Turning Archive 2005
William Duffield, on the Cohansey
>This is in response to the thread below, started by Mike Recciione, in which he is looking for a design for a steady rest for a lathe with a small swing.
I designed and built this steady rest, based on Herman de Vries design, to be used on a JET 1236 and also on a 10' long homemade, mostly wooden bedpole lathe, which also has a 12" swing. It works for small spindles, large spindles, and hollow forms. Mike provided a link to Herman's rest in the previous thread. The biggest difference between mine and that one is the carriage. Mine allows a larger diameter turning to be supported than if the carriage were directly under the bars that hold the wheels.
Since I didn't have a hollow form in the shop to illustrate, I mounted a carving mallet between centers, just as a point of reference. I didn't need the steady rest, of course, to turn this mallet.
View from the headstock:
View from the tailstock:
View from the side, showing adjustments. This shows that there is room to drop the lower bar all the way to the bed, allowing a much larger diameter piece to be steadied. Also, note that a 12" toolrest can suport a tool all the way to the center line of the wheels. Of course, the supporting threaded rods would get in your way the last couple inches or so.
The fixed and moveable carriages are made from 8/4 hard maple. The allthread that supports the beams holding the wheels is bolted to the carriage with nuts top and bottom. The tops of the threaded rods got missed in both photos. It goes up a couple more inches and stops. The 4 smaller bolts at the corners are just to hold the carriage together. They should be supplemented by glue, once you have gotten all the kinks worked out of yours.
Two bolts in the carriage attach to these bedway clamps, which go under the bed. The boltheads are countersunk in the timbers, for additional clearance. I was too cheap to buy a couple more cast iron ones from JET, so I made them from maple.
For the bedpost latheosaurus, whose bed is made from a pair of 3x12s, the bolts are extended using the same hardware we use to secure the toolrest banjos.
As I noted to Mike in the previous post, we had a rather spectacular failure turning some long, thin spindles on the bedpost lathe, using old rollerblade wheels. I finally got a good look at the wheel this evening.
I have no idea. I wasn't there when it happened. The guy who did it is new to the art of turning, and it was his first use of this or any other steady rest. There's no use asking him what went wrong. He doesn't have much empathy with the turning tools yet. Maybe a bearing froze. There is severe damage to the hub as well as the tread.
Anyway, after the spinout in turn three, he limped back to the pits and replaced the wheels with smaller diameter, harder skateboard wheels, with high temperature sealed bearings, and completed the job without further incidents. There is one wheel in the upper bar, and two wheels in the lower bar.
Note the cutout he needed to make in the lower beam, to accommodate the smaller wheels and also very small diameter spindles.
With its approximately 2" square timbers and 3/4" diameter allthread and nuts and washers, this is probably more robust than would be needed for Mike's Delta Midi, but when you turn on the lathe, a 9 foot long 4x4 gets your attention real fast.