Homemade Woodworking Lathe




Introduction: Homemade Woodworking Lathe

About: I really like woodworking and Metalwork. I like to build just about anything that pops into my head. I like making Jigs that makes jobs easier and saves time.. I have a few videos on My Youtube Channel but...

This My Homemade Lathe I made Last year. It consists of An old drill press and Off cuts I had Leftover in the shop. Rails are from An Old louvre door some pine and for the rotating centre I used the bit/ collet end from an old router that was broke. I use this quite often and it still works great.

Step 1: Tail Stock.

This made from An Old router I had Laying around that was broken, I cut it down to use as the rotating centre. The push in shaft lock button is also in use and makes it easier to change the bits for different projects.

Step 2: Head Stock

Just A simple setup Using an old drill press mounted to the bed. There was quite a few measurements to get this right and true. I mounted a steel pin in the chuck so that I could line up the Tail stock for The right Centre line and it worked out perfect I also used a laser just to be 100%

Step 3: The Bed

The Bed was made from leftover 2x3" lengths of pressure treated stock I had .glued and screwed together. I let it dry over night. Following day I mounted the rails used from a used louvre door. as the wood was good and strong and true. They were glued and screwed to the bed using a off cut of wood cut to the size I needed for the channel gap, Screwed one end then moved the block to opposite end and repeated the process. all checked out with squares and measures.

Step 4: Tool Rest Bed

As I was only using pine for this as at the time that's all I had, I thought I would make it stronger by adding some steel to the underneath fixed into two routed grooves. This worked out well as it is very strong

Step 5: Tool Rest

This is also made from Pine. Can be Moved to 3 different positions by moving the nut and bolt to the 3 different points, Can also swing any position left and right and forwards and backwards.

Step 6: Head and Tail Stock

Both head and Tail stock are both made very much alike. As you can see from the pics they both have the floating block that moves up and down the bed and when you tighten up the nut it locks it into place

Step 7: On Off Switch

The switch is the one from the drill press I just added A white switch to the right side and this act's as an emergency stop and total power shut off.

Step 8: Rotating Centre

This is the part of the old router I had under the bench for years I knew I would need it some day :)

I cut it down here and there with a hack saw and filed it smooth. The bit I used in the chuck is a ground down forstner bit as I wanted it strong, The grinding process I used was I cut the forstner bit head/Blade off then placed the shaft into my drill and used the drill with the bench grinder.

Step 9: Faceplate

A homemade faceplate made from Oak Used M12 Threaded rod with backing washers bolted and recessed into the Oak and I used Industrial liquid thread lock....

Step 10: Drill Press

I made these addons, As in the vertical Position it can still be used as a drill press and I can use the whole length of the bed to in the drill press position if I need it.... I like this a lot 2 machines in one. Later On I am going to make a stand so I can set it to Vertical and horizontal in one place in the shop.

Step 11: Projects on This Lathe

Here are a few projects I have made on this lathe candlestick holders, Teak tool handles, A goblet, and a table post



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71 Discussions

Thank you Very Much Edgar Much Appreciated and Very Kind Of you ..

Just wow!

Thank you for adding my Lathe project.. I Appreciates it....

Nicely done, I would suggest reinforcing the ways by using steel angle for the surface. The wood is subject to swelling/shrinking based on humidity and it will eventually wear down.

It's not as critical as a metalworking lathe but it can still become an issue.

4 replies

It is a simple thing to "iron" paraffin wax into the wood and ways. I live in FL and it is HUMID here, so humid that unless I run AC in the summer I have problems with even my appliances rusting indoors. Leather shoes without special driers can rot in months.

I have used an old iron and ironed paraffin wax into wood ways and channels etc. Never had any problems with expansion or with friction after that. In fact wax works better than oil on even metal hinges here. Applying it isn't a problem, and be sure to remove excess before using it.

If building it ones self....the ironing in cn be done before assembly for full coverage!

Thank you for the Tip. That sounds like a plan for future projects.

Thank You for your comment. I do worry about swelling/shrinking ect as It's in my shop and it gets Hot/cold in there. I do check all the alignments here and there and up to now it has been ok so far.

szdonick Thank you for your comment

I did not have any steel angle at the time of this build, But you are right it would have been better that way. It is still performing well at the moment lol I will see how it goeos over time. But I am currently working on a new one in Sketchup There are pics here somewhere in the comments :) .. Thank you again for you Important input ..

It is wonderful to see this nicely crafted piece. I like making my own tools as well.

It would also be fun to make a milling machine.

Milling machines are one of the few machines that can "self-replicate" (e.g. you can use one milling machine to make another milling machine).

1 reply

Thank you .

I do really like making Machines were I can ...I am working on other designs.

I loved the projects done on this project too.

In that sense they're sort of metaprojects (projects made on this project).

Keep up the great work!

1 reply

2 years ago

A nasty cold got in the way, but now, it's done! http://faz-voce-mesmo.blogspot.pt/2016/02/um-torno-para-madeira-um-gerador-de.html

Great project. Had an officer when was active duty that used to make bench tools using old washing machine and dryer motors. This reminds me of him. Keep up the building

1 reply


Thank you. I just love to make my own tools machines ect I am working on a Sketchup for a bandsaw with a twist...

The proof is in the products you've made with your lathe, all very nicely done. Thank you for the breakdown and detail of your construction. Very nice work.

1 reply


Thank you very Much. I have really enjoyed using this Lathe, It's been a lot of fun. I am working on some Attachments and add ons for it

Very nice ,

I like it ! Good construction . The only problem that comes to mind with using wood to make a machine tool is that without proper climate control , the wood can warp slightly and affect alignment . , which shouldn't be a real issue on a woodworking machine .

Great job !!