With the feet completed last week it was time to start cutting and welding the metal which will, eventually, resemble a lathe stand. I didn’t have a plan drawn up for the design I simply started to work off some basic critical dimensions.

 The main structure was simple. It was all welded from 2 x 2 x .100 square tubing, the same stuff that I built the milling machine stand from. It was nothing more then a rectangle boxed frame with extended rear legs to accommodate the back splash.

I wanted to try and maximize the amount of space on the lower portion of the stand. The lower section was going to house the tool chest and a couple of shelves to hold my turning stock. For about a week straight my mental planning process was fixated on somehow incorporating the top section of the tool chest as useable space. I came up with some elaborate designs but decided that, in the end, using the top storage section was not going to work out. So the plan is to mount the tool chest as high in the lower stand section as possible and sacrifice the upper storage section. This meant getting rid of the tool chest lid. What was the best way to amputate the lid from the rest of the box? The first plan was to drill all the spot welds out on the piano hinge. After I counted about 20 welds I figured forget that! Then I thought I could slide the hinge pin out of the piano hinge. Well it turns out the hinge pin was peened into the hinge in about 20 spots as well. Ok…looks like its going to get done the fun way. Got the plasma cutter out and in about 20 seconds I had the lid sliced off. With the lid off I was able to lose a couple of inches off the overall height of the chest. If anyone has any suggestions as to what I can do with a tool  chest lid just send them my way.

 With the chest test fit into the stand I could now determine my shelf spacing for the 2 lower shelves. I only had 10 inches to work with. 2 of those inches were going to get lost to the 1” angle iron frame for each shelf. I wanted to ensure that there would be enough space between the shelves for me to get my hands, and eyes, into so that I could scrounge around for miscellaneous turning stock. I figured 4 inches per shelf was too tight. I opted to build a rear pivot into the middle shelf. This way I could mount the center shelf lower which would gain me more room for my hands. The lower shelf now did not have useable space above it however I could now lift my middle shelf up so that I could access my lower shelf. The turning stock will roll towards the rear of the middle shelf when it pivots up but oh well. I’ll build a back to the middle shelf yet so that the turning stock won’t roll out and fall behind the lathe. I made the shelf pivots from a couple of nuts and socket head bolts I had kicking around. If you view the pictures the design is self explanatory. The nuts were simply a way for me to screw the pivot pins into the main stand frame. The shelves will get lined with expanded metal.


I had an evening where I thought I would give the stand some personality. I had bent a piece of 1” square tubing for my metal bending video but I never actually had a use for the bent length. The arc has been kicking around the garage and taking up space (it’s hard to store bent steel). The chunk of steel shone in its debut performance of the video and now it was time for it to reappear in a new act and star in a different role. The arc got sliced up so that it would fit between the 2 rear legs. I had some 304 stainless steel 5/16” round bar left over from the BBQ grates so I cut some sections out and created a decorative top trim section for the stand. The trim serves no purpose other then it allowed me stop tripping over the poorly stored 10 foot bent 1 x 1. I did the original mock up of the trim on the bench but then did the entire SS rod welding when it was mounted to the lathe stand. The SS round steel got TIG welded to the steel using an ER309 filler rod. The tops of the rear legs got capped with a couple of decorative post caps I have had laying around for years. I think the trim touches worked out well, my wife thinks it makes the stand looks like a bed. I can see her point.

 The backsplash is nothing more the 11 gauge steel plasma cut to fit. The backsplash then got stitch welded in from the back side.

 With the main structure completed it is time to focus on the base chip tray and the upper shelving. This is going to lead me into another project. The problem is this. My brain does not always mentally design projects according to what equipment my hands have to work with. My hands continually argue with my brain. The brain wants something a certain way, it’s real stubborn. My hands, as capable as they are, still need certain equipment to perform the tasks my neurological side is insisting on. It’s like my brain has a mind of its own and is oblivious to the fact that just because it sits at the top of my spine it still has other appendages it needs to consider. Anyway…it looks like another project will need to be completed before the lathe stand gets finished.

  1. Andrew says:

    I’m so glad i stumbled onto your blog. I have the same lathe, and want to build a similar stand as yours. Just wondering one thing, what height did you settle on to work comfortably? I was thinking of of 36″ but was curious what you chose!

    • gordsgarage says:

      Hi Andrew, thanks for finding your way to the site. When I built the stand I struggled with height as I wasn’t too sure what would be ideal. I settled on 32.5 inches from the floor to “table top” where the lathe would sit. I have been using it for awhile now and am quite pleased, my back is much happier. I should mention that I am 6 feet in height which I suspect plays a role in the ideal height of the stand.


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