How would you elevate your lathe

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MDWine

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I'm looking for ideas.

The lathe is a JET 1236.
(see pic here: https://www.homedepot.com/p/JET-12-in-x-36-in-Variable-Speed-Woodworking-Lathe-with-Legs-708352/204024413)

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?
 
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monophoto

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Michael

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.
 
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jjjaworski

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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

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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.
 

leehljp

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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.
 

Rifleman1776

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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

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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..
 

magpens

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I would suggest that you consider inserting a wood platform between the lathe and the legs.

You could keep the platform to the width of the lathe bed, or you could get creative and make it so that you can use it to put things on. . You'd have to design it so that you can get as close to the lathe as you want to be.

I think you could also mount the lathe on a work bench of appropriate height and discard the legs altogether.
 

JimB

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You need to consider what you are going to be turning. If you plan to turn bowls from out of round, out of balance pieces you need to be aware of the vibration and that the lathe will try to 'walk' so you need something more than just 4x4 under the legs because it may try to 'walk' off them. In the link, one of the pictures shows a large piece of wood mounted that is out of balance. That piece would cause a lot of vibration and possibly walk the lathe. That lathe is not very heavy and the slowest it goes is 550 rpm. Both those factors will contribute to vibration and walking.

If you use wood under the legs use 2x6, stack them and fasten them together. Drill a small recess for the legs to go into. This will reduce the possibility of the lathe walking and falling off the wood risers. Also add a stretcher between the lathe legs and add weight as mentioned by someone else.
 

tomas

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Rio Rancho, NM
I'm looking for ideas.

The lathe is a JET 1236.
(see pic here: https://www.homedepot.com/p/JET-12-in-x-36-in-Variable-Speed-Woodworking-Lathe-with-Legs-708352/204024413)

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?
I have the same lathe and I am 6'2", on a good day. The legs on the lathe are very secure and I would do what Lee suggested and use doubled 2x6's front to back. This shouldn't cause any instability. I've been thinking of doing this myself when I build my new shop.

Tomas
 

cleve

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Dawson Creek BC
I just put 6 inch wheels under my nova 20-24 lathe , I have a small shop and need to move the tool I'm using to the middle of the shop (garage) . I made the brackets and base out of 4 inch angle iron and the 2 wheels under the motor end swivel and the other end they are stationary. I used the bolt holes in the bottom of the legs to attach them to the angle iron . If I knew how to attach pictures here I would show you . All it did for me was raise the lathe 1/4 inch and with the wheels locked it doesn't move and I have had no more vibration than when the lathe sat on the floor . it might be even better because the wheels are solid rubber .
 

MDWine

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Thanks for all the replies, it is very much appreciated.
This is a pretty large lathe, so the table top solutions don't really apply. I am definitlely not going to rebuild legs and such, that is just too much.

I think the 4x4 solution seems to be the workable scenario at this point.
I plan to bevel the front/rear corners (just for appearance, maybe a bit of clearance) and sit the adjustable feet into recesses. I like the "rubber under" idea too, and will look for some of appropriate thickness.

The stretcher I had in mind would be fit into a notch on either end to elevate the stretcher up from the floor... easy cleanup etc.

I like the idea of keeping the floor under the lathe clear, versus using a platform box to elevate it. I fear I would bump my toes regularly, which would just ... well... I would not like that.

Funny thing is that I am attracted to smaller turnings, and this lathe is a full size lathe. I have the option to turn larger bowls and such, and long table legs. So far the ornamental birdhouses and numerous pens is all that I have turned. Maybe I should consider a smaller lathe... but not now.

Again, thanks for the input. It did help tremendously!
 

monophoto

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Saratoga Springs, NY
you need to be aware of the vibration and that the lathe will try to 'walk' so you need something more than just 4x4 under the legs because it may try to 'walk' off them.
Yes - vibration is an issue. But a critical point that has been included in several suggestions is that whatever form the elevation takes should be bolted to the lathe so that the lathe cannot 'walk' off the risers.

"I like the "rubber under" idea too, and will look for some of appropriate thickness."

Harbor Freight has some recycled rubber pads that are about 1/2" thick. I would be inclined to consider sacrificing a pad to create some rubber feet to go under the riser. Just be sure to attach the feet to the riser - polyurethane glue seems to adhere to the rubber pads very well (DAMHIKT).
 

Charlie_W

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Michael, Instead of raising the lathe, we could shorten you!:eek::biggrin:

Have you thought about whether a tall stool would work for you?
 

MDWine

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Michael, Instead of raising the lathe, we could shorten you!:eek::biggrin:
After all the pain I went thru with my knee the last two months, I would not have minded being shorter!!

I actually had not considered the stool, I do have one. Given that my direction is toward smaller pieces, that may not be too bad. I'll have to give that a try.

Thanks Charlie!!
 
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