Friday, September 15, 2017

2x4 Roubo Style Workbench Lathe Stand (part 2)

The Roubo workbench lathe stand is all finished and now it is time to start mounting the tools onto the top. I plan to mount the large Harbor Freight lathe, the small Harbor Freight lathe, and maybe some other smaller things as well, if I have room. I'll also be needing to make new lathe tool racks that I will probably mount onto the ends, like I did with the metal cart. I could transfer the old racks, but they were a real pain in the ass to mount to that cart, so until I decide what I want to do with the cart, I think I will just leave those racks there for now. It will be easier to just make new ones for the workbench.

On to mounting the large lathe. The mounting holes are kind of hard to get to, so I thought it would be a good idea to make a mounting block, which would be easier to handle for mounting to the bottom of the lathe frame, and then screw the mounting block down to the table top. This plan had several advantages. First, the aforementioned ease of mounting. Second, it raised the lathe up another couple of inches, which allows for easier cleaning under the lathe frame, allows some hand access to the under side of the ways for adjusting the bottom nut on the banjo (tool rest arm), and finally, it puts the lathe closer to the same height it would have been when it was mounted on its old metal legs.

 I cut two 10" long sections of 2x10 to use as mounting blocks. I positioned them under the lathe and marked the hole positions. Then I drilled them through on the drill press. The heads of the bolts that I use for mounting these blocks to the lathe will be on the underside of the block, so I have to countersink a hole for the head of the bolt and a washer to fit into.

The ends of the bolts are stuck up through the mounting holes in the lathe frame, and torqued down with nuts and lock washers. This firmly attaches the mounting block to the lathe frame, but the lathe can still be slid around to whatever position on the table I want.

Once I choose the right location, I drive several 3" deck screws down through the mounting block and into the table top. Should I ever decide to shift the position of the lathe (or unmount it), I can remove the deck screws and move the lathe without fussing with the mounting bolts or drilling new holes.

.So, here is the large lathe, all mounted up. Next comes the small lathe, which will be mounted to the opposite side of the table.
 The only mounting tabs on the small lathe are where the little rubber feet attach, so I had to remove those. But then with no feet, the motor hits the table because it sticks down lower than the bottom of the frame, so that means I need mounting blocks for this one as well.

 I made these mounting blocks out of scraps of 3/4" MDF, and just screwed straight through the mounting holes, through the blocks, and down into the table top.

The final tool to mount was my Work Sharp 3000. It is what I use to sharpen my lathe chisels (and hand plane blades, and wood chisels...).  I may squeeze a bench grinder on there too. We'll see.

After I got the Work Sharp 3000 mounted, I did decide to try to add the bench grinder too. That way all my sharpening options would be in the same place as the lathes. So, I had to unmount the Work Sharp and re-orient it to make the bench grinder fit.

OK, one last thing to do- casters. This thing weighs a metric ass-load. The large lathe alone is about 100 lbs. The small lathe is probably 60 lbs. or more. I'd guess the whole mess weighs somewhere around 350-400 lbs. With everything mounted, even lifting one end is a chore. My intention was to mount two casters onto the side of the legs at one end. Then I can tip it up from one end, and move it like a wheelbarrow. This is the same trick I used on my great grandfather's workbench, and it works just fine for that.

 While fixing the caster to the side of the legs, I needed to lift the end up a little so I could get to the lowest set of screws, the ones closest to the floor. I had to use a 2x6 as a lever to lift the end up high enough to get the floor jack under it.

This thing is heavy as FUCK!. There is no way the wheelbarrow trick is going to work. Maybe if I added some handles I could do it in an emergency, but I think I really need to find a better way to move this thing. So, it's back to YouTube to search for videos of DIY retractable tool bases. Luckily I am not the only person to face this problem, so there are quit a few designs out there for caster bases with lever mechanisms that lift the tool or workbench up onto the casters when engaged, and then lower it back down onto its legs when disengaged. Now I just have to decide which design will work best for my needs.


I had planned to wrap this post up with the completion of the lifting casters, but they are not done yet, and I don't know if or when they will be. I am taking a break from blogging for a while. All of my current projects have been exhausted and my life is such that I am not producing anything at the moment. I have no idea if or when I will be back. Thank you all for reading this blog and letting me share my projects with you. I hope you enjoyed them. Good bye.  -Marx



  1. Good luck and I hope it will all be good!

  2. Hope you are well!
    Checking almost daily in hope of finding anything that indicates a positive outcome of the situation.

    1. There is no improvement. There will likely never be improvement. Only a growing familiarity with one's situation, which begets a modest amount of functionality. That is as positive as it is going to get.

    2. Sad to hear, but I know that feeling :-/

  3. Fingers crossed that everything gets sorted out and your situation improves!

  4. @Heribert, I just wanted to thank you for your words of concern and encouragement. Just knowing that someone was paying attention has helped me through some of my darker days more than you will ever know.