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Thread: Lathe Height

  1. #1
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    Lathe Height

    I have a question in regards to lathe height. Where do you find to be the right height for work? Now knowing that we are all different heights, I guess it would be in relationship to your body. I have read where the center of the spindle should be 1" above the elbow. Can anybody confirm this?
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

    Rule of thumb is if you donít know what tool to buy next, then you probably donít need it yet.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    I've had two lathes and adjusted so I wouldn't have to bend my back.
    The first required four inch blocks be put under the legs. Current one I just screwed the feet out a little bit. I'm not very tall and wonder how tall guys work on short lathes. Would be hard on the back.
    Answer: Do what is comfortable for you.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  3. #3
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    Nov 2006
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    steve the best thing to do is sell the lathe for scrap or not get one at all
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Somewhere around elbow height, give or take an inch or two, is what seems comfortable for most folks. I think mine's a bit above elbow height, but not by much. Next time I'm out there, I'll check.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
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    And I'm betting Larry will be there to buy the scrap!
    Usually Steve, elbow height is a good starting place...adjust from there for the best comfort and safety
    Larry...I have a bandsaw you can pick up
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  6. #6
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    Larry you can pick up Steve's lath and Jim's bandsaw and drop them off here for storage
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  7. #7
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    Mine are a right around elbow
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Elbow height, or reach out like you are going to shake someone's hand, that is where the spindle should be as a ball park height. If you are doing lots of little stuff, pens etc then maybe a bit higher, to save your back, like Frank said, if you are doing big stuff bowls etc, then even a bit lower would be good. If you make your stand a bit too short, you can always add blocks to it to raise it up, easier than cutting the legs off

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
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    Dec 2006
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    Since I turn boxes most of the time and spend a significant amount of time looking and working inside a small object that I am hollowing I decided to have my lathe spindle higher than recommended. My spindle is close to 4" above elbow height and I love it there. The higher position saves me a lot of wear and tear on my back and I can turn longer without fatigue.

    Another thing I have learned is that I don't necessarily need long handled tools to do the work I am doing. So I now have a set of box turning tools with 8"-9" handles. Seldom if ever do I have a tool projecting more than a couple of inches over the tool rest so I don't need a 14" handle to provide leverage. Besides I have more than ample turning muscle to counterbalance any mechanical disadvantage I might encounter. I have found I have better control with the shorter tools in front of me instead of at my side as would be required with full sized tools. Again this is specific to box turning and other small diameter objects such as pens, bottle stoppers, etc.

    When I want to turn larger items I have not found it to be a problem to go back to my longer and heavier tools.
    I may be getting a little older physically but mentally I'm still tarp as a shack.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Palm Springs, Ca
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    Elbow height is about where mine is - main thing was to raise it up so im not straining my back when turning.............
    First you have to learn the rules - Beginner
    Then you have to learn advanced rules - Professional
    Then you disregard the rules - This takes you to the master level................

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