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Thread: Lathe cabinet height

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Kansas City, Missouri
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    13,439

    Lathe cabinet height

    I'm looking at building a new stand/cabinet for my lathe. The one it came with was welded up out of scrap metal and isn't very square so it tends to wobble. The new cabinet will be on wheels with plenty of storage.

    My question is...What is the standard height for lathe stands? I'm a little over 6' tall and I'm wanting it to be a comfortable height. Can some of you post the heights of your cabinets or to the lathes center line. I've got a 12" Craftsman lathe.

    Thanks,
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
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    15,807
    Not a simple answer.

    Generally, you want the spindle of you lathe to be at about the same height as you hand if you were sticking it out to shake hands with someone the same height as yourself.

    But.......

    Depends on what you turn, people who do a lot of small stuff, usually benefit from having the lathe higher than that, less crouching over, but people who do a lot of big stuff, can benefit from having the lathe slightly lower. I'd shoot for the middle, but make sure you have allowed yourself some way to adjust the unit up and down.

    One more thing, make sure that you have a way to let the curlies out from between the ways of your lathe, that is the mistake I made on my stand, I have to dig out the curlies that get between the ways, I wish I'd raised the mounting points off the surface of the stand another inch

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Drums, PA
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    292
    I alway felt a good starting point is to have the spindle at elbow height.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Inside the Beltway
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    2,666
    Darren,

    Don't do what I did. Mine was too tall, and that was before I put it on wheels. I built it before I got the lathe delivered. The stand itself is 35, plus 4" wheels, add in the spindle height and its up to 52. WAY too high. Believe it or not, I scratch my head and stare, but can't figure out an easy way to raise it, get the wheels off, and then lower it again. Yikes!

    Thanks,

    Bill

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,828
    Many turners have their lathes with the centers at about 40". I don't understand that. I'm only 5'7" and need my center at about 44" to prevent bending over and ending a turning session with a tired and sore back. Just do some pretend turning standing comfortably, note where your hands and tools are and make the bench so spindle height is at that point. Thets my tuppance.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Drums, PA
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    292
    Bill
    Easy Fix, make a wooden platform to stand on. In essence you lowered your spindle height. Your feet will thank you too.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
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    Well, thanks for all the feedback. Sounds like about elbow height, but may put it on a temporary top and play with the height some before committing to the whole cabinet.

    Thanks again,
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    S E Washington State
    Posts
    3,777
    I never thought about this, just used the height I have. Makes sense to think about the height espically if you spend a long time over the lathe. I am picturing a lathe stand for my new lathe that can have the height adjusted. Shouldn't be to difficult for a mini size lathe.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    618
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    can't figure out an easy way to raise it, get the wheels off, and then lower it again.
    Bill,
    If you have a solid enough, accessible set of rafters above the lathe you might consider renting -borrowing?- a block and tackle to lift it.
    Guess it depends how important it is to get it lowered. The wood platform idea is a good one.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    1205 13th Ave. Barron,WI 54812
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    14
    So if you're 6'2" like me,how tall would your lathe center have to be? I think mines about 37" off the ground.
    I know how ugly I are,I know my face don't look like a star,but I am behind it so I don't mind it it's the people in front that get the jar!

    Jared Schmidt Barron,Wisconsin USA 16 yrs.old

    E-mail me at penturner1@gmail.com

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