Homemade wooden lathe

These pages are about building my wooden lathe.

Part of my goal was to experiment with using wooden bearings for a project. So far, no sign of wear on them. But it would be easy enough to swap out the bearing blocks for bearing holders to change it to sleeve or ball bearings.

Wooden bearings used to be more commonly used. The very hard wood "lignum vitae" is particularly suited for bearings, but I wanted to see if ordinary domestic hardwoods would do for a relatively light duty application. So far, so good.

The lathe is very light (9 kg, plus motor). This makes it easy to put away, but also more prone to vibration than a heavy cast iron lathe. Clamping it down to a heavy workbench mitigates the problem to some degree.

Building the lathe

Building a lathe
Lathe improvements
Homemade 4-jaw lathe chuck
Follow up (frequently asked questions)
Buy plans for the lathe

This lathe, as built by Murph's workshop (YouTube)

Projects using the homemade lathe:

Ball (turning a sphere) (2016)
Spinning top (2016)
Bowl (2016)
Captive ring baby rattle (2016)
Grinding a machine taper with an angle grinder (2016)
Tippe top the self inverting spinning top (2016)
Wooden ball bearing (2016)
Chair legs (2020)
Architect lamp pedestal base (2023)

More lathe projects:

A previous
Bowl on the lathe (2012)
Making coat hooks on the lathe (2012)
Turning bed posts for a queen size bed (2009)
Pekka Svinhufvud's
Segmented bowl turning (2012)

More homemade lathes:

Beri's homemade lathe (2011)
Ryszard's homemade lathe (2013)
Brian Kerr's router lathe (2013)