Sit down Lathe Stand

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Drcal

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Aug 3, 2009
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Tampa, Florida
I have been turning for many years and love it, don't want to give it up. However, I have developed some serious back problems (not from turning) and need to turn sitting down. I have considered springing for a $3000+ Oneway sit down lathe but I am also a very short (5 foot tall) woman and I am not sure it will work for me. Besides, before I shell out that much money, I want to be sure I can turn in a seated position. Therefore, I would like to mount a small lathe on a custom stand for sitting.

The internet has some limited resources. The only picture is from Hunt County Woodturners but I would like more ideas. If anyone has a sit-down lathe set up, I would love to see pictures, get advice, etc..

I absolutely LOVE turning and don't want to give it up.
Thanks.

Carmen
Tampa Bay
 
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southernclay

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Sep 6, 2013
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Dawsonville, GA
Would it be a possibility to use a stool to an elevated position? I know several folks have done that. If not I would think a modified bench could be built fairly reasonably. Hope it goes ok, sorry you are having to deal with back issues but sounds like you are a tough one which is good
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2013
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Childress, Texas
You could temporarily try a set of adjustable desk or table legs with a midi lathe. That way you could try different heights to find one that suit you. Then either continue using that setup or have one made to you specs.
 

stonepecker

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Oct 29, 2012
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central Minnesota
What type of lathe do you have?

I have seen a delta set up as a sitting lathe. I asked the gentleman how?
He had taken the delta stand and had cut it and rewelded it at 30 degrees. His comment was not to over tip the lathe. He had extra weight on the legs. He also had an adjustable stool and for him it work wonderfully. The height was adjustable however, it was NOT a simple matter.
I would guess that for each turner, it would have to be 'tuned' to what would be comfortable.
His last comment was that it could be set=up for someone who was in a wheelchair... with a little work.
What about talking to a machine shop?
 
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monophoto

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Mar 13, 2010
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Saratoga Springs, NY
I've come to appreciate the truth in the old saying that 'getting older ain't for sissies', but I'm not to the point of needing to sit down at my lathe (yet). But you are raising some very valid questions that we all need to think about, so any information you learn could eventually be useful to a lot of us.

The Robust "Indepencence" was designed specifically for sitting, and there are two interesting features in its design to consider. First, the 'feet' are splayed out so that there is more room in front of the lathe for the turner's chair. That strikes me as a very common sense thing to do.

The second feature is that the "Independence" is designed so that the lathe can be tilted toward the turner. My initial reaction is to consider that favorably, but on reflection, I would have to wonder if there are some downsides to that option.

There was a discussion a few weeks ago (I think on another board, but my memory is hazy - see above comment about getting older) that was started by a guy who is confined to a wheel chair. The description of his problem was a bit unclear, but if I really understood what he was saying, his lathe is tipped forward, and as a result, he is unable to use the full width of his tool rest. So while having the ability to tilt the lathe slightly could be helpful, it could also create some other issues.

The other thing I would wonder about is how helpful it would be to have a stand that offers adjustable height - so that the lathe could be raised or lowered as required by the specific task at hand. It might be possible to accomplish essentially the same thing by using a chair that had an adjustable height.
 

low_48

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Jul 1, 2004
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Peoria, IL, USA.
Hager Front-STAR.flv - YouTube

Vicmarc - Wood Lathes, Chucks, Jaws and Accessories -

Also a guy named Phil Miller from Wisconsin brought a stand to the Midwest Penturners Gathering 2 years ago. I can't find much on him now, except for a mention in a turning club newsletter. http://www.crwoodturner.com/files/newsletters/2012/crw2012-02.pdf

Here is a link I just found on Phil
http://iluv2turn.com/delta-lathe.html
And found this phone number on a 2011 post to WoodCentral
608-792-1497
2011 and 2012 time frame, but the home page on the iluv2turn site shows a lathe stand for the new Jet.
 
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SteveG

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Dec 21, 2009
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Eugene, Oregon 97404
I have been turning while seated for years due to bad back problems. My basic approach is to place a mini, and a midi lathe on a low bench that I built for this purpose, and I sit on a modified desk chair (back and arms removed). This chair offers easy height adjustment, and ease of rolling around, yet is plenty stable for all turning projects I desire to do...95% pens, plus a few small accessory items and occasional small vase. I would be happy to discuss details, so PM me and we can arrange to discuss further. You for sure can continue to enjoy turning, and it does no have to be overly expensive.
 

dogcatcher

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Jul 4, 2007
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TX, NM or on the road
For the last 14 years I have turned sitting on a stool. I can no longer stand, I need a cane and or a walker to get around. I lowered my lathe by sitting it on a old oak desk, the stool lets me stand if I need to, but also provides me with support to keep upright. Not really sitting on top of the stool sort of a combination of leaning and sitting on the stool. I stared with a taller stool and eventually cut off all 4 legs to fit my height to match the lathe height.

It was mostly trial and error coming up with my method, I had tried a chair with a lower lathe stand, it was "okay" by not what I felt was optimal for me. I added a height to the lathe stand, higher chair, and played with it until I had the stool and the stand coordinated. The combination between sitting and leaning on the stool allows me to rest my legs when I can no longer lean and still be at the same height.

Will my method work for you? I have no idea, but I hope it might give you some ideas to solve your problem.
 

Charlie_W

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Nov 16, 2011
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Sterling, VA USA
On the Robust Independance, you will notice the tailstock has a front control lock down handle and it looks like a tilt away tailstock. Also, the magnetic movable control box is a great safety feature as well as being convenient.
Good luck in your search.
 

kyaggie

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Feb 1, 2013
Messages
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Location
Versailles, KY
Because of my MS, I too sit while turning. I have my lathe (Jet 1014) on a workbench and I sit on a "saddle" stool (http://www.amazon.com/WorkSmart-Seating-Backless-Adjustment-35-Inch/dp/B00196NPUQ/ref=pd_sbs_op_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=102ACQ22FWZ2WMDV4GSH). The nice thing about the saddle stool is that it lets my legs hang down with no pressure on the back of my leg and with a wider stance. Also, because of the curvature of the seat, I can raise the seat height and still have my feet firmly on the ground.

Mike
 

Drcal

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Aug 3, 2009
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Tampa, Florida
Your suggestions are great! You have given me some great ideas. Thanks so much, guys.

Billspenfactory- I am interested in your chair because of the circular metal piece for your feet. Where is it from? I like your custom lathe set up...please see my question below. You may be able to help me.

Low 48- I have already contacted Phil about the lathe stand. I have a Delta midi so one of his stands may be perfect.

Another QUESTION---
I am still concerned about freight. I have my current stand up configuration so that the center is exacted at my elbow height. To do that seated, for me (I am 5'0" tall) that would mean that the lathe would almost be on the ground. Should I still use the elbow standard?

Again --thanks so much.
Carmen
 

low_48

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Peoria, IL, USA.
For me, the height of the lathe is set so I don't bend my back too much. I have to concentrate a little to make sure my knees are also slightly bent to reduce the fatigue in my back. You'll just have to experiment on the height while seated, but I think that elbow height will certainly be the best place to start.
 

SteveG

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Dec 21, 2009
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Eugene, Oregon 97404
It seems you have a good group of fellow turners here to help. You will soon be sitting-while-turning, hopefully without paying more than you need to. I read your last post (#14) and went to take some measurements. I have been sitting to turn for about 7 years, and have not felt the need to modify my original configuration. My seat height (adjustable...office chair w/o arms or back) is about 20 inches. The bench for the Delta 46-460 is 16" high and my elbow is on a level with the lathe center point. By using a special technique (some time referred to as "by guess and by golly", I think you would end up with your lathe sitting on a platform about 12" high and a desk chair at the lowest height setting. You can test-fit these dimensions without buying anything by trying some height configs with whatever you have on hand. One thing I appreciate is the chair on wheels. My legs are not in the way for spindle (including pen) turning. Also, I can roll up close to the lathe to hand sand with my legs sort of straddling the headstock end of the lathe while seated. That puts my body in the right position relative to the work, and deals with the issue of my legs/knees being in the way. I also have nearly everything needed for the turning/finishing process right in reach without getting up from the chair. This is something I have come to appreciate greatly. My concrete floor is a little rough, so I simply put down a ¼" thick sheet of tempered masonite on the floor, yielding nice smooth movement while cruising around that small area in front of the lathe on the desk chair (now stool). More and more details pop into mind as I consider your situation. You likely have a great deal of happy, sit-down turning ahead of you. If my experiences and comments help in any way, then I am happy! :biggrin: :highfive:
 

Drcal

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Aug 3, 2009
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Location
Tampa, Florida
More valuable info. Thanks SteveG. I do have 2 questions for you:

1- it sounds like you are saying that your lathe is square on its stand --- not titled at all. Is that correct? That would be great. I am a little uncomfortable with a titled lathe.

2- because your legs are between you and the lathe, doesn't the hunching over too reach the tool rest bother your back?

Thanks again for your help.
Carmen
 

ABzar

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Sep 9, 2014
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Location
Viljoenskroon
I would like to see pictures or plans of these clever solutions to my problem and frustration.
I will have to sit down and to keep on turning as I can not stand very long anymore.
 

nava1uni

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Mar 30, 2008
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San Francisco, CA, USA.
What about putting your lathe on one of those computer tables that can be raised and lowered by a motor. I have a friend that has several and the price of them has come down. You should check them out on the internet
 

PenPal

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Nov 29, 2006
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Canberra, A.C.T., Australia.
Hi Carmen, My wife is 5 1 1/2 I am 6 2. So our heights you and me are different.

I turn sitting down seated at a draughtsmans swivel stool with arms. I welded the lathe table put 1 1/4 inch reject top sheet with laminate on top. I use a Vic Marc vL150,previously and I still use the VL100 on this same bench moved to behind where I sit.

I built a stand for the bearing press I use to press my pens that sits at eye height.In other words I sit to turn and finish my pens.I can turn all day in comfort,sitting higher than the lathe. I diverted the drive through the back of the head stock to give me free space under the bench (table).

Cumbersome angled lathes are never for me,stick with a conventional lathe. Please see some pics when I was installing the VL150.

Some additional helps for me I made a 45 degree pen rest and I use it to the max it holds the chisels at the right angle for me.

I had a beaut friend who bought a large lathe ,he is wheelchair bound ,cost him a fortune for the angled stand etc,I would not swap him for my set up. This is my 85th year and I can stand but love being seated for twenty years now for penturning.PS I took the arms off the chair.

All the best Peter AKA PenPal.
 

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pshrynk

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Dec 6, 2017
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Lake City, Minnesota
Hi Carmen, My wife is 5 1 1/2 I am 6 2. So our heights you and me are different.

I turn sitting down seated at a draughtsmans swivel stool with arms. I welded the lathe table put 1 1/4 inch reject top sheet with laminate on top. I use a Vic Marc vL150,previously and I still use the VL100 on this same bench moved to behind where I sit.

I built a stand for the bearing press I use to press my pens that sits at eye height.In other words I sit to turn and finish my pens.I can turn all day in comfort,sitting higher than the lathe. I diverted the drive through the back of the head stock to give me free space under the bench (table).

Cumbersome angled lathes are never for me,stick with a conventional lathe. Please see some pics when I was installing the VL150.

Some additional helps for me I made a 45 degree pen rest and I use it to the max it holds the chisels at the right angle for me.

I had a beaut friend who bought a large lathe ,he is wheelchair bound ,cost him a fortune for the angled stand etc,I would not swap him for my set up. This is my 85th year and I can stand but love being seated for twenty years now for penturning.PS I took the arms off the chair.

All the best Peter AKA PenPal.
Looks like Peter isn't putting up with any $#!T from the pens with that press!
 

Karda

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Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
4
Location
Elmira New York
Hi, i am looking seriously at sitting myself. In another forum I belong to I saw a bench somebody made the length of his lathe. It is not totally sitting but most of your weight is on the bench and you side along the bench. This can be made to fit you. sorry I can't remember more
 

edman2

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Joined
Feb 2, 2007
Messages
1,352
Location
Greenbrier, AR. USA.
Here are a couple of photos of a sit down lathe in use at the VA Hospital in North Little Rock, AR. They started a pen turning program a few years ago and now have about a half dozen lathes that can be used while seated in a wheel chair. The stands were custom made for the hospital and the fellow that made them has since passed away. Might be an idea or two in those photos.


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