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How To Build A Metal Lathe Stand

How To Build A Metal Lathe Stand


Welcome back to another Crafted Magazine video. In this video, I’m building a metal lathe stand for my new Precision Matthews PM-1022V. This lathe stand is constructed almost completely from ¾” plywood with some hardwood trim. Enjoy the build!

Lathe Stand Materials:

Item Quantity Description
4' x 8' x 3/4" plywood 2 I used PureBond Birch plywood.
1" x 2" x 6' S4S hardwood trim 4 I used select pine from the home center.
1 1/4" course pocket hole screws ~50 You could use longer screws and go through both pieces of plywood, but this is what I had on hand.
1 1/4" brad nails ~100 For laminating the plywood, you could just use clamps instead.
5/16" tee nuts 4 For leveling the lathe stand.
5/16" x 2" carriage bolts 4 For leveling the lathe stand. I used stainless steel as galvanized don't thread well in my experience.
Wood glue A bottle You will use a fairly substantial amount of glue on this build due to the lamination. I buy Titebond III by the gallon, so I don't really have a reference point for how much I used.

Lathe Stand Cut List (for hardwood trim):

Quantity Description Length(L) Width(W) Thickness(T)
2 Hardwood Trim Front 29" 1 1/2" 0 3/4"
1 Hardwood Trim Shelf 38" 1 1/2" 0 3/4"
2 Hardwood Trim Top Front Back 43 1/2" 1 1/2" 0 3/4"
2 Hardwood Trim Top Sides 16 3/4" 1 1/2" 0 3/4"

Lathe Stand Cut List (for plywood):

Quantity Description Length(L) Width(W) Thickness(T)
1 Backer Board Plywood 41" 23" 0 1/4"
4 Leg Section Plywood 29" 14 1/4" 0 3/4"
2 Shelf Plywood 38" 14 1/4" 0 3/4"
2 Top Plywood 42" 15 1/4" 0 3/4"
8 Top Rail Plywood 38" 3 1/2" 0 3/4"

Lathe Stand Cutting Diagrams (for 4x8 sheets of plywood):

Lathe Stand Cutting Diagram 1

Lathe Stand Cutting Diagram 2

Tools Used in Lathe Stand Build:

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Lathe Stand SketchUp File:

lathe stand sketchup

To download the SketchUp file for this project, click here.

Lathe Stand Build Summary:

The first step in this project was breaking down my plywood. I was in a bit of a rush and managed to ignore my cutting diagram, so I had to get a little creative with the cuts. I ended up having to buy a few extra pieces of wood from my local home center, but, if you follow the cut diagram, you can build this from about a sheet and a half of 4x8 plywood. After having a small conniption, I forged ahead, finishing breaking down the plywood with a combination of my table saw and miter saw.

Metal Lathe Stand - 1 of 27

Metal Lathe Stand - 4 of 27

Metal Lathe Stand - 3 of 27

The Microjig GRRR-Ripper really came in handy on these narrow strips that will make up the shelf aprons.

After cutting all of my pieces to final size, I begun laminating them. This entire stand is built using laminated pieces of ¾” plywood. Basically, I glued together two pieces of ¾” plywood to make incredibly strong board s. I did this for every part of this project. I applied a solid coat of Titebond III and then used brad nails to hold the pieces together. I added some weights on top of the pieces for about an hour while they set up.

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Metal Lathe Stand - 9 of 27

Also, the reason I look a little confused in the video is because I originally planned on having two single layer shelves instead of one double layer shelf. I added a bunch of glue to one of the shelves before realizing my error, and I just went with it. I updated the SketchUp file at the top of the article to reflect my final project.

I am absolutely loving my new electric nailers, by the way. I don’t even own a compressor and I love the portability of these electric units.

The whole build is held together with pocket holes. I went a little overboard drilling the pocket holes, but this lathe weighs almost 400 pounds so I didn’t want it buckling under the weight. I attached the side aprons to the legs with pocket holes, the top to the aprons with pocket holes, and then the shelf to the legs with pocket holes. I added plenty of glue along the way as well. I was basically building this stand to be as bombproof as possible. Any play in this could drastically affect my metal lathe’s accuracy.

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Metal Lathe Stand - 12 of 27

After assembling the structure of the stand, I added some hardwood trim, select pine to be specific. I mitered the top corners, but this is purely aesthetic. If you don’t feel like dealing with miters, you certainly don’t have to. This was actually my first time mitering corners for trim and I was really happy with how it turned out. I cleaned up and chamfered the edges with this beautiful block plane from HNT Gordon. Handmade in Australia, this little tool will get a lot of future use in my shop.

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Next, I cut two pieces of ¼” plywood to use as a backing board. I had this as scrap from a previous project so I doubled up the pieces just like the rest of the project, but you could probably get away with one layer. This backing board adds lateral stability to the stand while also keeping your tools from falling off the back of the shelf. I attached the backer board with screws rather than nails to improve the stability.

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Metal Lathe Stand - 21 of 27

I added more hardwood trim around the front edges of the stand as well. The edges of plywood is fairly weak and prone to tearing over time.

I then added small hardwood scraps from the trim pieces to the bottom of the cabinet. These are used to hold the t-nuts that receive the carriage bolts that I’m using as leveling feet. I did the same thing when building my miter saw station and it worked out great, and I had some t-nuts left over from that build.

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After installing the feet, I marked the holes that the lathe is mounted to the bench through and drilled them out with a forstner bit. I used the holes in the chip tray that came with the lathe to layout the holes.

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Next, I sanded the entire stand with 120 grit paper to remove any rough edges. I’m not super concerned about looks here, this is mainly just to avoid splinters. Finally, I finished the stand with Minwax Aerosol Spray Lacquer. I was very disappointed with the surface that this ended up leaving even after three coats. It felt almost like sandpaper, it was that rough. The conditions were ideal for this, about 70 degrees and sunny. I don’t recommend this finish at all. I’m planning to pick up an HVLP system in the very near future to assist in finishing. Finishing is currently one of my least favorite parts of woodworking and I’m hoping HVLP will help.

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Metal Lathe Stand - 27 of 27

Overall, this was a relatively simple build but this was also the first project where I'm designed the project myself. This made things a bit more tricky as I had to really think through the order of things and had to try a little trial and error along the way. Everything worked out in the end and, at the top of the post, you can see the lathe being installed onto the stand. Everything seems stable so far, but I will certainly keep this article updated if things change.

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