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Outboard Tool Rest:  A freestanding tool rest that can be positioned on the outboard side of a lathe to make large turnings.


Many lathes have the ability to do outboard turning, but this feature is often unused. I recently started rehabbing a bowl lathe that my father made when I was a child.  When I priced freestanding tool rests I suffered from a bit of sticker shock.  The project below came about after searching the internet for a less costly solution.  I found some photos and descriptions of converting a steel drum into a freestanding tool rest.  Most involved filling a drum with concrete.  The weight of a 30 gallon drum full of concrete would be over 500#.  Here are the step by step directions I have come up with to make a freestanding tool rest that will support your tool but still allow one person to move it out of the way.  The trick is allowing for an air space that can be filled with water if additional weight is needed.  The hose fitting allows the airspace to be filled with water from a garden hose, and the air fitting allows the water to be removed by applying compressed air.  

The 1" black pipe tool post means that a standard 1" dia. x 8" tool rest can be used.  Feel free to adapt the sizes of the pipe up for a larger tool rest.

 

Click on the pictures to enlarge.  

The first step is to make feet for the tool rest out of scrap 2x4s four inches long.

Next Cut 3 lenths of 3" pipe to provide an air space and allow for a concreate cap on the top.

Fill the 3"pipes with cement and put a section of 1" pipe into the larger 3" pipe.

Draw a circle on plywood to cut out a piece of plywood to form the top of the airspace in the drum.

is is the circle of plywood htat I cut out on the bandsaw.

Next you cut out a circle to allow the disk of plywood to be inserted into the drum.

This is a photo of the ply wood sitting on the concert filled 3" pipe with the tool rest post passing thru the plywood.

This is another photo of the plywood in the drum.

If you need to remove the plywood from the drum put 2" screws into the plywood so you can lift it out.

The next step is to drill holes in the plywood for the pipes. the stripes on top of the drum are to stabilize the pipes when they are put thru the plywood.

Here is another picture of the plywood strips stabilizing the pipes.

picture of both of the pipes in thru the thin strips of wood.

Next use polyurethane foam to fill the voids.

Fill the top of the drum with cement and screed it out.

Thkis is a photo of the pipes running thru the concrete after the cement has started to set.

Attach the pipe fittings so you can add and remove water from the drum.

This is a view of the air fitting to remove the water.

Here is a picture with the air hose attached to the fitting.

Next cut a piece of all thread to make a adjustment knob for the tool post.

This is a phot of the adjustmen knob in the tool rest.

Here is a photo of the compleated tool rest.

This is a photo of the tool rest next to the home made lathe that my father made.

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