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Thread: Recommended lathe height

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Recommended lathe height

    My lathe bench has undergone modification.

    To be clear this is a steel bench i have schlepped from pilar to post and across the oceans. It has history that goes way back with me. So parting with this piece of steel is not on the cards.

    Anyhow I have cut about 1/3 of it off its width and merely forced to sides together and used 16 bolts to tie to halves together. Yeah not the neatest job the quickest job at this stage of the year given temps and power availability. Worked out fine.

    Next i used some of the useless for anything else Pine that i lugged from SA as blocks underneath to mount some good LV blue poly casters with brakes.

    So net result is lathe bench is now narrower and mobile.

    Now the result has increased the surface height and before i get to re mount the now rusted lathe bed and get the whole thing back in shape, i wanted to check on what the correct height to work at is and sort that out at the same time.

    I realise this is a little like "How long is a piece of string" but can anyone give me pointers onwhere to start for suitable height and i can then check on comfort and take it from there. I know how i had it previously was way too low for me. But my casters and double mounting blocks have raised it quiet a bit. Before i mount the lathe bed i would like to either lower again or make provisions for a nice mounting block for the lathe.

    I am actually hoping that i can add a decent mounting block to the lathe and still be at correct height.

    Thanks for help and suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Salem, OR
    I believe that the center of the spindle should be level with your elbow, but it's still a personal choice of where it is comfortable.
    "Have no fear of perfection--you'll never reach it."
    ---Salvador Dali

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    Jim's correct...elbow height is the standard, but that is to low for me. Mines probably 3-4" higher, I've never bothered to measure as it was done by what felt right.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    I've had mine as low as elbow, and as high as nipple. I prefer it on the high side, and so does my turning buddy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Thanks guys i will follow your guidance and then raise it from there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    whats going on here?

    are you actually going to use one of those machines?

    ya just joking around with us?

    next thing ya know someones going to tell me someone else just finished a table.
    Human Test Dummy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    I'm only 5'7". My first lathe was too low for me so I put 4" blocks under the legs. Then it was good.
    My current lathe is 46" to center and it is just fine for me.
    I prefer to stand upright when working, bending and hunching over is killer on the back.
    "Folks is funny critters."

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I'll echo the other guys. Spindle at elbow height is the most common guideline, but I prefer mine a bit higher. How big of "bit"? I dunno...maybe a couple of inches. My lathe's not handy for measuring right now.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    sydney australia
    Yep I 'm in the higher group. I 'm 5.9 so its sits around 48"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    I made mine 3" higher than my elbow height. Saves a lot of bending over the lathe.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

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