywood. Reclaimed oak trim from a previous salvage was cut to 3/4” and milled on my table saw to finish the edges of the plywood frame.

The only purchased parts were a 2’X4’ piece of 1/2” MDF and 3 sets of drawer slides for the drawers. Note that the drawers holding lathe tools have open bottoms. This is so that they can be left open while working and any chips will fall right through to the floor. With the solid-core door and two cast-iron legs this thing is heavy – no vibration at all while turning.

What timing! I just finished this last month and, when I saw the announcement for LJ’s Woodworking Awards, thought this project was just perfect for “One Man’s Junk”!


Well, it has been a few years now. I finished a couple of small projects on the lathe and found a few problems with this setup. The working height was not comfortable, the legs I “liberated” from the dumpster were not tall enough and they kept the lathe from fitting right up against the wall. In addition, the overall length of 82” used up too much wall space in my small shop.

I have been reorganizing my shop this summer and, in order to move the lathe into a more convenient corner, I figured it was time to build a new stand. I shortened the top by almost 20”, raised the lathe by about 6” to make a more convenient work height and added a storage shelf underneath the lathe.

I’m still cheap, though. Most of the wood for the new stand came from a waterbed that someone was throwing out. The feet on the stand are mahogany and came from a 4” X 4” board I reclaimed from a skid. A little stain, two coats of spar polyurethane and I think it came out pretty good.

The planes are just stored on the shelf temporarily. Next step is to build them their own cabinet!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

17 comments so far

View romansfivefive's profile


302 posts in 4828 days

#1 posted 07-04-2008 07:39 PM

i have so much respect for a man willing to admit he dumpster dives. A tip of the hat and a great looking project

-- The CNC machine can either produce the work of art you imagined, or very decorative firewood.

View lew's profile


13339 posts in 4811 days

#2 posted 07-04-2008 08:10 PM

Great drawer storage!


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

View dmann's profile


82 posts in 4862 days

#3 posted 07-04-2008 09:32 PM

Very nice, gives me some ideas for a much needed lathe stand. My small folding table is overdue for retirement!

-- David / Durham, NC

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 4759 days

#4 posted 07-04-2008 09:54 PM

Great job!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View kshipp's profile


179 posts in 4834 days

#5 posted 07-04-2008 11:08 PM

Excellent idea on the drawers. I can see how they would fill up fast if left open.

-- Kyle Shipp,

View tstrick72's profile


9 posts in 4673 days

#6 posted 07-04-2008 11:22 PM

Good job salvaging the materials for this project. The open bottom drawers is a great idea.

View Kipster's profile


1076 posts in 4808 days

#7 posted 07-04-2008 11:33 PM

Dumpster diving paid off real good, I think the drawers are the real genius in your design. Having the lathe tools that handy is a big bonus. Thanks for sharing.

-- Kip Northern Illinois ( If you don't know where your goin any road will take you there) George Harrison

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 5047 days

#8 posted 07-05-2008 12:04 AM

Very nice recycling work!

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 4788 days

#9 posted 07-05-2008 01:11 AM

Great salvage job! Love the bottless drawers, great idea to let the shavings go through! And boy does a lathe make a mess!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View blackcherry's profile


3345 posts in 4878 days

#10 posted 07-05-2008 01:38 AM

Now that’s a hot set-up…nice find and happy turning …Blkcherry

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4823 days

#11 posted 07-05-2008 01:56 PM

I love the storage drawers for your tools. Especially the bottomless drawer concept. Thank you for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5355 days

#12 posted 07-13-2008 05:47 PM

A great job of recycling, & I also like the bottomless drawer concept.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View PaBull's profile


969 posts in 4720 days

#13 posted 08-04-2008 09:06 PM

i like your open drawer system.

-- rhykenologist and plant grower

View Grumpy's profile


26811 posts in 4906 days

#14 posted 08-05-2008 12:41 AM

Great job. Good luck in the contest.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 4772 days

#15 posted 08-09-2008 01:56 PM

Great job!

-- jeanmarc manosque france

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