Base cabinet for small metal lathe

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Project by Schwieb posted 07-28-2011 01:37 PM 5721 views 6 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I haven’t posted a project in a long time and some encouragement from some LJ buddies has motivated me to start posting again. Recently I have been working more “on the shop” and have made a number of improvements. I’ll try to post more when I can.

I had an opportunity to purchase a small Atlas armature lathe awhile back that came with a Kennedy toolbox filled with cutters and odds and ends. I needed a place to put it and decided that a mobile cart was the answer for me. I used locally cut and dried southern yellow pine, (I just love the smell in the shop when I work with it). FYI the contrasting wood in the panel doors is lighter pine, country folk will know what that means. It was such a pretty rich red/brown that I had to use it somewhere in there. I tried out a new cutter for making drawers that I liked a lot. Sorry no dovetail joints on this one. Most folks can’t understand why I would keep something like this in a workshop. I confess it’s a little over the top for a shop fixture but how could I do it an different?

Now I need to decide what goes in the cabinet.

PS: Sharp eyes have noted that it needs a top. I completely agree and already have one under construction. I had just set the lathe on top of the cabinet for the pictures.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

7 comments so far

View ChesapeakeBob's profile


365 posts in 2905 days

#1 posted 07-28-2011 03:15 PM

Great looking cabinet, drawers, and shop! Thanks for posting. I have to ask though… what is “lighter pine?”

-- Chesapeake Bob, Southern Maryland

View Bluepine38's profile


3336 posts in 2507 days

#2 posted 07-28-2011 03:24 PM

What do you mean, you need to decide what goes in the cabinet? You mentioned a tool box filled with
cutters and odds and ends, then you only show us half of the eye candy. I would not dare put a metal
working lathe on a wood cabinet without a metal top. The cutting and threading oil would soon make a
mess of the top. Now that I am finished with my rant, that is a very nice cabinet and very nice looking
pine, the only pine related wood I can think of that looks like that lighter pine is what we call larch or
tamarack up here. I agree that it might be over the top for a shop fixture, but it would be impossible to
pass up. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2115 days

#3 posted 07-28-2011 03:38 PM

Wow! That’s a handsome cabinet for a handsome tool.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


684 posts in 2695 days

#4 posted 07-28-2011 04:58 PM

I’d be afraid to drip cutting oil and have metal shavings all over such a nice cabinet! Very Well done!


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Planeman40's profile


788 posts in 2183 days

#5 posted 07-29-2011 01:23 AM

I love it! VERY nice job!

My first metal lathe was an Atlas 6” swing (sold by Sears) and that appears to be the same one. I bought it when I was seventeen with money saved from working summers at a hobby shop back in 1957. It is a nice little lathe. Two words of advice.

  • Be very careful not to run the compound slide out too far when making a cut, especially a heavy one. You can break it off. I did it.
  • I recommend you put a metal chip tray beneath the lathe to catch the swarf coming from the cut and cutting oil. I have found that automotive oil drip pans bought from Pep Boys and the like for about $10 make excellent chip trays. And they come in different sizes if you search around. Put a sizable tray beneath the entire lathe. Unbolt the lathe, drill holes in the tray for the lathe mounting bolts, and re-assemble everything.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View horologist's profile


102 posts in 3161 days

#6 posted 07-29-2011 04:34 AM

Very nice, as others have mentioned a chip tray will help preserve that top. You might reconsider the location of the machinist chest as unless I have misjudged the scale, or you are really tall, it will be difficult to make good use of the bin on top or possibly the upper drawers. Not to mention cabinet stability as you wheel the cart around the shop. Those Kennedy chests are great but a fall from that height would be disastrous. Instead you might consider using the wooden box to support small items and a good halogen bench light. It is hard to have too much light. An example:

Or perhaps a back splash with shelf to store small items and support that light. Cutting fluid does travel.


-- Troy in Melrose, Florida

View RonB57's profile


25 posts in 1770 days

#7 posted 12-24-2013 09:42 PM

Deciding what goes into a metal lathe cabinet is easy. TOOLING! That’s usually worth more than the lathe. :) Very nice set up, btw.


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