Starting with a lathe

One tool I had been lusting after for a while was a lathe. From a practical side, I wanted to be able to make handles for tools. From an aspirational side, I wanted to be able to put the round pad on the bottom of a cabriole leg. Rather than practice woodworking, I went again off shopping.

I started in my usual fashion of researching every lathe ever made. I then rationalized that the cheapest one would be fine to start of with. Then I started thinking I deserve the best lathe out there and it will pay for itself in years to come etc. Then I went back to finding one good enough.

I found this Craftsman lathe with some tools for a good enough price. At the time there were lathes a-plenty being offered on Craigslist and I was able to pick and choose. Now I don’t even see any so I suppose I lucked out when I did.

The lathe is a 113 series. Quite common. Even made by Ridgid at one point. The single tube style is met with plenty derision on the woodworking message boards. I have found though that nothing less than a $5000 Powermatic is viewed as ample so I’ve learned to read the advice posted with a grain of salt.

What I wanted was a machine that spun wood. Also, I wanted some tools and got both.


So, off we go.

The first order of business was to bolt the lathe to the workbench and make sure everything fitted. I sanded down the pole so the the tail-stock was free to move.

Also I knocked out the spur from the head-stock and dead center from the tail-stock.


Here you can see the dead center, the tail-stock spindle and the tail-stock advance wheel.


This is the drive spur. It has a No. 1 Morse taper to keep it held in the spindle. The spindle itself was free to move about a 1/8″ along the axis of the lathe. I found that something had shifted position during its lifetime and would need adjustment back to tighten everything up.


I went then to remove the pulley from the shaft using a combination of beating on the shaft and pulling the pulley until it came free.


Then I found a stop collar with a set screw. I figured this was in the incorrect position.


After having backed out the set screw from the collar, I knocked out the spindle from the head-stock with a socket and a whack or seven from the hammer.


With the spindle out I could see the the stop collar had been in the incorrect position. You can see that the set screw should have pressed onto the flat on the spindle, but was eating into the step between the flat and round of the spindle.

I filed down the part of the spindle that was chewed up.


The bearings themselves looked fine. They are held in place in the head-stock by snap rings.


Content that I had fixed the minor problems, I then hammered everything back together.


I then set the screw in the collar to retain everything in position.

The pin to the left of the spindle is now able to interact with the pulley. It is an indexing pin that allows you to lock the pulley in one position.


The pulley itself needed some filing. It is aluminum, so this was really easy.


While I was at it, I reversed the internal wiring on the motor. This was to make the motor spin in the opposite direction. I thought it would make everything more compact.


Here is everything set up and bolted to the table. I put in an off-cut of a table leg into the lathe and gave it a spin. It worked great.


This is just a photo of what I worked on first. Just using the different gouges and learning how they are to be held.


I then took some square stock and cinched it up. I then gave a go at turning something round from square.


I started turning something that kind of looked like a handle. This was made from some Sapele, which is not very good for turning. I’ve found that tighter-grained woods are better.


All in all, I’m pretty happy with this start.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s