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Lathe Placement in Your Shop

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Forum topic by Steinbierz posted 02-12-2020 02:02 PM 637 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Steinbierz

69 posts in 768 days


02-12-2020 02:02 PM

Hello,

I am currently working on setting up my shop and was wondering what different ways folks position their lathes. I have seen many pictures showing the lathe against a wall and, in most of the pictures, lathe tools hanging on the wall behind the lathe. Other pictures show the lathe a little more out in the room with a bench or full tool board behind the lathe. I am lucky that I have the room to go either route but wouldn’t mind hearing from folks about their workflow, access to tools/chucks, etc. I am new to wood turning so I have not yet developed my own workflow but would appreciate any thoughts from more seasoned turners. Thanks.


34 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1670 posts in 2362 days


#1 posted 02-12-2020 02:43 PM

One thing I found is never put a lathe lined up with a window. It’s not just to keep from breaking windows. The light coming in causes vision problems for me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. .
Put you lathe away from a wall. It will allow you to get a better cleanup, and if you drop something, you can get behind the lathe to retrieve it. It will also allow you to put in a dust collection hood if you go that route. You might also want to turn from the opposite side of the lathe if you don’t have reverse. That would be only for hard to get areas inside of closed forms. ........... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

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pottz

7910 posts in 1616 days


#2 posted 02-12-2020 03:01 PM

id say jerry has it right,i have a midi lathe on a bench against the wall but if i had a full size lathe id do what jerry said.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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MrUnix

7680 posts in 2830 days


#3 posted 02-12-2020 03:09 PM

I have one against a cedar covered wall on the front patio, one against the wall with a sliding glass door behind it (with cardboard between) on the back patio, one on a Black and Decker Workmate in the workshop that can be moved where needed, and another that is sitting on the return of a Steelcase metal desk in a spare room. I put them where I can, and space dictates those locations :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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ibewjon

1222 posts in 3425 days


#4 posted 02-12-2020 03:24 PM

My powermatic 90 is a large machine, so I tucked it into a corner, enough room on the right to remove the tailstock, and a foot off the wall behind it. The left is clear for outboard turning if I get that far, and a knock out bar. Tools on the walk behind and on the right end wall. Just enough room behind for dust collection.

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

4590 posts in 4366 days


#5 posted 02-12-2020 04:21 PM

Keeping your lathe tools on the wall behind your lathe is NOT such a good idea. You don’t want to reach over a spinning workpiece to grab a tool.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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jmartel

8730 posts in 2782 days


#6 posted 02-12-2020 04:26 PM

Mine is up against a wall, but I don’t really have the room for any other way at the moment. My tools are stored on the lathe or realistically I put them on my assembly table behind me. I have a drawer in the assembly table dedicated to chucks/other lathe accessories.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Steinbierz's profile

Steinbierz

69 posts in 768 days


#7 posted 02-12-2020 04:55 PM



One thing I found is never put a lathe lined up with a window. It s not just to keep from breaking windows. The light coming in causes vision problems for me, and I m sure I m not the only one. .
Put you lathe away from a wall. It will allow you to get a better cleanup, and if you drop something, you can get behind the lathe to retrieve it. It will also allow you to put in a dust collection hood if you go that route. You might also want to turn from the opposite side of the lathe if you don t have reverse. That would be only for hard to get areas inside of closed forms. ........... Jerry (in Tucson)

- Nubsnstubs

Jerry,

Thanks for the reply; what you say makes sense. Thinking about it some more, I hate to take up wall space that could be used for hanging tools, maybe shelves for tools, bowl blanks, etc. so will probably plan on having it away from the wall.

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Steinbierz

69 posts in 768 days


#8 posted 02-12-2020 05:00 PM


Keeping your lathe tools on the wall behind your lathe is NOT such a good idea. You don t want to reach over a spinning workpiece to grab a tool.

- poopiekat

Very valid comment but I hope that I would show better judgment than that…my wife might say otherwise though!

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

455 posts in 233 days


#9 posted 02-12-2020 05:07 PM

This was my first thought too. I would see disaster coming if someone were reach over with a shirt tail or apron coming in contact with …..

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TheDane

5740 posts in 4295 days


#10 posted 02-12-2020 05:43 PM

My lathe sits smack-dab in the middle of the shop with a tool cabinet next to it. I access to both sides, and can turn off the end of the lathe just by moving the rolling Husky cabinet.

FWIW, I wouldn’t consider putting it against a wall with the tools on the wall behind it … too much risk of clothing getting caught while reaching for a tool with the lathe running.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View mike02719's profile

mike02719

208 posts in 4418 days


#11 posted 02-12-2020 05:53 PM

I find myself in disagreement with a previous reply in that says keep the lathe away from a window. Mine was against a wall and I moved it in front of window to take advantage of the light. When near the wall, I never could get enough light on the turning. Turning in front of the window, natural light not only is better, it raises my spirit and I enjoy turning more. I have had many items fly off, none came near the window. Against the wall, I installed shelves for turning related items not needed while turning. Way off to the right, is tool storage away from spinning blanks. On the top shelf in back of the lathe, is my dust/shaving collection devices. Underneath the full size lathe, is a trash can which catches a tremendous amount of shavings that I do not have to pick up. Next to the trash can is the shop vac, my best friend, ready to collect dust/shavings or do a thorough clean up. There on the nearby walls are HF magnetic strips for small metal items frequently used. Sorry to be so long winded, once I got started, I could not stop. Like drinking beer and eating pretzels.

-- Mike, Massachusetts

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PBWilson1970

30 posts in 25 days


#12 posted 02-12-2020 05:55 PM

I was just wondering about this same situation as I am in the middle of moving my shop from the garage to a finished basement room.

Due to space limitations, against the wall seems like the best idea without overcrowding the shop space. I’m not a full-time turner so it really doesn’t warrant being in the spotlight.

I was thinking about storing my tools in the area towards the tailstock and not directly behind the lathe. I imagine it would get buried in shavings really quickly. With a bare wall behind the lathe, the chips will most likely hit it and fall to the floor where they can be swept and sucked up pretty easily.

The only thing I might add to the wall is an adjustable light and a fitting so that I can attach my dust collection hose to grab a bunch of sanding dust.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1222 posts in 3425 days


#13 posted 02-12-2020 06:51 PM

I am not turning spindles, so there is nothing to reach over to access tools. That end of the lathe is not used.

View Steinbierz's profile

Steinbierz

69 posts in 768 days


#14 posted 02-12-2020 06:57 PM

Another issue for me to consider is how to get power and DC to the lathe if in the middle of the floor. I am assuming that doing a drop from the ceiling (unistrut or similar) would work on the headstock side of the lathe. I know drops vs. extension cords on the floor have been debated often and I tend to fall in the ceiling drop camp.

View GaryCK's profile

GaryCK

79 posts in 681 days


#15 posted 02-13-2020 03:08 AM

I bought my first (benchtop midi) lathe last fall on a Black Friday deal and built a mobile workbench to hold it. It has room for the lathe on one side and the slow speed grinder for sharpening on the other. There are two wide drawers, one that holds lathe chisels and the other that holds mostly pen turning supplies, which has been most of my lathe work so far. The larger bottom cabinet space holds my face shield and some other larger supplies. The Oneway Wolverine sharpening jig slides next to or under the lathe when the bench is stored so it doesn’t stick so far out of the back as to be a pain.

This obviously doesn’t work well for a larger lathe and admittedly I’ve not turned anything that was incredibly off-balance to start with, so vibration may be an issue with the wheels in extreme cases, but they’ve held the bench very stable when locked with everything I’ve done so far. I’ve been quite pleased with how well it turned out and how useful it has been.

-- Gary, Wisconsin

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