Designing and Making A Lathe Bench
I've used my JET VS mini / midi lathe for months with it just sitting on top of my woodworking bench. Have turned all kinds of stuff during that time, giving the lathe a pretty good workout. Have done a ton of spindle type stuff, some hollow vessels, a few "boxes" and even a small plate so NOW I have a pretty good idea of what I want a dedicated lathe bench to do - for the way I work with the lathe.
I don't do measured drawings when I make things. I do use an old Mac (last update - '93) "object" drawing program called Aldus SuperPaint (Aldus bought out by Adobe and most of their products, including SuperPaint scrapped). The program does let me do primitive drawings - to scale. I work out the basics of my idea in SuperPaint then "Build / Design As I go", constrained only by critical dimensions - how wide should this thing be, how far off the floor should the bench top be, what's the max & min depth.
I also try, whenever possible, to use joinery that can be dry fit and self supporting / aligning. They work nicely with the "Build / Design As I Go" approach because -
- I can "measure" what needs to fit a space directly from what I've got - using "slip sticks" - no tape to misread, no lines to cut to, no possibility of cutting on The Wrong Side of The Line, not even a line to draw.
- I can change my mind along the way, changing things to accomodate something I overlooked during the initial design phase. It's a lot easier to see a potential problem - and work out its solution - on The Real Thing. You'll see the advantages to this aproach as you go through what follows. May work for you too - or not. At least have a look and consider Build / Design As You Go.
You can get to any page of this project from here. So if you get lost, each page has a link back to this Table of Content. If you have comments, suggestions, questions etc., use the e-mall link below.
Table of Content
1.0 The Genesis, initial idea and "how tall?"
2.0 Deciding on How Deep
2.1. The "Measured Drahwring"
2.2 "Joinery" (leave room for future options)
3.0 The Sides and Top
3.1 Slip Sticks - measure, set up and cut - without a tape or a pencil
4.0 The Rear Torsion Box Stretchers - with Lead Shot-and Option for Extending
5.0 A Chip Ramp / Chute, Piano Hinge & a Conflict.
6.0 Poly and a little - very little Padouk
7.0 Tool Shelf - and a "challenge"
8.0 To the finish line - finally?
9.0 About all those lathe "accessories" . . .
Comments, Suggestions, Constructive Criticism e-mail me