How to make your own lathe tailstock and tool rest

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If you love woodworking and are in desperate need of a new lathe, this project might interest you. Instead of spending a lot of money to buy a new lathe, why not consider making one out of old wood?

If this sounds interesting to you, follow this simple guide to find out how.

DIY lathe work
sauce: Mazay DIY/YouTube

For this kind of project you will first need a few things:

Tools and Equipment Required

Once you have all the tools and materials, it’s time to get started on this epic build.

Step 1: Make the Lathe Tailstock

The first step is to make the tailstock for your DIY lathe. Use various pieces of wood and metal, cut to size and assemble as shown in the video.

To complete this stage, you will also need a coring tool and other parts such as nuts and bolts.

DIY lathe headstock
sauce: Mazay DIY/YouTube

Unfortunately, no measurements are provided, so you’ll have to give it a try and see how it goes. As you can imagine, you’ll need a variety of hand tools and other equipment to get this step done quickly.

In this video the creator uses a variety of DIY tools to get the job done, and you could take the time to build your own version, or more realistically, buy your own version.

Step 2: Build the Tool Rest

Now that we have the tailstock of our DIY lathe completed, we can move on to making the tool rest. As with the headstock, mark and cut out the various wooden pieces we need as shown in the video.

Unfortunately, as with the headstock, no dimensions are provided, so here too we are left to guess. Of course, this is also a bit of an advantage, as you can define the size and shape of the tool rest to your own tastes and needs.

DIY lathe tool rest
sauce: Mazay DIY/YouTube

Do the same for the metal parts as you did for the tailstock. Once the assembly is complete, secure it to the lathe body as shown in the image above.

This special tool rest is naturally adjustable and can be moved above and below the lathe body, and can also be positioned at an angle to the head and tailstock for maximum flexibility when actually using the lathe – or it can of course be fixed in place.

Once this is done, you will be able to actually test the tailstock and tool rest and adjust them as needed.

Step 3: Test the pieces

Clamp the scrap wood between the head and tailstock of the lathe and position the tool rest if desired. Once that’s done, turn the lathe on and start machining the piece of wood as desired.

If all goes to plan, your lathe should work like a dream, and you can even test how well it works by putting the tool rest in different positions.

DIY lathe completed
sauce: Mazay DIY/YouTube

If any part of the lathe tailstock or tool rest needs improvement we will do that, otherwise you now have a great lathe to use for great projects down the road.

So go ahead and use your DIY lathe to try your hand at a little wood turning project, but what about making, say, a new vase out of colored pencils?

Good luck.

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