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A 4-Way (lathe) Workbench

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Project by mountainaxe posted 04-22-2015 04:38 PM 23757 views 10 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have a HF 12” lathe that a bought a while ago…it’s a nice piece of machinery, but I really haven’t done that much turning. In my small shop, it takes up a considerable amount of real estate. I’ve been looking around for a method of storing it and saving space, while giving myself the opportunity to use it when the need arises.

I found a solution in a 1965 Popular Science magazine. They call it a 4-Way Workbench and it was appealing for several reasons. First, it provides a nice work/countertop surface; second, it stores the lathe, but leaves it accessible; third, it has a scrap bin built in that holds a lot of cutoffs and acts as a low mobile stand that also has the ability to clamp.

The overall plan is simple enough, but I found it eats up a lot of plywood because of the double thickness of many of the parts; I used four sheets of ¾” plywood from HD. It also calls for quite a bit of hardware…two long piano hinges and lots of strap hinges and casters. I also found that the pieces themselves are extremely heavy which made assembly a real challenge. I could easily have used help, especially in securing the lathe to the bench.

Took me about two weeks working off and on to complete…the final product is better that I hoped for. It takes up minimal floor space, gives me additional work space/storage, hides the lathe, and gets all my cutoffs off the floor…and it looks good. There is absolutely no vibration when running the lathe, which was a worry. The only downside is that it takes some muscle to lever the lathe up and down…mainly because the motor and lathe is one unit. This is a great and fairly easy project…I’d recommend it to those who have small shops and are only occasional turners.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."





10 comments so far

View TDan's profile

TDan

4 posts in 596 days


#1 posted 04-22-2015 04:59 PM

I have been planning (in my mind) a table for my lathe, but this is perfect.

Can you point me to where I can find the design online? Or is the link to the magazine the only place you know of?

View mountainaxe's profile

mountainaxe

130 posts in 1971 days


#2 posted 04-22-2015 05:32 PM

The embedded link to the magazine has the drawings/plans and description I used to build the bench (I modified the dimensions slightly to fit my lathe). Before I began the project, I searched the web and couldn’t find any other info or anyone else that attempted to build it. Too bad, because it’s a sweet setup.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

View nkawtg's profile

nkawtg

204 posts in 717 days


#3 posted 04-22-2015 09:26 PM

I like it, it sort of reminds me of an old sewing machine cabinet, how the lathe is stored under the lid.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1147 days


#4 posted 04-22-2015 09:41 PM

That’s a cool design. Could you store turning tools on the underside of the top so they are close by when the lathe it out?

View Hawaiilad's profile

Hawaiilad

2896 posts in 2487 days


#5 posted 04-23-2015 04:28 AM

Oh yea, I really like that. It looks like the lid hinges up with the late below. If this is true, could you hook up a hoist and lift it out of it’s bed.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

5811 posts in 1758 days


#6 posted 04-23-2015 04:55 AM

Great job! I remember this design when it originally appeared in Popular Science—always thought it was a cool bench. Congratulations on a project well done.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View albachippie's profile

albachippie

758 posts in 2501 days


#7 posted 04-23-2015 09:50 AM

That is a great design. Really well made too. Thanks for sharing, and for the link,

Garry

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Garry-Macdonald-Woodwork/425518554215355?ref=hl

View mountainaxe's profile

mountainaxe

130 posts in 1971 days


#8 posted 04-23-2015 01:25 PM

The mechanism does work just like an old fashioned sewing machine cabinet. Leveraging the lathe up into position is not difficult…lowering it back down does take some effort as you have to ensure the back flap stays up and out of the way as you’re lowering a lot of cast iron. I think that installing some sort of catch between the back flap and top, like rare earth magnets, will solve that problem. I guess a hoist would work, too, but the simplicity of the design is one of it’s attractive features. There is room in the bench to store related tools when the lathe is in the stored position.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

View Hawaiilad's profile

Hawaiilad

2896 posts in 2487 days


#9 posted 04-23-2015 07:37 PM

I like it so much I am going to build one and I don’t own a lathe, but another drawer in the space for the lathe would be of use I’m sure. I tired to make a copy of the plans, but was unable. Were you able to print them?

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View mountainaxe's profile

mountainaxe

130 posts in 1971 days


#10 posted 04-23-2015 11:54 PM

I’ve found, with Google books, that you have to cut and past (PrintScr key) to Word in order to print out from the web. The plan was spot on with regard to dimensions.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

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