Everything you wanted to know about old woodworking tools and machines!
Wood lathes come in several sizes. One measurement is the length between centers. That how long a piece of stock that can be mounted between the centers on the headstock and tailstock. A 36" lathe for example, will accept a wood block 36 inches long.
Another measurement that determines the size of a wood lathe is the maximum diameter piece of stock that can be turned. That is measured by the distance between the lathe bed and the center line of the lathe centers. It that measurement is 6 inches, the lathe is said to accept a 12 inch diameter piece of stock. Another way to think of this is the maximum diameter of bowl or dish that can be turned while mounted on a faceplate.
Another type of lathe is called a Gap Bed lathe that can accept a larger diameter piece for face plate turning than it can for spindle turning. Gap bed lathes get their name from a gap that exists between the headstock and the ways on the lathe bed.
Another consideration is the speed or variety of speeds that can be used to rotate the stock. A four-speed lathe uses a 4-step pulley on the motor and the headstock. Some lathes also have an additional set of 4-speed pulleys that combine to offer a total of 16 speeds. More modern and expensive lathes come with either a variable speed direct drive or belt driven motor.
Head Stock - The drive end of the lathe. Spindle may be hollow or solid, internally tapered, and externally threaded. Material is held using a spur center in the taper or a chuck or backing plate threaded onto the spindle
Lathe Bed - The rails on which the tool rest and tailstock sit on. May be flat machined cast or steel, some models use round tubing.
Tool Rest - An adjustable bar used to rest cutting tools on.
Banjo - The mechanism that locks the tool rest in place and fastens it to the lathe bed.
Tail Stock - Has three adjustments, along the bed, limited movement across the bed, spindle can be projected or retracted. Material is held with a cup center that fits into the tapered spindle.
Lathe Stand or Legs - the bench or legs upon which the lathe and motor assembly are mounted.
Craftsman 12" Wood Lathe
Powermatic Model 45 Wood Lathe
Powermatic Model 90 Wood Lathe
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