Compact Lathe Stand

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This article is from Issue 74 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Get the most from your mini lathe with a sturdy, mobile workstation that’s easy to build

Every lathe deserves a nice stand—a sturdy workstation that won’t wobble or vibrate while you work. This mini lathe stand does a good job of meeting these requirements—and it’s portable. The materials required should leave you with some extra cash to spend on turning tools or nice turning blanks. My stand is sized to provide a compact but ample platform for a mini lathe. I made room in the cabinet for a couple of concrete blocks to give the unit extra mass—very helpful when turning bowls and other large blanks. You can easily accessorize your stand by adding tool holders on the sides, and by creating holders and partitions in the drawer. Before building your own stand, confirm that your lathe will be at a comfortable working height when mounted on the stand. Most turners prefer to have a lathe’s axis at elbow height. To achieve that, you may need to increase or decrease the length of your cabinet sides and center divider.

Build the case, then add drawer, top and base

You can build this lathe stand from a single sheet of 3⁄4" plywood, some scrap pieces of 1⁄2" plywood, and a little solid lumber. The drawer slides that work best are 12" side-mount, full-extension slides rated for 75 lbs. For strength and longevity, I assembled all case joints with glue and 2"-long screws.

Order of Work

  • Cut cabinet sides, top, bottom, and back to finished sizes.
  • Complete side joinery work: Rabbet the top, bottom, and back edges. Dado the sides for the cabinet top.
  • Assemble sides, back, bottom, and cabinet top. Cut and install the center divider.
  • Cut two adjustable shelves. Cover front edges of shelves and cabinet with iron-on wood edging.
  • Build the drawer box, then apply finish to cabinet, shelves, and drawer box.
  • Install drawer box with slide hardware, then install top cleats.
  • Cut the solid wood drawer front to finished size, and rout a cove finger-pull along its bottom edge.
  • Apply finish to all sides and edges of drawer front, then screw it to drawer box from inside the box.
  • Build the base from 2× lumber, then screw the cabinet to the base.
  • Build and finish the top, then install it. Drill shelf pin holes in cabinet sides and center divider.

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  • JO
    Thank you David Heim for you Compact Lathe Stand article in Woodcraft magazine. Your article served as inspiration and was very helpful for building my lathe stand for my Rikon midi lathe. Regards, John

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