Wood lathes are a staple of any woodworking shop. Whether it’s for making bowls, pens, or even for shaping a rough-cut log, the wood lathe is invaluable. Lathes come in different sizes and heights, but how high should a wood lathe be?
Adjust the lathe height so that spindles are at or just below your elbow height.
The ideal height for your wood lathe will be the place you have the most control over the tools and feel the most comfortable while you are turning. Finding that height often requires some trial and error.
Is the height of the lathe important?
For woodturning projects, a lathe’s height can be very important. Lathes need to be high enough for the turner to work comfortably and low enough so the piece at the end of the lathe can be reached without much difficulty.
Here is why you need to get your lathe at the right height:
Comfort – The height of your lathe should be comfortable for you to turn. You’ll have less strain on your back while turning. Neck and shoulders strain on a low lathe. You’ll have less strain on your arms. It’s a lot easier to use your arm to turn wood on a higher lathe.
Get the right angle – With the lathe at the correct height for you, and the tool rest properly positioned for the project you’re working on, you can easily maintain the right angle on the tool you are utilizing. The tool angle is essential when turning and leaves no possibility of chatter or dangerous kickbacks.
Too low can put you in danger – A lathe set too low requires either leaning over or holding tools tightly. The tool rest will also be low and make things uncomfortable. From this position, your face or neck may also be over the lathe’s top. This puts you in danger of being hit by the lathe’s flying chips and being hit by the tool rest’s kickback.
Too high is annoying – A lathe set too high will make it hard for you to reach the end of the lathe. There’s a possibility of you losing control of the turning process. You may also have to hold tools tightly, putting you at greater risk of injury. Your arms will get tired much faster.
How to get the right height
A wood lathe, a machine used in a woodshop to create objects from wood, is a must for any carpenter or craftsman. When setting up a new lathe, it is important to know the correct height for this machine.
In the case of a midi lathe, the height of the workbench you choose will determine how high the lathe needs to be.
There are many types of methods that can be used to adjust the height of a wood lathe.
Modify your workbench
You can modify your existing workbench. This is cheaper and in most cases faster than the other methods presented in this article.
If your wood lathe is too high you can add a floor mat to get there. Add more height to it by putting a block of wood or something similar underneath it. Make sure to not move around.
Build a custom stand for your height
Most high-end wood lathes come with adjustable feet that can help you get the right height. But if you have a smaller lathe then why not build your own stand. This is a good way of testing your skills and creativity.
- Make it adjustable in case you will buy a different wood lathe in the future.
- Add plenty of storage room. This way you will keep your favorite tools close to you.
- Make it sturdy. You need it to be able to handle the weight of a wood lathe and the workpiece without starting to wobble.
Buying a wood lathe stand
If none of the options above seem good then you can purchase a wood lathe stand. There are different options out there for buying a wood lathe stand.
Most manufacturers have stands that fit their entire wood lathe series. Check the product description and see if the adjustable height and length fit your needs.
If you plan to buy a wood lathe from a specialized wood lathe supplier then make sure that they offer adjustable lathe stands.
How high should the tool rest be on a wood lathe?
Position the tool rest parallel to the blank and as close as possible, with at least 1/4″ clearance.” Be sure that you lock your tool rest securely into place. Spin the workpiece with your hand to see if you’ve done it right.
In conclusion, the height of the wood lathe has to be set based on the size of the person working it, their arm length, and what they are making.
Remember to keep the height of the spindles at elbows height for maximum comfort and accuracy.