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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Currently, my workbench is something I put together before I built my shop, when I worked in my garage. It consists of two cabinet bases mounted on a common foundation on casters, with a solid-core door on top. It's too big, too high, no vises - really, it just doesn't function well. Also, I have a lathe that I inherited from my late father-in-law. When I moved the lathe from his shop, I also moved the lathe bench he built for it. But because he had open studs in his shop, and the wall where I put it was paneled, the stand doesn't really work well for me. Tonight, I had this idea....

I could disassemble the workbench, and use the cabinet bases directly on the floor, with the solid-core door still on top, and mount the lathe to that. Then, I could go buy a workbench (I'm thinking of the Harbor Freight 60" workbench) that would be much better as a workbench than what I have.

Are there flaws in my thinking? Would the cabinet bases and door make a decent bench for the lathe? Are there better workbenches out there? (I can get the HF bench right now for about $135 if the 20% coupon applies, but I don't mind spending a bit more for a better bench).

Also - one reason for a new workbench is to use it as an outfeed table for my table saw, which I want to move to the center of the shop. But I would then have to run the power cord for the saw across the floor, and use an extension cord. Am I asking for trouble there?

Thanks,
Harry
 

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Harry ,
a bit more information about the lathe will be helpful.
There may be someone out there who has the same make and model of machine and may be able to advise you about the suitability of your benchtop lathe stand choices .

A photo won't go astray either
 

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I would think you could buy the lumber and custom make a bench exactly how you want it and it would be sturdier and likely cheaper
 

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As stated - pictures would help us help you. In the meantime... check out my solid core bench and what I did with it. The box of bamboo flooring I used to cover it cost me about $55 - 3 years ago. Here is the link
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/versatile-small-shop-work-bench-unique-40361/

The thread is lengthy but I'm proud of what I did... entered the bench with ShopNotes magazine and got to be the winner for issue #132. I'm getting ready to re-work my bench to make it height adjustable. Thanks to some folks on this site (Dave Paine specifically), I have a plan and I will be executing it in a couple of weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The lathe is a Craftsman model 113.228162. I'll attach a photo, not a great one, but it's what I have handy. That picture was in my F-I-L's shop (and while he was alive it was *never* that messy!).

I've started to build a new workbench several times. I get stuck in decision land and never get any further. So I thought buying one would get me past that point!

Harry
 

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I have 2 of the Harbor Freight work benches you are talking about. My opinion is that they are decent work benches but I would not use them for any type of "heavy duty" work. The one bench I use strictly for sanding work. The bench dog holes are 5/8" and need to be drilled out to 3/4" to use common bench dog accessories and the vises are very sloppy. I drilled out the bench dog holes on both tables and I fixed the sloppiness on both vises by making bushings to insert in the table where the slides go. If I was to do it over again, I would build my own work benches. The time I put into making these benches better, I could have built a lot better quality and a lot more durable work bench.

The other work bench that you currently have made out of cabinets for the base, the top should be okay to mount a lathe to but I would be concerned about the cabinets for the base. Depending on what you want to turn on the lathe, I could for see that the cabinets would "rack" out of shape over time if not properly braced.
 

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I've started to build a new workbench several times. I get stuck in decision land and never get any further. So I thought buying one would get me past that point!
Buying a bench just means accepting whatever dimensions and construction comes with the bench.

For a lathe, you really should have the axis of the headstock at the desired height. Put one hand on the opposite shoulder. The height of the elbow on this arm is the desired height of the axis of the headstock.

Now build a bench which will allow the lathe to be at the desired height. Not complicated.

I made mine from 4x4 ash for the legs and 2x lumber for the frame and top with a piece of plywood for lower shelf. I did make a full length drawer for various turning tools and accessories.

I have casters if I need to move around. Each post has levelling screw so I can lock in position.

NOVA_Stand_top_1018.jpg

NOVA_Stand_bottom_1019.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
"For a lathe, you really should have the axis of the headstock at the desired height. Put one hand on the opposite shoulder. The height of the elbow on this arm is the desired height of the axis of the headstock."

That's interesting, I've never seen that tip. Since I'm pretty tall (6'5"), that says my lathe table should be fairly high. I guess I do need to reconsider what I'm doing here.

Harry
 

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That's interesting, I've never seen that tip. Since I'm pretty tall (6'5"), that says my lathe table should be fairly high. I guess I do need to reconsider what I'm doing here.
At your height it would be best for you to build something to meet your needs. A purchased bench would likely be too low for the lathe causing you to be hunched over all the time. Not good for the back. :thumbdown:
 

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Given the opportunity to build a lathe bench, I'd make some horizontal tool slots under the bench for putting tools. I've been considering building one for my lathe now that I've got the bed extension... it's too big and heavy now to be picking up and putting on my main bench.

Also the height is a consideration. Making a bench height such that you don't have to bend over too much (if you're tall) is a really nice thing. I bumped the height of my main bench by I think 3 inches when I built it. Much more comfortable for me to work on than "standard" height benches.
 
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