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Homemade Benches for Bench Lathes

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  • Homemade Benches for Bench Lathes

    I have several bench lathes (Emco/South Bend, 7-9" swing) that need a nice bench to rest on.

    I would be interested in pictures of what others have built to use with their bench lathes.

    I would like to see what features, dimensions, and materials have been used.

    I am especially interested in different storage options other useres have incorporated...a lathe has many odd shaped accessories.

    Finally I would like to see any benches that are semi-portable...bench lathes by their nature are machines that are easily moveable. For those users who move often, their portability is important (and it shows in their resale price). Benches that are easily movable or broken down would only add to the value of the lathe that sits on it.



  • #2
    Here's what I did.

    It doesn't roll around but it works well. I covered it with steel later.

    My Dad always said, "If you want people to do things for you on the farm, you have to buy a machine they can sit on that does most of the work."


    • #3
      This is not diy but would meet almost all your needs. I have a smaller one that fits under their work bench but I wish that I picked this one up instead.


      • #4
        Here's mine. The legs come off.

        rye cheah


        • #5
          Make some out of the free 200'+ od 2" pipe..

          Takes some coping, either free hand, oxy-acet torch, plasma torch, or angle grinder, but I've built saw horses, pipe racks, cattle feeders, wind breaks, lawn tractor towable drive way grader, fuel tank stand, portable gantry, leg vise stand, wheel spindle/hubs, 3 PT hitch ginpole, log splitter frame, backhoe axle, 10 bale stook fork for FEL, harrow drawbar, engine crane, welding table legs, picnic table, chicken tractor, and ...
          Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit


          • #6
            2" X 2" x .125" wall square tube, 3/8" plate top. Bolted to the floor.
            I don't get the portability issue, it ain't like you're moving it around every day.



            • #7
              Camdigger: Chicken tractor?


              • #8
                Originally posted by wtrueman
                Camdigger: Chicken tractor?

       post 34/35 or so show the finished product.
                Last edited by camdigger; 09-14-2010, 12:05 AM.
                Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit


                • #9
                  Mine is built from 1 1/2" steel tubing with 3/16" wall. It is braced under the feet. On top of the steel frame is a double layer of 3/4" sturdy floor laminated together, it is borderd with 1"x2" oak strips. There is 14 gauge chip pan and 1/8" steel plates to reinforce the wood. The lathe is bolted thru and lock nutted underneath. The bench has leveling pads on the legs. The bottom shelf has another piece of 3/4" sturdy floor with a small cabinet with 2 shelves in it and a cabinet is being built now to occupy the space beside the shelves, it will have (3) 12" wide drawers 18" deep. The back half of the cabinet is just open space for whatever.


                  • #10
                    As far as commercial offerings are concerned, benches for lathes and other machine tools and shop equipment are in the stone ages.

                    A workbench for a lathe needs to have A) casters, B) leveling feet, and C) a way to switch between modes. Ideally, you would have a toggle that would switch between casters and feet without changing the setting of the feet (though you may still need to trim even if you put it back in the same marked spot). It also needs to be able to handle some serious weight.
                    Wood is not great for lathe benches because it warps and throws your bed out of "level" (the concern is actually that the ways are coplanar).

                    Grizzly carries several models of shop fox mobile bases. They have casters and feet. Put these under the legs of your lathe or under the workbench which supports it.
                    There is one deal breaker for me. In addition to buying the extension bars, you have to buy to of these and scavange parts from the second to make it usable. The reason: two of the casters are not steerable. Bzzzzzt. Sears carries a wimpier equivalent.

                    My "new" 120 year old lathe sits on this base right now.

                    2 four foot and 2 two foot sections of superstrut, 8 super strut cone nuts (two different sizes) , superstrut square flat washers, 4 350lb (each) locking casters from tractor supply, and some bolts. I ran out of pieces cut to 2 foot length which is why the casters aren't fully supported yet. Haven't added feet yet. I may try bolting 4 machinists jacks upside down with a spacer as feet, for now. I may also put leveling feet on the struts and with two struts side by side supporting each caster, use threaded rod to attach the caster struts to the skids and use the nuts on the threaded rod raise and lower the casters.

                    I used a 48" farm jack:

                    2-ton toe jack (larger sizes available) good for getting under things that are almost flush with the floor.
                    Here we go, a homemade workbench which holds both a lathe and a mlll and has both leveling feet and casters on lifters. Height of bench matches the tailgate on his pickup, though I would keep the machines on benches, myself.

                    A wooden workbench with casters on hinged plate with cam lift:
                    This is a trick that is used in the theater (often with an air bladder or intertube) to move huge set pieces. Typically the hinged plates would face inward.

                    A couple more woodworking designs:

                    Workbench with stainless top and either casters or leveling feet:
                    You can't install both the casters and the leveling feet simultaneously, but you could jack it up and swap them out for moving but too much trouble for cleaning and moving tools around to accomodate work. I have one of these as an electronics workbench. 1000lb rating, check to make sure it actually applies to the casters. Note that the top is just one layer of stainless between ribs - you would want to beef that up a bit.

                    I have a couple of these 30 drawer literature cabinets (each drawer is sized to hold one ream of paper):
                    One of those on a mobile base might work for a 9x20 or 7x12 lathe and provide lots of room for tooling, stock, parts, measuring instruments, incomplete projects, etc. Drawers are a handy size but won't hold some of the larger lathe accessories like a big chuck. However, if you need to buy new it costs as much as a good tool cabinet.

                    Caster jacks for trailers could be incorporated into a bench design.

                    A tire dolly could slide under some benches and lift them:

                    If you build several similar workbenches with a lower shelf or cross braces that can support the weight of the bench and machines at an appropriate height, you can build a single bench lifter dolly with built in lifters (scisors, cam, air bladder, or hydraulic jacks) that slides under and lifts. You might even be able to use a commercial desk lifter:
                    baseItemOID=115816&itemGroupOID=115816&sku=1042602 &cid=cse_shopz
                    Or a pallet jack:

                    You can put casters on the end of pneumatic cylinders and attach one cylinder to each leg. You could use air shocks, but then you have to play low rider when you move the lathe.

                    If you don't move that often and have a lot of equipment, renting a pair of roll-a-lifts for $70/day might actually be cheaper than mobile benches.

                    If nothing else, at least design the bench so you can fit your car jack or motorcycle/ATV jack underneath and lift it up so you can put dolleys underneath.

                    T-slot extrusions:,,


                    Kee Klamp:


                    • #11
                      Here's a bench and lathe and "mill" I've moved a couple times in the last 5 years.

                      Though I have moved it, it wasn't what I had in mind when I did move it. The construction is 6ea 4x4 legs with 2x4 stringers at the top and a bit off the floor. The top is 2x6 with a 12 ga steel cover. There is a lower shelf that was really an afterthought by laying some boards across the top of the lower stringers. Table height is 36" and it is 8' long and 24" deep.
                      Video meliora proboque deteriora sequor



                      • #12
                        Not home made, but you'd be hard pressed to duplicate it for the $400 it cost at Sams
                        Merkel, Tx