$ 5 tool rest for mini lathe

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Project by Bob A in NJ posted 10-12-2009 12:10 AM 2834 views 5 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Baseball bats are up next for Christmas presents. After realizing a 12” tool rest requires lots of lateral adjustments, I starting thinking how to “extend” the bar.
I bought a 36” long piece of angle iron, turned it corner side up and rested it on my 12” round tool rest. Then cut a 90 degree point on a piece of walnut scrap to support the other end. Then cut a dado in another piece to support the holder and to have a section to clamp onto the bench.

This helps make longer smoother tapers while minimizing adjustment time and maximizing turning time.

A simple holding fixture for the Louisville Slugger as a template is also very handy for this project.

Viola! Low cost and effective toolrest that saves a ton of time.

Bob Oct 11,2009

(With help from Troy and Jim)

-- Bob A in NJ

16 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3297 days

#1 posted 10-12-2009 12:24 AM

Good idea, can you move it inward as the workpiece get smaller in diameter? This is not a subliminal criticism, as it seems to be working really well for you, I just wondered.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1892 posts in 3635 days

#2 posted 10-12-2009 12:25 AM

Now that’s using your noodle!! I like it!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3676 days

#3 posted 10-12-2009 01:01 AM

i love that idea, there is nothing more frustrating then doing a spindle that is longer then your tool rest. i am also wondering if it is on a pivot of some kind so you can move it in as the handle gets smaller?

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3651 days

#4 posted 10-12-2009 01:07 AM

I was also wondering if it is adjustable in / out , up / down ? I haven’t done much turning , so I am wondering how you chose the height . Any info is most helpful . Thank you

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1229 posts in 3962 days

#5 posted 10-12-2009 01:21 AM


Yes, I can adjust closer as the diameter gets smaller by moving the banjo.


Height is set at center line, can’t adjust this way but don’t need to.

-- Bob A in NJ

View Mike's profile


252 posts in 3346 days

#6 posted 10-12-2009 01:25 AM

Great idea.

-- Mike, VT

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3521 days

#7 posted 10-12-2009 01:34 AM

Bob, what a great idea. I was thinking the other day that I need to get a longer tool rest myself. Your idea there may just work for me too when I am turning table legs and not having to reset the tool rest so often. A Big Thanks for this post.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View hairy's profile


2654 posts in 3495 days

#8 posted 10-12-2009 02:32 AM

Good thinking, Bob!

-- My reality check bounced...

View rosewood's profile


234 posts in 3304 days

#9 posted 10-12-2009 02:58 AM

nice smart idea,


View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 3901 days

#10 posted 10-12-2009 02:56 PM

Hey Bob-

Similar to what I did, but probably much faster to get done. I assume it’s stiff enough, but if not, you can probably make the same thing with a piece of black pipe.

-- Steven

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6851 posts in 3942 days

#11 posted 10-12-2009 03:23 PM

Hey Bob,

Looks like a great solution.

How’s the arm? Glad to see you’re in the shop.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3540 days

#12 posted 10-12-2009 06:27 PM

Cool idea well done

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4132 days

#13 posted 10-12-2009 06:36 PM

I might try that. Moving the short tool rest is frustrating.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3651 days

#14 posted 10-13-2009 08:09 AM

Thanks for the feedback : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4290 days

#15 posted 10-26-2009 05:36 PM

more proof that the simplest ideas are often the best.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

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