Tailstock Swing Under $75

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Project by Owlcroft posted 05-08-2014 04:41 PM 2018 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was visiting a friend to get some wood for turning from a couple trees that had come down in a recent ice storm. While I was there he showed me his shop. One of the things that really caught my eye was a Tailstock Swing he used to move his tailstock out of the way when he was turning bowls. I had not seen one before so I had him show me how it worked. Long story short it immediately became a must have addition for my lathe.

I did some research on the net and figured out there were two types. Those that swing the tailstock to the side (most common) and those that swing it down at a 45 degree angle. I check with a couple other members of the club and sure enough there were those with both types. After trying both types I decided I wanted one that swing down. Next I took a look online to see how much it was going to cost. Long story short, I quickly decided the cost was more than I wanted to pay. So I decided to build my own.

First step was to figure what I needed to make one. I have had no experience working with metal so my 1st thought was to make everything out of wood with a heavy duty ball bearing hinge. After some thought, and considering the weight of the tailstock, I decided the plates had to be aluminum plate. I did some research on the net and decided I needed 3/8” 6061 aluminum plate for the hinged parts and 2” aluminum plate for the bed extension. I have a lot of scrape red oak form other projects so I decided to make the base of the swing out of laminated red oak.

Next I made a pattern for the hinged parts out of 1/2” plywood and an old hinge to be sure it would work. Good thing I did. My 1st pattern swing the tailstock out of the way at a 45 degree angle. It did not swing free of my 18” extension on the end of my lathe. Easy fix, I tossed that one and made another at a 60 degree angle. It worked perfectly.

Now I was set to cut the aluminum plate on my bandsaw and mount the hinges. Once I cut the plate drilled the mounting holes for the lathe and hinge I assembled the swing and mounted it to the lathe. It worked perfectly.

To build the base I made three laminated Oak sections. one for each side and one for the middle. Once the glue dried I used my planer to resize them so that when the fit together there was no need to have to cut out the center section. Once the glue dried I slanted bottom of the base to reduce the weight and give it some style.

Next I mounted the base to the swing and installed the draw catch that holds it in place. Now all I needed to do was cut the 2” rails that would hold the tailstock in place as it swing out of the way. Mounting them was a piece of cake, all I had to do was clamp them in place and mount them with wood screws.

I could not be happier with the results. I have a custom made Tailstock Swing that works perfectly on my lathe for under $75. Well worth the 2 or 3 days it took to build it.

-- Owlcroft

5 comments so far

View gridlockd's profile


135 posts in 1136 days

#1 posted 05-08-2014 04:54 PM

very cool! great idea

-- Gridlockd

View LJackson's profile


200 posts in 346 days

#2 posted 05-08-2014 07:18 PM

Wait, you’ve got a $50 bajillion Powermatic lathe and don’t want to pay for a tailstock swingout? Penny wise and pound foolish?

Actually, this is just me expressing my envy at your $50 bajillion Powermatic lathe.

View Owlcroft's profile


26 posts in 1865 days

#3 posted 05-08-2014 10:02 PM

Had a good laugh when I read the bajizillian dollar lathe comment. Truth is I am retired on a fixed income so saving money where I can is necessary. I am also an avid Craig’s list advocate where I found that lathe for significantly less than the bajillion dollars they want for a new one. Can’t always judge a book by its cover.

-- Owlcroft

View Paul Lajoie's profile

Paul Lajoie

120 posts in 1856 days

#4 posted 05-08-2014 10:58 PM

Nice lathe addition!! On an even nicer lathe, Powermatic is one of my dream lathes and you found it on Craigslist? some people have all the luck.


View steve_in_ohio's profile


1167 posts in 363 days

#5 posted 05-09-2014 12:46 AM

great idea, simple and effective

-- steve, simple and effective woodworking---

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