Turning Archive 2005
William Duffield, on the Cohansey
>Thanks for the help in my search for a banjo or tool rest base for a homemade bedpost lathe. I noted in that thread that I had an idea that might solve my problem quickly and cheaply. Today the hardware arrived, from McMaster-Carr, and I assembled it and tried it out.
So, in case anyone else has a similar problem in the future, I'm restating the original problem and my solution.
We have two lathes. One is a Jet 1236, which is equipped with accessories in configurations often found on midsized lathes. We use it to turn finials, bun feet, ballusters, newel posts, quarter columns, chair legs and stretchers, etc. The other is a homemade lathe specifically for turning bedposts. The ways are constructed from a pair of 3" x 9" cross section red oak beams with some mild steel flat stock screwed to the tops for stability and wear resistance. On this lathe, we have been using two old Delta banjos, secured with long bolts and large washers. We tighten and loosen them with a pair of wrenches, one on top and one underneath, and also use the wrenches to knock the large washers back and forth on the underside.
We would like to have more tool rests mounted at the same time, since moving these dinosaurs around is a problem that costs us a lot of time, especially since the ways aren't straight and square to each other. In particular, the bottom surfaces of the ways are not flat and parallel to the top surfaces, and they are just oak, not metal.
We also have two newer design cam locking banjos for the 1236, that are a lot more convenient to use, but they don't fit the bedpost lathe.
Here's how I solved the problem of adapting the JET banjos to Latheosaurus altus.
The threads on the JET banjo's post are 3/4" x 10 tpi. From McMaster-Carr, I ordered a 12" length of 3/4-10 NC all-thread and a matching threaded connector (a really long nut) for each JET banjo. Assembly, installation, and adjustment on the bedpost lathe are easy -- No tools required, and no machining of special components. The nut and washer shown on the threaded rod came with the banjo.
And now, to turn some 8' long 16/4 square mahogany into a four-poster.