Steady rest question.

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Forum topic by Mark posted 04-04-2016 03:16 PM 745 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mark's profile


912 posts in 1973 days

04-04-2016 03:16 PM

I hope this isn’t too dumb a question. I will be making a steady rest in the very near future. After looking at all the many pics and articles, I’m kinda confused. I have decided to make the round, 3 wheel version. If my lathe has a 12” swing, do I make the outside ring 12” or does it really matter?

-- Mark

8 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#1 posted 04-04-2016 03:47 PM

This SR is made for a Nova lathe with 16” swing, but easy to adapt to a lathe with 12” center. Only critical measurement is distance from bed way to center of your spindle. Arms are adjustable so hole cut depends on what you normally turn as far as bowls or spindles.

Made one with four wheels and cut a 10” hole for my old 12” swing lathe. Had to go back and notches for arms to keep them from moving. You could also cut a 12” hole as well. Initially used 2 pieces of ½” plywood but added another piece which had to notch. My arms made of 3/8” oak.

-- Bill

View Mark's profile


912 posts in 1973 days

#2 posted 04-04-2016 04:01 PM

Thank you Bill. I believe I saw this earlier. I did a search on LJ for SR. Thank you for your input and the speedy reply.

-- Mark

View bushmaster's profile


3068 posts in 2281 days

#3 posted 04-04-2016 04:02 PM

A project that I want to make in the future for my new super duper scrap iron lathe, I would think that out side ring outside diameter ring could only be is large as can be attached to the lathe bed depending how you are attaching it. most likely smaller than 12 inches. In other words what ever fits and will still be centered, just press the limits. Needs to be centered otherwise the wheels will not contact the wood at 3 equal points. I thought that one with the top and bottom rail, 4 wheels would really support your wild turnings.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2513 posts in 3682 days

#4 posted 04-04-2016 11:42 PM

Lots of info and instructions on the net Mark, I took the easy way out and bought one ready to go. Haven’t used it much though. Good info from Bill and Brian. Best of luck with your making.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1287 posts in 1728 days

#5 posted 04-05-2016 12:22 AM

Mark, I just made my second steady rest. I got a larger lathe, so the other one was too small. The first one was made from 2×2 x 1/4” steel, and I was talked into 1/8 wall thickness on the second larger one, which is 19 1/4” on the inside.

Make yours larger than your swing so if you get another lathe larger than what you have, it should work for you.

Both S R’s were made with floating aluminum arms, since the rests are steel. I’m using adjustable lever handles for tightening the arms to the body. It’s not a complete ring, but looks like a “C”. It can also be mounted onto the lathe with the form, banjo, and tail stock in place. I only use 3 arms, but have holes drilled and tapped for 6 arms if I choose.

So far, I’ve found that the arms don’t need to be locked into a rigid equal spaced position. When the wheels make contact with a form, they will always be at 90° to it, no matter where the arms are located. Heck, Oneway makes a SR with just 2 wheels.

So Mark, when you get ready to make your S R, design it yourself, and if you’re not happy with it, copy one you like. You could also PM me for pictures if I can find them…. .............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View HapHazzard's profile


116 posts in 866 days

#6 posted 04-05-2016 03:13 AM

I’m working on one right now, as a matter of fact. I’m making the inside 10”, and my lathe does have a 10” swing over the bed, but that’s not why I’m making it 10”. I’m making it 10” because I want it to definitely be bigger than the biggest spindle I might want to put in there, not that anything that big would need to be steadied, but I’m too lazy to keep taking it off and putting it on again. If I was smarter I’d probably design it to be a lot easier to take on and off, but I’m not that smart.

Anyway, to find the minimum inside clearance, you just need to ask yourself what’s the biggest spindle that’s going to need steadying, and that depends on length, species and dryness as well as diameter, though I can’t give you any numbers.

-- Unix programmers never die; they just > /dev/null

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2802 days

#7 posted 04-05-2016 01:08 PM

You should be able to concoct your own style. Like everything else, there’s a billion different ways to do it. I turned a cane once a long time ago, and here’s how I did my sr:

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Mark's profile


912 posts in 1973 days

#8 posted 04-06-2016 01:00 AM

Thanks for all the input gents. I think I’m off to the races.

-- Mark

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