Spindle Steady Rest

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Project by trasner posted 04-14-2011 03:03 AM 10950 views 36 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

There is a unique satisfaction that comes with making a jig. Most can be purchased and they are not always so expensive but whenever I use a jig that I made, I get a tiny bit more satisfaction from the project. I have been turning some thin spindles but the vibration was becoming a problem so I made this spindle steady jig for my Jet lathe. I purchased the wheels from Rockler ($1.99 each and free shipping) and used an Incra t track ($12). The rest I made from some spare plywood lying around the garage. The pinch bracket holds the rest rock solid. Thanks for looking.

-- Todd

14 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3602 days

#1 posted 04-14-2011 03:16 AM

Great job Todd

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1896 posts in 3697 days

#2 posted 04-14-2011 03:34 AM

I like the mag wheels on the tires!!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View MShort's profile


1790 posts in 3443 days

#3 posted 04-14-2011 03:50 AM

Nice steady rest. Still on my to do list.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View jeepturner's profile


939 posts in 2817 days

#4 posted 04-14-2011 04:04 AM

Nice steady rest. I like the idea of the tracks, that should work well. For the wheels did you consider looking at the inline skate wheels. The reason that I mention the skate wheels is because they have a sharper edge, and the ones in the picture look kind of flat. I have not made one yet, and I figured if I need one I would make one. I already have the wheels from an old set of skates.

-- Mel,

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20594 posts in 3130 days

#5 posted 04-14-2011 04:19 AM

Very nice steady rest. You appreciate it more if you make it yourself—always!!!!!
Using that T slot material is a real good idea. I may convert to that for my small diameters!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View trasner's profile


87 posts in 2932 days

#6 posted 04-14-2011 04:36 AM

Mel, it is Interesting that you mention the “flat” wheels. They actually were originally pointed but I turned them flat on the lathe for two reasons. The first is that I thought they were too big. I took approximately 1/2 inch off each wheel. This allows them to fit smaller spindles. The second is that I thought a flat wider surface would give better support.

-- Todd

View peteg's profile


4299 posts in 2848 days

#7 posted 04-14-2011 08:40 AM

Nice job Todd, always a good feeling to “make your own” way around a project & as you say that extra bit of satisfaction. The other advantage of the flat wheels (as long as you don’t have sharpe edges) is you lessen the chance of ‘bearing” marks on your work, Looks like it will get the business done no problems. : ))
well done.
(as Matt says “nice mags’)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3140 days

#8 posted 04-14-2011 08:58 AM

nothing like homemade tools to work with :-)

thank´s for sharing

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2692 days

#9 posted 04-14-2011 12:38 PM

Great idea with the t track

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View helluvawreck's profile


31378 posts in 2891 days

#10 posted 04-14-2011 01:32 PM

Todd, it’s a beautiful tool. Great job.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View trasner's profile


87 posts in 2932 days

#11 posted 04-14-2011 03:48 PM

Pete, I sanded down the wheels to a 600 grit so they are as smooth as a baby’s bottom. I tested one piece and the jig held it tight with no wheel marking.

-- Todd

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 2990 days

#12 posted 04-14-2011 06:20 PM

I made one like this 3 years ago and now with your addition I can make revision 3.1 to mine. I also use skate wheels, and yes they can leave a black smudge on the wood. The fix for that is use claear ply wheels instead of the black ones. You can also get used skates at Goodwill for about $2 a pair. The T bar is a stroke of genius. I cut mine out of ironwood but after a while they crack. I thought about using an automotive alternator bracket but your use of a T bar is SO much better. Your bearings on the wheels will give out before the tires do. I also like your squeeze type hold down. Much easier then what I have now (but not for long, version 3.1 is on the way).
Thanks for sharing


-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 2842 days

#13 posted 04-14-2011 06:25 PM

I have been looking for a good design for a shop made steady rest – thanks! This looks like it.

All the best


-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View jeepturner's profile


939 posts in 2817 days

#14 posted 04-15-2011 01:23 AM

Wow, another lesson learned, thanks for the info on what shape to make the wheels Todd, and the reason for a less pointed wheel Pete. I have all the pieces in place now, and when I need a steady rest it will not be as much trial and error making one that works the first time.

-- Mel,

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