Adding a lathe bed extension

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Blog entry by hairy posted 02-10-2012 12:12 AM 9249 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Or, what the instructions don’t say.

This has been on the back burner for many moons now. I recently got a smoking deal on a Jet 1220BE 28” lathe bed extension.But I had nowhere to put it.

I did have a workbench with a miter saw station bolted to it. I recycled it from a 12’ x 4’ workbench/table that was great for building motorcycles, but sucked at being a chopsaw bench.

Really all I had to do was lower the work surface. This was also a good time to add in some pegboard.

The first step in adding the bed was to remove the handle at the tailstock end. I cut the heads off of two 5/16” coarse thread bolts and rounded over the cut end. Now I have guidepins to line it up very easily. This is easier than holding up a heavy piece with one hand and trying to start bolts you can’t see with the other. After you get it together, just remove the pins, 1 at a time, and put in the bolt.

I followed the directions.Line the pieces up, snug the bolts, install the tailstock centered on the joint,
and clamp it down,then snug up the 4 alignment set screws. Move the tailstock out of the way and place a level on the lathe bed lengthwise. Adjust as necessary. They make it sound easy.

I had a 1/4” gap in the center, with good contact on the ends. I could get it even in the middle, but then the tailstock would jam up going over the joint. The more I adjusted , the worse it got. Then it dawned on me. The lathe itself was just sitting on the bench, not secured to it.

I started making progress when I bolted the headstock end of the lathe to the bench. I used shims under the boltholes at the tailstock end of the lathe bed to bring the extension up to the level. I found out that I had to tighten the bolts holding the lathe to the bench, AND the bolts holding the 2 sections together, a little at a time. If I tightened a bolt, then the next and then the next and so on, it was always wrong. It’s kinda like torquing head bolts,keep working your way through the pattern, getting a little tighter with each pass.

Lightly clamping the level to the lathe bed keeps it from falling off.

Success at last! And nothing hangs up on the joint.

The tailstock end of the extension has leveling adjusters, but no way to adjust them with the weight on them. I cut screwdriver slots with a hacksaw. If I get bad vibrations, I will remove the adjusters and bolt/shim the extension to the bench.

I really should turn something before I start bragging about it, but, too late for that. I did put a long, twisted, out of balance, not quite square spindle blank between centers to see what happens. Walnut, 43” x roughly 2 and 3/8 . Very roughly.

I had it up around 1800 rpm with no problems. That’s faster than it will be going when I do turn it. I’m happy.

I used hex bolts instead of the allen bolts supplied. Much easier to tighten in close quarters. And after all hardware was tight, I removed each, one at a time, and applied never-sieze, and re-installed. These bolts will come apart 20 years from now with no problems.

A few hundred pounds of tools should keep it from walking away.

-- My reality check bounced...

4 comments so far

View cabmaker's profile


1738 posts in 2865 days

#1 posted 02-10-2012 02:14 AM

Nice grab Hairy. Where does that put you between centers now ?

View hairy's profile


2730 posts in 3588 days

#2 posted 02-10-2012 02:35 AM

It’s said to be 48”, but I didn’t measure. I’m trying to find another banjo so I can make a long toolrest.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2860 days

#3 posted 02-10-2012 01:25 PM

very kool addition and blog Hairy

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3729 days

#4 posted 02-11-2012 12:43 AM

Nice addition, Hairy!

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