Mini Wood Lathe Made Of….. Wood?

When someone says ‘wood lathe’ the average person would think of a lathe used for turning pieces of wood into ornate shapes. But what if that lathe was also made of wood. Would that be a wood wood lathe? Instead of wondering the answer to that very unimportant question, young 15 year-old [laffinm] decided to actually build a wood wood lathe from plans he found in a magazine.

As you would expect, a 15 year-old’s budget is certainly not going to be very large. [laffinm] started by gathering plywood scraps left over at construction sites. The lathe bed, head stock, tail stock, tool rest and motor mount are all made from 3/4″ plywood. The tool rest and tail stock have knobs that allow loosening of each part so that they can be moved to any location on the bed.

Out back, [laffinm] made his own live center for the tail stock out of a chuck and bearing assembly that he pulled from an old drill. The tail stock supports were drilled out to fit the bearings which were epoxied in place. The live center and tail stock combination supports the right side of the work piece that is being turned on the lathe.

In the end the lathe came out pretty darn well. We here at Hackaday love projects that make use of recycled parts and this project sure does that as most of the parts were scavenged or obtained for free with the only exceptions a v-belt and some nuts and bolts. If you’d like to see the build process in detail, [laffinm] has a very complete Instructable with 3 build videos, the first of which you can find after the break.

20 thoughts on “Mini Wood Lathe Made Of….. Wood?

        1. Wow, a 7-8.5″ circular saw blade driven by an angle grinder running 2-3 times faster than the blade is rated for, turning down a rough log! That’s hardcore. I’d like to look this guy right in the (remaining) eye and shake his hand (or stump), assuming he’s still alive. :)

    1. Very nice. This is based on the plans in ShopNotes issue #73. I’ve made one myself. It’s a nice little mini-lathe for turning wood. But unless you scrounge the parts, like the builder here did, you’ll end up spending more money than a garage sale find will net you (heavier, metal wood turning lathe).

    1. For over a century plywood plys have been getting thinner and hence more in count per 3/4 inch sheet. They seem to be able to jam more crap into these thinner plys and have less voids, so that’s progress. I have seen stuff like that in packing from China. It’s not Baltic plywood.

  1. Nice lathe! Suggestions: larger handles on all the fixtures. Put the switch near the front. Get carton pipes about 30cm in diameter and fill it with concrete, insert bolts into the wet concrete and bolt the lathe to it. They make the best non vibrating lathe stands.

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