Making a stand for a Record Power CL3 Professional lathe

I’ve attached the SketchUp file below for anyone interested in making one themselves. It’s easily modifiable for most other wood turning lathes, in fact it’s based on an own ad-hoc design that I made for my own much smaller Axminster lathe. These are not full plans - it’s just my own SketchUp file that I used to guide the project.

If you’re going to make one:

  1. Attach the completed stand to the floor.

  2. Attach the lathe to the stand - don’t just sit it on top.

Download the SketchUp file here (SKP).

This is a stand commissioned by a friend for his Record Power CL 3 Professional woodturning lathe.

It’s made from simple framing timber, mostly 69mm (3”x3”) stock and 12mm (3/8”) marine plywood. Unfortunately the only framing timber I could get was both chamfered and a little warped so some of the construction ended up being more difficult than it should have been.

The design I put together in SketchUp.

The goal is to safely and firmly support the heavy machine, while allowing the worker to stand as close as possible and to move around the workpiece. The stand needs to be resistant to any cyclic movement caused by an out of balance workpiece. Regardless of the construction, it is always advisable to attach a lathe stand directly to the floor. I include floor level cross members in the design to make this process more easy but as you’ll see in the final photo my friend added some in himself before I got around to it. :)

These criteria can be difficult to bring together so lathe stands can and do end up looking a bit strange but there tends to be a certain elegance to the wooden ones in particular.

The stand is comprised of two parts, a frame, which is the primary support for the lathe and a cabinet which provides a couple of enclosed shelves and two small drawers for clean storage. The upper surface of the cabinet serves to catch shavings and dust falling from the lathe above. The open rails of the lathe serve to allow shavings to fall through in an effort to reduce the build up of shavings around the workpiece and tooling.

The cabinet is set back to allow the worker to get in as close as possible. It probably adds a little extra rigidity to the stand too but its purpose is really as a shavings catcher and for storage.

Making the Frame

Getting Started

The frame is built as two inverted “U” shapes forming the front and back, that are joined at three points; a central block, the supporting frame for the cabinet and floor level cross members. The floor level cross members are necessary depending on the size of the finished piece. It’s a little counter intuitive but the larger and heavy the lathe (resulting in a larger heavier stand) the less likely you are to need the floor level cross members because the legs are attached directly to the floor with proportionally larger fixings. I.e. my lathe is smaller than the CL 3 picture and my stand has wider cross members to counter the fact that its ((height and width) to weight) ratio is less stable than with this heavier lathe and stand combination.

I began with a drive to my local builders’ merchant for the usual planed 3x3 white deal only to find them out of stock. A discussion with a couple of friends led to me trying a builders’ merchant slightly further away but still within reach of my 40 year old Land Rover and I was able to get pretty much what I needed.

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“The PLAN”

As always the plan grew significantly as the project unfolded.

The majority of the frame is made from chamfered and planed construction 3x3 softwood, which are about 68mm square. I say “about” because there’s a lot of variance in this cheap framing material. I would have preferred to use non-chamfered stock too but this was all I could get. I wrote up an initial check list on my whiteboard.

Then broke down the unwieldy 2.4m (8ft) stock into approximate lengths for the legs, cross members and the central block. Then brought these to exact length using a temporary OSB fence because they’re too big for my mini cross-cut sled.


Central Block

I encountered a minor hitch when I found my only 10mm spade bit to be heavily warped. I remembered that my CMT pocket hole bit has a 10mm diameter and is long enough to drill the dowel holes if done in two passes so I was back in action.

The next day I glued up the central block. I’d ended up with some older non-chamfered timber for the central block because I had a few short offcuts knocking around that I could make good use of. It is 69mm square rather than the 68mm of the chamfered stock, so I planed the inner facing surfaces before gluing.

When the glue had dried enough to continue, I cleaned off the squeeze out and marked up dowel locations. There are three sets of dowels:

  1. Four 10mm dowels to unify the two sides of the block in an effort to resist further tendency of this soft timber to twist.

  2. Three 25mm dowels on the front to perform the same task between the front “U” leg assembly and the central block.

  3. Another three 25mm dowels from the rear “U” leg assembly through to the central block.

I drilled and glued in the 10mm dowels. Then I flush cut the dowel from the surface and planed the two outward facing surfaces to be square to each other ready to be glued (and eventually doweled with the 25mm dowels) to the leg assemblies. I marked up the 25mm dowels only to make sure that I didn’t interfere with the 10mm dowel positions - they’d be drilled later.

Lastly lightly chamfered the edges of the block where it would meet each leg assembly in order to match the other timber. I used one of my wife’s grandfather’s planes for the planing. It is a lovely old Booth Brothers (of Dublin) smoothing plane. About a hundred years old and still has plenty of life in it.

Leg Assemblies

Moving to the leg assemblies, I matched each cross member to a pair of legs and to a specific side of the central block.

I referenced the dowel hole positions for the 25mm dowels on the relevant side of the central block and marked up the cross members. Drilling these on my tiny drillpress wasn’t easy but I managed with a bit of creative clamping.

The half-laps cut into the legs help transfer the weight of the lathe through to the floor as well as providing more gluing area. I used a sacrificial fence with the table saw’s mitre gauge to limit tear out while making all of the repeat cuts, including the rebates for the half-lap joints. I used a flat tooth ground grooving blade (4mm) for the half-laps.

I glued up and clamped each assembly independently, adding two screws to each joint while the glued dried. With hindsight I think the aesthetic would have been better had I gone back and replaced these screws with dowels or at least plugged them but such is the way of things. Then I had a beer.

Coming back I unified the two assemblies with the central block using glue and clamps, then added the 25mm dowels.

I used two different types of hardwood for the dowels for a little visual contrast, no grand designs - just messing about really. The outer two dowels are beech and the inner some unknown off-white hardwood, with a waxy texture and unpleasant scent when cut. Unfortunately the beech “25mm” dowel rod I purchased ended up being 27mm diameter so I popped them on the lathe for a few seconds and reduced them to the required 25mm in no time at all. With glue added, the dowels were a snug fit and had to be persuaded into place with a rubber mallet. When the glue dried I flush cut the dowels on both sides and then sanded the frame all over with 80 and 120 grits.

Making the Cabinet

Cabinet Support

I decided to fit the support for the cabinet to the frame first. This allowed me to make the cabinet fit the frame rather than attempting to do it the other way around and it worked well.

For the support I ripped a 2x4 down the middle and created a simple H-frame. There are half-laps at each end so that each narrow cross member between the front and bag legs on one side, supports the full length cross member with a full width lap. I clamped, glued and screwed the narrow cross members first before adding gluing in the full length cross member to form the “H” in-situ. I set the “H” back from the front of the lathe stand to give a little extra knee room for the woodturner.

Cabinet Body

I decided to test drive a cabinet layout I have in mind for a writing desk. It’s a simple and clean construction, consisting of two central drawers with an open cubby to each side. Despite the butt joints it is strong thanks to no less than 36 dowels. My intention with the eventual desk is to make it entirely from Irish beech but for this project 12mm marine ply is the material of choice because I have some left over from a project that never happened (oops!), and because it’s less prone to moisture damage than regular plywood.

I found out quickly that my stock of marine plywood has been sitting around too long because I encountered far too many tear out issues when cross-cutting, even with my tracksaw’s splinter guard. I had no option but to continue with it and accept that the finish wouldn’t be as fine as I would have liked. It’s also possible that the ply was mislabeled as marine. Either way, it ended up more than sufficiently weatherproofed for its eventual location in a shed workshop and I did what I could to mitigate the tear out.

I rough cut a full 2.4 x 1.22 sheet of 12mm ply into oversized components using a circular saw and then used my tracksaw to cut the top and bottom panels for the cabinet from these. I cut them to exact length using the table saw. I’ve mentioned the inaccuracy of the Bosch GTS10XC’s sliding table before and again it caused issues here. Note to self: make a panel sled!!

I ripped a couple of long strips to cross cut into the five vertical partitions and the rear panel of the cabinet and lastly did a dry fit to see what it would look like when put together. Almost finished right?! ;-)

The gluing and doweling process was a bit tricky. I glued up the cabinet casing in stages.

  1. Each end piece were fitted to the bottom panel.

  2. The top was added to make a basic box frame.

  3. The outer partitions of the drawer cabinet were added.

  4. The central partition was added.

  5. The back panel was fitted.

During each of the above stages, I clamped and predrilled the dowel holes as much as was possible to assist with the glue up. Then applied glue and added the dowels and clamps to finally fit the piece in place. It made the process a little slow as I had to wait for the glue to dry after stages 1 and 2. At least 3, 4 and 5 could all be done in one go.

I flush cut the 36 dowels as each batch of glue joints cured — then sanded the entire unit carefully. The tear out issue continued to frustrate me throughout the doweling process into the intial phases of sanding as the plywood delaminated at the lightest of touches. I applied multiple coats of hard wax oil, sanding in between until the unit finally began to resist further delamination when touched or rubbed at the edges. The problem wouldn’t have been anywhere near as bad had I cut the main panels with the out veneer’s grain running the opposite direction but such is life since I had no way of predicting the weak top layer of veneer glue. At least the finished unit feels lovely to the touch even if there are a few unsightly tear out points still visible.

Making the Drawers

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Well that hurt

It was about this point in the project that I put the sharp end of a vintage dividers through the top of my thumb along the side of the nail. It was a nasty little cut and left a splinter of dirty steel inside my thumb that I eventually dug out and it got (minorly) infected. It kept me out of the workshop for a couple of days, not because I couldn’t do anything but because I kept dropping things due to where the injury’s position so it wasn’t safe. A bread poultice each night for a couple of nights saw to the infection.

The drawers were relatively straight forward. I used the same 12mm ply for the drawer box and used some reclaimed oak for the fronts.

I cut a drawer base to suit the let and right drawer openings and routed a rebate around all four edges of each to receive the front, back, left and right sides. Similarly I milled a rebate on the left and right sides to accommodate the front and back. The result was probably overkill for such tiny drawers in a workshop piece of furniture but will benefit from being extremely strong with all of that gluing area.

I glued them up held by a combination of a band clamp and downward pressure from quick clamps.

Simple plastic screwcaps were added as pseudo drawers sliders. These are an experiment and I can swap in something else if they don’t last.

I waxed the interior surface of each drawer opening for additional protection and to increase slickness for the sliding action.

For drawer pulls I used an offcut of yew from the knife handle I made for my father-in-law. This I split neatly down the center, sanded and burnished to a fine finish. Fitted with CA glue and then screwed from inside. They have a lovely tactile feel. They also have the same slightly clashing appearance against the drawer fronts as the knife handle had against the oak sheath but I can live with that because the over all effect of the finished drawers in the cabinet works well. I’m not there yet in terms of material choice, construction and finish but I’m on the right track.

I made an error at the point of fitting the drawer fronts. I was planing each drawer front down to fit its opening with an exact 2mm gap at each edge. I had the left drawer front finished and was working on the right drawer front when I accidentally selected and planed the left drawer front an extra time when I was meant to pick up the right drawer front. I ended up having to raise the drawer a little its opening in order to balance the two drawers again. The difference is visible to me and it’s a mistake I won’t make again. I finished the drawers with a combination of hard wax oil and danish oil, giving them a lovely satin sheen.

Making the CLAMP BLOCKS

Even though I have exact measurements for the Record Power CL3 Professional from the downloadable user manual, I still wanted to make the stand capable of holding other lathes in case my friend changes in the future. I made hardwood *clamping blocks that would engage beneath the rails of the frame in whatever position makes most sense.

I milled up some beech and laminated two boards together for each clamp block. Then chamfered the edges for comfortable handling and drilled a 12mm hole to match the size of retaining bolt recommended in the lathe’s user manual for fixing the lathe to its bench or stand.

Both were sanded to 240 grit and finished these with a couple of coats of danish oil followed by a couple of hard wax oil coats leaving them with a similarly tactile satin feel as the cabinet.

*In my original design I had fixed retaining blocks that the bolts would pass through. I got as far as cutting timber for these which are the short blocks of framing timber visible in a couple of the photos earlier in this write up. The clamp block approach worked out much better.

FINISHING UP

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PLAN COMPLETE!

The frame received three coats of a hard finish satin varnish - combined with the waxed cabinet it looks pretty good. Here it is, already in use with some shavings already on-board.

Due to time constraints, I had to deliver the frame first and returned later to fit the cabinet so my friend fitted his own floor level cross members before I had made the ones in the plans, and they work fine. Notice how the stand is connected to the floor and to adjacent benches.

The whole thing is rock steady and easy to stand in closer to the lathe than his previous set up, which were the two primary goals.

I just wish I’d pushed in the right drawer properly before I took the photo!!