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MDWine 05-02-2018 09:44 AM

How would you elevate your lathe
I'm looking for ideas.

The lathe is a JET 1236.
(see pic here:

My idea is to use 2 4x4's on each end to support the legs. I'd then use 1 or 2 2x4's between as (a) stretcher(s) to keep things from shifting.

I've seen another idea of building a platform for the lathe to stand on, but I don't like the idea of having that "step" in front of me. It would prevent me from getting close.

I did a bit of poking around to prevent a 'frivolous" post, but it seems there is little discussion about how to accomplish the task.

Ideas? Pictures? Comments?

monophoto 05-02-2018 10:23 AM


My lathe sits on a table that was made from the base from an old gas grill - four legs, with wheels on two legs so that I can (in theory) lift one end and roll it around.

The top of the table was made from 2x6's edge jointed with biscuits and glued to form a solid top. I then put short lengths of 2x4s across the 2x6's at the point where the the top would attach to the legs. They serve two purposes - the reinforce the top to assure that the 2x6's never separate, and also provide an additional 1.5" lift at the legs. Then, I put two additional 2x4's on top of the 2x6's directly underneath the 'feet' of the lathe to provide additional height. And everything is firmly bolted together so that everything moves together. The result is that the axis is of the lathe is close (enough) to my elbow height for comfort. It's still a bit wobbly (the grill base was designed to carry weight, but doesn't have a lot of lateral rigidity), but that's only an issue if I'm turning an unbalanced piece.

Are you getting the stand shown in the picture with your lathe? I presume that you are a 'tall dude' and are concerned that the standard height is too low. My suggestions would be to consider a couple of things:
1. Is it possible to use longer bolts at the point where the bedways attach to the legs? If so, could you insert risers at that point? I'm thinking one (and perhaps two) thicknesses of 2x6 for an increase in elevation of 1.5 or 3". That would be pretty secure/rigid.
2. You could also construct risers from one (or two) thicknesses of 2x6 lumber that fit under the feet of the lathe. I presume you could run some carriage bolts through the feet to keep the risers in place. I would run them front-to-back rather than side-to-side so that you don't have something that your feet would bump into under the lathe. The one concern with putting wood risers in at that point is that wood on concrete is a bad combination, so if you are going to be putting the lathe on a concrete floor, I would think you would want to use treated lumber to construct those risers.
3. If necessary, you could use a combination of these two approaches for a total increase in elevation of as much as 6".

The limit would be that if you add too much height, you could end up with a 'top-heavy' arrangement that could be a bit 'tippy' in the event of a catch or if you are turning a piece that isn't balanced. For that reason, you probably don't want to add any more incremental elevation that is necessary. Also, this model is 3/4hp - more horsepower means more torque which aggravates this problem.

If tippiness is a concern, another thing to consider is putting a shelf on those brackets on the leg, and laying in some weight - a couple of bags of ready-mix would add a lot of stability and make up for any tippiness that the additional height might create.

jjjaworski 05-02-2018 11:09 AM

You could use a couple of 4 by 4 's to connect legs front to back and add a stretcher in the middle.

It would hinder clean up though.

It might be better to construct a box that would be the size of the footprint of the lathe with a plywood top and bottom that could be filled with sand .

We did this where I work on a Vega lathe because it was walking all over the place. Lag bolting it to the weighted base helped but it is still a piece of crap as far as a lathe goes.

Crayman 05-02-2018 11:27 AM

I have an old set of Rockwell lathe legs I got from a scrap yard, they were short for me, so i bolted a 2x8 to the top of legs, then add a second 2 x 8 on to of that with cut up 2 x 8 spacers to raise the lathe up. This gives me a second area to lay tools between the 2 x 8's.

dpstudios 05-02-2018 01:22 PM

This is what I use. My Jet mini and my Delta midi fit at the perfect height for me (6' tall).

leehljp 05-02-2018 01:31 PM

I used an older (not soft pine) 2x6 doubled on each end for mine. Raised it about 3 inches. I did the doubled 2x6 so that I could recess the bolt and washer on each leg so that the bolt was not touching the floor.

I'm not home to measure but I think I made the boards to extend out about 6 inches to the back side and about 3 inches to the front side and then beveled the front side and rounded the edges with a round over bit on the router. I did not use or see the need for a stretcher from one end to the other so that I could clean up easier.

randyrls 05-02-2018 02:26 PM

OOPS, never mind...

PenPal 05-02-2018 04:28 PM

I prefer steel from a scrap yard welded by me for lathe mounting.Also prefer to be over the lathe rather than elbow height.


Rifleman1776 05-02-2018 04:56 PM

My old lathe I just used 4x4s about 4" long and set the legs on them. Never a problem with shifting. BTW, on that one and my current I put small pieces of truck inner tube under the legs. That prevents some vibrating and makes things, at least, feel like it is running smoother than when in direct contact with the concrete floor.

BRobbins629 05-02-2018 08:00 PM

It can get a little pricey, but I made a table for my CNC from 80/20 aluminum extrusions. Many ways to connect, very versatile but the connectors can be costly. If cost was not object, it would definitely be my choice. Their web site has many configuration examples. I use the 1.5” square, but other options may also work. A few other companies also sell the extrusions and fittings. You can order cut lengths or long ones. I have no trouble cutting with carbide blade on my table saw..

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