Lathe frame

The lathe frame will be 5 feet long so that “if” I decide to turn some table legs I won’t be restricted. Remember, some of this length will be taken up by the head and tail stocks. The cantilever design for the wheel consumes yet more of the usable length. Here are my initial plans for the lathe. Maybe I’ll digitise them sometime in the future so that I can do fancy things like inserting dimensions and colour things in. For the base, three 3 feet long 4-by-4s were glued to 5 feet long 2-by-4s using lap joints.

The uprights have tenons that insert into mortises in the base. The diagonal supports in the plan turned out not to be high enough to get the wheel off the floor in reality. I almost designed a separate frame to house the wheel, but then figured out that all I needed to do was increase the hight of the base – this was done by adding a short length of 4-by-4 to the rear of the frame. I glued them onto the base and put angled dowels into them for good measure. You can see the angle of the dowel on the rear support in the picture below before I trimmed it to size.

Another deviation from my original plan is the use of 4-by-4 rather than 2-by-4 on the diagonal supports. I figured the cantilevered wheel could use all the support I can give it. Sawing tenons on the angled ends was a new challenge for me. I clamped each diagonal to its base and upright counterpart in order to draw on the tenon cheek angles. The rest was a case of using a square and a ruler to finish the marking. I bored out the mortises with a bit and brace and cleaned up the holes with a 1/2″ chisel. The final results are not awesome. There are a lot of gaps but the joints are structurally sound. I was worried that if I altered the cheeks at this point, the length of the board would change. I guess I need to do a lot more of these in the future and work on getting them right.

The last thing was to install the lathe rails using some 1/2″ bolts. This lathe is not intended to be portable, and my initial thought was to glue or dowel the rails in place. On second thought, I figured the rails might take some punishment from the tail stock wedge and general turning mishaps. So I decided bolts would allow the rails to be replaced in time if needs be.

Now the lathe is taking shape and it is time to work on installing the wheel!

[***See the completed treadle lathe in this video, and read the entire build series through this link***]


3 thoughts on “Lathe frame

  1. Looking good! So many of my tools I started with a small or medium size before stepping up to the big stuff. Nice to see you just skipped this step and went right for gigantic – no builders remorse in the future. Hopefully it’s being built in place because that doesn’t look like it’s going to be something you can just pull out of a corner when you want to use it.

  2. I thought I wouldn’t be building too many of these and so I didn’t want one that was too limiting! It is being built in place, and the wheel is removable to make it easier to move around if needs be.

    I too made mistakes with getting small tools first. You can see in the pictures that I am using a small ryoba saw that is intended for small work rather than large frames. Making the tenons was a lot of work – I’ll have to find a larger saw sometime soon…

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