Making a lathe stand for an Axminster Craft AC240WL (AWSL)
Making a lathe stand for an Axminster Craft AC240WL (Hobby AWSL)
The owner of the stand I recently made for his Record Power CL3, commissioned another stand for the Axminster Craft range lathe, that he uses as a secondary machine dedicated to smaller work. As luck would have it this is basically the same machine as the Axminster Hobby lathe that I have and the stand for his is an improved version of the one I made for my own. It is a lighter and simpler version of the stand that I made for his CL3, so I was able to re-use the same plans. It is scaled down, with a single rather than two drawer cabinet.
Leg height is the same at just under 700mm, the width of the frame is about 200mm, the feet are about 450mm in length and the stand is almost exactly one metre (1000mm) long.
I started with an immediate problem. The timber I had available comprises all of the left overs that I didn’t use on the previous stand because I didn’t consider them good enough! - most of it was warped and difficult to work with and that hadn’t changed in the intervening weeks. I tried to both select the boards and to cut them so that I could minimise the impact of the warped timber on production process. I used the mitre saw to do the rough cutting and then gathered all the parts together.
I couldn’t use my crosscut sled for the final length cuts because my saw isn’t big enough to cut 70mm stock with the sled in place. Instead I added a sacrificial zero clearance fence to the mitre gauge and used it for the cuts. About halfway through the stand, my tablesaw and dust extractor both cut out suddenly. After some head scratching and testing I traced the problem to the plug-board where I found that the solder joint holding the earth wire to the three pole switch had failed leaving the tools unearthed. Thankfully the board cut all power when the earth was lost.
Marking up and drilling the dowel holes came next. In reality, there is so much glue area between the two top supports and the central block that no further joinery is required but the dowels add a bit of confidence and add a visual cue in the otherwise bland appearance of the framing timber. I had to get a bit creative when drilling the holes because my drill press is too small to drill a 70mm deep hole in one go. I ended up drilling about 30mm, then lifting the workpiece to drill the rest. This had to be lined up and clamped really carefully because - um - let’s just say it’s not the safest approach, and is not one I recommend.
With the holes drilled, I glued up the top of the stand and then fitted the dowels. The spade bit is marked 22mm but is actually closer to 21mm, which meant that I had to give the four dowels a quick spin on the lathe to bring them down to size. This takes just a few seconds and I forgot to snap any photos as a result. I extended the holes into the central block after the glue had cured, and then fitted the reduced diameter dowels with some wood glue and an excessively large mallet. I trimmed them flush to the surface and then filled a few knot holes and cracks with fast acting CA glue before sanding all faces of the timber with 80 grit sandpaper.
Up next I cut the legs to length and then marked each for a half-lap joint to attach it to the top of the stand. I cut away the bulk of the waste using the bandsaw before cleaning up each joint face using the crosscut sled on the tablesaw. This creates much less dust and is faster to do. I flipped the stand top upside down and clamped it to the bench, and marked the position of each leg ready to receive glue.
I glued on two legs and waited for the glue to cure completely before doing the second pair. Getting them square to the top proved a little difficult, I really need to make some clamping squares to help with glue ups like this.
With both ends in place I marked up, drilled and fitted two 12mm dowels for a little extra strength at each corner joint. With each of the corner dowels cut flush, I rounded over the sharp edges on the frame top. I love that this type of joinery removes the need for any metal fixings.
I broke down a scrap of 2x4 to create enough material for the cabinet’s support. First I ripped it straight down the middle to create two light bars, almost square section. From one of these I cut a pair of 230mm lengths to create the cross supports that attach to the legs of the stand. The remaining longer bar I crosscut to the exact length (865mm) between the inner edges of the stand legs. I cut half-laps identically to doing leg joints and when put together we have a simple “H” shape to rest the cabinet upon. There is no glue used in the fixing of the cabinet to the supports, nor between the supports and the frame, which allows the owner to remove both should he choose to at the compromise of having all the weight resting on the screws. For a tiny, single drawer cabinet, that should be no problem.
I had almost a half sheet of 12mm plywood left over from the cabinet on the first stand and this provided just enough for the cabinet and a single drawer. Knowing how badly this ply chipped out on the previous build I was more careful about veneer orientation. I tried to have as many of the long cuts as possible in line with the grain of the outer veneer and this made a noticeable difference, with significantly less chip out compared to last time.
Construction of the cabinet is incredibly simply - glue with careful clamping and checking for square as I went because I did the glue up in one go, which is a bit tricky when it’s all butt joints. After the glue set up, I sanded the cabinet to 120 grit.
Construction of the drawer box was almost identical to the cabinet but I included a rebate around the base because it will be having tools and lathe accessories taken in and out on a regular basis.
For both the cabinet and the drawer box, I came back afterwards and added some 3mm bamboo dowels to give a little extra support in key areas. After the first couple caused massive veneer blow out (similar to that experiences with the cabinet on the previous stand), I tried using my Tony Sway SqWAYre as a template for the dowel holes and immediately began producing perfectly clean holes with almost no damage. Learning is good. Thank you Mr. Sway.
With all of the dowels in place and flush cut I sanded everything to 240 grit.
At this point I noticed two major errors. I hadn’t left enough space to add some plastic sliders to the drawer base and I’d made the drawer box such a snug fit that air couldn’t escape quickly enough for easy drawer movement when it’s moved in and out. I performed a box cut on the tablesaw to address this. Usually it’s done to separate a closed box into two sections to create a box and lid but here I was just shaving 10mm from the top and it worked a treat. With the drawer height sorted out, I chamfered the base and the drawer front as a little visual accent, and then re-sanded everything to 240 grit again before drilling and gluing in the little plastic sliders to the drawer base. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the box of brown ones that I used last time and had to resort to white, which was a pity but they’re never seen so I can live with that.
I made a little handle for the drawer using a scrap of yew to match the handles I made for the previous lathe stand. This should work nicely since the two stands will be side by side in the owner’s workshop. I finished the frame with danish oil, the drawer with two coats of shellac and the cabinet with clear wax that I buffed out.
With the stand finished, it was time for a bottle of cider. I like cider.