View Full Version : Advise on a Lathe Bench

02-11-2003, 07:10 PM
I'm here seeking more advise... I have the chance to have a metal bench built on which to mount my Myford Super 7B. I remember seeing pictures of Atlas and, I believe, Craftsman (and perhaps even Logan) lathes which came mounted on benches which somewhat resembled a sawhorse - the bench itself was not much wider than the lathe "feet" and of approximately the same length as the lathe. I'm considering having the same sort of bench made - the "bench" itself would be 6" X 2" X 1/4" steel channel and would only be long enough so that both lathe "feet" would be fully supported. I would use 2" X 2" X 1/4" steel square tubing as the legs; those legs would be braced with probably 2 cross-pieces of 2" X 2" X 1/4" square tubing and there would be a length of 2" X 2" X 1/4" square tubing joining the two lower leg braces and passing under (of course) the "bench". The spread between the legs (at the feet) would be 32" - of course, at the bench end the legs would be distanced from each only by 2"; the overall height would be 30" - all construction would be by oxycetylene welding. I would have a 4" X 4" 3/16" steel pad with at least one 3/16" hole in each pad welded at the ends of the legs so I could bolt it to a floor. The simplicity of this bench appeals to me for the ease there would be in accessing the machine as well as cleaning up chips/swarf, not only off the lathe but off the bench and floor. My Myford has the 31" bed and weighs close to 300 lbs. and is currently mounted on a Kennedy workbench with maple top (I have a 3/16" steel pad under each lathe foot now); the Kennedy has sufficed for the last two years but each time I check the bed for level I find it has changed (I've got it bolted down through the maple with 1 1/2" dia. washers at the bottom side). I have no idea whether this is a good concept or if "sawhorse benches" were abandoned as a mistake years ago.... any advise or suggestions would be appreciated.

Spin Doctor
02-11-2003, 07:26 PM
The maple I'm asuming as expanding and contracting based on the amount of humidity. Bolting the lathe feet solid to the bench really is not a very good idea because every time the bench top moves so does the lathe. One option that you might look into is the elimination of the steel pads under each foot and replacing them with some sort of elastomer mounting pad. There are a large variety of types and durometer ratings available. Try Jergens, Carr Lane, McMaster Carr or Grainger to start with. Now I can't remeber is the Myford a four or three point machine?

02-11-2003, 11:48 PM
If you want a really nice bench, look at www.leevalley.com (http://www.leevalley.com) they have maple tops and cast iron legs the just would require a stretcher between them (look up workbenches).

The legs are really well made, the short ones will give you desk height, the workbench height is more in line with standard lathe height. They have a Lee Valley store close to my home and I can tell you these legs are solid and look gorgeous painted up. My next bench is going to be made with these.

02-12-2003, 05:38 AM
Spin Doctor - I'm not sure but I would say the Myford is a "2 point" machine, if you're referring to its mounting feet; at any rate, I'm not familiar with this term.
Thrud - When I last visited Lee Valley Tools (online) to price their motor belts I stumbled upon their page advertising the cast iron legs and I wondered how a pair of those joined by a maple top would work out as a lathe bench. The legs sure are pretty. I take it by your comment that a sawhorse type lathe bench is still a workable concept?

Forrest Addy
02-12-2003, 11:57 AM
Channel has little tortional stiffness. I suggest 2 x 6 or 3 x 6 rectangular tubing 3/16 wall.

02-12-2003, 02:00 PM
Forrest is right about the strength of the angle iron. Take your channel iron and stitch weld it into a rectangular (box) shape. Cheapest way! Do you have access to an electric welder? It will make your project go really fast. Be done before noon if you started at 9:00 AM. Gas welding is fine just slower. Make the height whatever is most comfortable for you. How tall are you 6'-8" or 5'-1"? Adjust your lathe's height accordingly.
Can you bolt the bed of your Myford directly to the top of the legs (ala Logan lathes)? If you can then all you need is some sort of stiff chip pan under your lathe and between the legs. FYI the original Logan lathe chip pans were cast steel and weighed about 30#. They appear on Ebay and the last one went for about $40.00 not including shipping as I recall.
While a wooden bench top is asthectically pleasing to the eye it will always grow and shrink with the humidity, temperature, sunlight, amount of coolant/cutting oil etc. collected on/in it. As you said it will affect the leveling of your lathe. Steel or cast iron will not. M2CW!

Dr. Rob
02-12-2003, 02:50 PM
Geez Guero, d'ya think it'll hold? That construction of yours sounds strong enough to hold the whole building up. (I'll second Forrest on the torsion bit. Indeed.)

I did similar thing when I grew tired of the table/ bench and all of it's clutter and resonating noise (I want my lathe QUIET.)

I welded together a big capital H, sized perfectly to the lathes feet, out of 4" x 4" x 3/16" square tube. Solid, quiet, and hey- no clutter. Clean design too. (Feeling creative? Cut a little door in the tube wall to make a cupboard for the change wheels 'n' stuff.) Weld a couple of handles on there too for next time you move it.

02-13-2003, 05:50 AM
Forrest, kgarver and Dr. Rob: Thanks much for the words of wisdom - I'm ready to go ahead and get this thing made and I'll use rectangular tubing. FYI, I won't actually be building this bench but will be paying a guy here in Mexico City to build it for me. I live in an apartment; my shop is in what is called the "maid's room" and in size is about 10' X 8'; since this room is immediately adjacent to the laundry room (which is open to the air) I'm able to do some light brazing (using a Sievert propane torch) right outside my shop.... however, at this stage I own no welding equipment. Thanks again for the advise.

Dr. Rob
02-13-2003, 08:39 AM
Cool. Apartment? Sure, why not...But then I can emphasize the idea of making carrying/ lifting/ stropping provisions. You don't want people grabbing it by the head- or tailstock, carriage handles etc etc.

Add a couple of rubber soles to the feet on your new stand, to keep vibrations from going into the floor & walls of your building...keeps the neighbors happy. Trust me...I had my lathe in my apartment kitchen for years. Neighbors went ape****.

Enjoy your lathes new home!

02-13-2003, 07:48 PM
How did you actually get it in to your kitchen in the first place? How big was that lathe anyhow? Did you have a significant other at the time? I gotta tell ya' a lathe in mine or anyones elses kitchen just never crossed my mind! Please elucidate.
Regards, Ken

02-14-2003, 01:38 AM
I thought everyone kept theirs in the kitchen. It's perfect for mixing drinks and in compound, and with a torch, you can rotisserize a pig with that 9" swing! You have to have a 4 Jaw chuck and keep adjusting it though. Be sure and wipe down the walls and ceiling and floors when done.
Spence http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

[This message has been edited by SJorgensen (edited 02-14-2003).]

02-14-2003, 05:13 AM
Ken - well, it isn't actually in the kitchen; it's in what would normally be the room for a maid, if we had a maid. I had to bring the lathe through the kitchen in order to get it into the maid's room, however. Fortunately my wife not only tolerates my hobby but is actually supportive (up to a point). The Myford Super7 has a 7" swing and I have the long bed version so its bed length is 31"; in getting it placed on it current stand (a Kennedy workbench) I had to take it apart somewhat - removed the motor and countershaft assembly as well as the cross-slide and tailstock... this was in order to bring the weight down to the point where I could lift the headstock end and my wife and daughter could hoist the tailstock end; the 3 of us were then able to carry and lift it into position.

Al Messer
02-14-2003, 08:54 AM
My Logan made lathe has the cast iron legs and the steel chip pan and is surprisingly rigid. I just wish it was about 6 inches taller.

02-14-2003, 10:28 AM
Check the MSC catalog. They have a Kennedy chip tray bench on sale, ready to go for under 400. They support up to 650lb and have adjustable feet. I'm going to get one for my Logan if I don't find the original.


02-14-2003, 01:23 PM
Why don't you make four 6" riser blocks from steel, aluminum, any metal ya' got handy and put them under your Logan's four feet? There are 3/8" (I think) holes in my Logans feet already. You just drill and tap your riser blocks and bolt them on. You'd have to relevel it of course.
Regards, Ken