HF lathe...suggestions on base support

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by BB1 posted 03-06-2016 12:50 PM 1216 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BB1's profile


1877 posts in 1816 days

03-06-2016 12:50 PM

Took the plunge and brought home the HF lathe yesterday (thanks for all the recommendations!). Only had time to put together the base stand and get a mdf shelf sized and sealed (so some weight can be added for stability). My question is – for those who own this unit – did you add anything at the bottom for support? Have been looking at how to utilize the predrilled holes in the leg bottoms with some sort of a wooden frame. Any suggestions are welcome!

15 replies so far

View thechipcarver's profile


229 posts in 2546 days

#1 posted 03-06-2016 01:01 PM

I don’t know which model you bought but I had this one:

All I did was put a couple of cinderblocks resting on each end of the leg supports and it was fine.

-- While teaching a class, a gentlemen once asked me: "When chip carving an intricate design, what do you do when you are almost finished and the wood breaks off?" I replied "Cover the kids ears."

View BB1's profile


1877 posts in 1816 days

#2 posted 03-06-2016 01:26 PM

thechipcarver – yes – that is exactly what we purchased. Thanks for the tip.

View OSU55's profile


2712 posts in 2958 days

#3 posted 03-06-2016 02:00 PM

Congrats! No comes clean up fun. 1st consider spindle centerline height. “Rule of thumb” from my research suggested placing the spindle centerline at the elbow pivot, which is where mine is. I would not want it lower, and 1” or 2 higher might be ok. 2nd, do you want it mobile or not so it can be moved? If more than one person is going to use it, you may need a platform for the shorter person if there is much height difference.

The lathe is a bit light and needs to be weighted down. It should be screwed down to any base, unless set directly on the floor, or it may “walk”. A 3/4” plywood shelf screwed down to the leg supports provides some storage room, adds rigidity to the stand, and a place to put weight. 50-100 lbs of bricks, cinder blocks, sand – I used steel stamping scrap from work taped up in a box. Whatever you use will be covered with chips.

Doesn’t all have to be done day one of turning it on. Just some things to consider.

View BB1's profile


1877 posts in 1816 days

#4 posted 03-06-2016 02:46 PM

OSU55 Thanks – excited to get it all assembled. Not planning to have it mobile and thankfully height will be basically the same for my husband and I so we just need to get it set. I had a piece of MDF that fit nicely on the leg support rails so once the sealer (i.e., glue) dries I am going to get that in place. May add a couple 2×2 at front and back to provide a lip so anything laid there (in addition to blocks/etc for weight) won’t end up rolling off.

View theoldfart's profile


12275 posts in 3419 days

#5 posted 03-06-2016 03:47 PM

BB1 look here. I have the same stand and this LJ came up with an excellent solution.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View JADobson's profile


1449 posts in 3079 days

#6 posted 03-06-2016 03:57 PM

I have the same lathe. The stand that come with it is fine if you are turning things that are mostly balanced or aren’t too big. I’ve been working on a kitchen table with solid 6” turned legs. When they first get mounted the lathe jumps around a lot. Same with unbalanced bowl blanks. I’ve got an old broken suitcase welder sitting on the shelf. That seems to keep it in place but I’ll be building a new stand for it soon.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View Wildwood's profile


2932 posts in 3103 days

#7 posted 03-06-2016 04:31 PM

Stamped steel stands do provide some reverberation so beefing it up won’t hurt. You can definitely beef up that stand with more iron or wood cross members and extra weight. How much or how little really depends upon what you are turning & lathe speed.

Even with extra bracing & weight can see some shaking/vibration going on with big heavy out of round pieces of wood until comes into balance.

Would start with just adding weight to shelf and see how that goes and work from there.

-- Bill

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 2388 days

#8 posted 03-06-2016 05:53 PM

BB, if you’re putting a shelf on the leg braces, & have the desire to make your lathe mobile, put your casters on before you add the ballast. Also, make sure two of your casters have the braking system on them to keep your lathe from moving while in use. As far as ballast, my first hf lathe I used sand bags. This new hf lathe we have is heavier built, & more sturdy on its stand. So far, I haven’t needed to add any ballast. My shop floor is a wood floor. Just my .02.

-- Sawdust703

View BB1's profile


1877 posts in 1816 days

#9 posted 03-06-2016 08:21 PM

Thanks so much for all the comments and suggestions. Like that storage system in the link provided. May look into putting something like that together (good spring break project!).

View BB1's profile


1877 posts in 1816 days

#10 posted 03-07-2016 03:05 AM

Upon further thought we are considering adding casters. Does anyone have suggestions on casters that you have used for heavy weight items like this? Saw these on sale but don’t know if they would be “enough” once some weights are added.

View SignWave's profile


472 posts in 4003 days

#11 posted 03-07-2016 04:52 AM

I wouldn’t use those casters with this lathe. They’re hard plastic and not robust at all.

-- Barry,

View OSU55's profile


2712 posts in 2958 days

#12 posted 03-07-2016 12:22 PM

You might look at a mobile base vs just casters. I have 4 of these with various tools mounted on them, including the lathe, where I have a 1-1/2” thick wood panel screwed down on top of the base, with the lathe screwed down to the panel. They have held up well, but nothing exceeds the 300 lb limit. The casters from Rockler should work ok. They are rated for 150 lb each, and you aren’t going to be doing laps around your shop with a lathe. Use a good solid wood base either way.

View Tennessee's profile (online now)


2904 posts in 3483 days

#13 posted 03-07-2016 12:27 PM

+1 for OSU
Having only casters, even with brakes, means the lathe is sitting on four very small footprints. Not enough to keep it in place when turning, in my mind.
At least the unit he suggests has two feet to lock down the unit. Somewhat better. You don’t need the thing walking with a ten pound piece of wood turning around at 1200RPM.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View BB1's profile


1877 posts in 1816 days

#14 posted 03-07-2016 01:23 PM

Once again – thanks to everyone for the comments (so glad I joined the LJ – so many people who are so willing to help). OSU55 – I think we will be headed back to Harbor Freight for the mobile base. Funny as that configuration matches what I had been thinking of trying with separate casters and levelers (although I hadn’t been able to figure out how to get everything to work together!). The HF unit looks like a reasonable option. As stated, this only needs to be able to “shift” around in our shop rather than rolling long distances.

View BB1's profile


1877 posts in 1816 days

#15 posted 03-10-2016 03:54 AM

Added a blog on our progress on getting our lathe set up. MUCH thanks for all the info and links.
Here is our stand in progress:

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics