Bottom Shelf for Powermatic 3520C Lathe

Bottom Shelf for Powermatic 3520C Lathe Photo: Bottom Shelf for Powermatic 3520C Lathe

I added a Bottom Shelf to my new Powermatic 3520C lathe with roughly 240 lbs of stone ballast. It is really a two level shelf. With stone on the bottom and a storage shelf above.

The new shelf is similar to one on my old Powermatic 3520B lathe. But, better. Wider and I painted it to match the lathe. See very last photo for old PM 3520B self.

I believe that all lathes, no matter how good they are, can benefit from 200+ lbs of weight added to the bottom. It reduces the "rock rattle and roll" of the lathe when you mount a big and/or out of balance piece on the lathe.

Note: For more info on my new lathe see "My New Powermatic 3520C Lathe Verses My Old Powermatic 3520B Lathe" blog entry.

Photo: Skip Ahead for a Minute Skip Ahead for a Minute

The above photo has all of the stone I added for weight covered up so you can NOT see it.

Here is what the stone looked like before I covered it up.

Now lets go back and see how I made the shelf.

Photo: Bottom of Leg on PM 3520C Lathe Bottom of Leg on PM 3520C Lathe

Here is what the bottom of the legs on the new PM 3520C lathe look like. I have the 4" riser blocks installed.

The photo also shows upper and lower shelf supports that are cast into the PM 3520C legs.

Photo: My Shelf Support My Shelf Support

The bottom of the shelf on my old PM 3520B lathe was roughly 9" off the floor. I liked that shelf height. It left room for my human feet under the shelf. It was relatively easy to clean under. It also left room for a second shelf on top of the stone where I could store things like my jam and vacuum chucks.

I have also added shelves to my Oneway 2436 lathes. I have decided that 8" under the shelf for your feet and clean up is a good height.

On my old PM 3520B lathe I used the upper shelf support cast into the legs. It was good. I decided it was NO good on my new PM 3520C lathe with the riser blocks installed. Both the upper and lower cast in shelf supports are to high up for my purposes. Your mileage may vary.

Thus I decided to make my own shelf support. I cut a 2×4 to fit on top of the feet. See photo. I reduced the height of the 2×4 to make the bottom of shelf 8" above the floor.

For something like this you are better off going with a nice Douglass Fir 2×4 from your local lumber yard. Avoid the cheaper pine 2x4s. DF only costs a buck or two more.

Photo: Close Up of My Shelf Support Close Up of My Shelf Support

Here is a close up shot of how I cut the end of my shelf supports on the band saw to fit. With 200+ lbs of weight on the shelf I figure it will be secure enough. Thus no bolts or glue. Later, I will screw the shelf down to the shelf supports so they can not shift around and come out.

Photo: Plywood Top to Block Shavings Plywood Top to Block Shavings

I do not want any wood shavings getting behind my shelf supports. If the shavings are wet, or get wet then they would rust out the legs.

Thus I cut and installed a 1/8" thick piece of birch plywood to fit nice and snug.

Note: I already had some 1/8" thick birch plywood. Thus, that is what I used. A piece of 1/4" plywood or 1/8" real wood paneling would work just as well.

Photo: Stone for Weight Stone for Weight

I like to use stone for weight. If you use sand it runs out all over the floor thru any small hole.

I get my stone in the landscaping dept of local big box store. I like mini marble chips because they are heavy and small enough to fit close together in a bag.

Here I am measuring the bag. It is roughly 15" wide and 40 lbs. I am going to use 6 of these bags. 6 * 40 = 240 lbs.

Photo: Test Fit of Shelf and Stone Test Fit of Shelf and Stone

See next photo for more info.

Photo: Two Piece Shelf Two Piece Shelf

My bottom shelf is 15-1/2" wide by roughly 51 inches long. I cut the length to fit tightly in the space.

I made my shelf out of a 10' foot long Douglas Fir 2×12. The lumber was #2 grade. But, I looked thru the pile to find a piece with minimal knots.

The front half of the shelf is the standard 11-1/4" 2×12 width. I cut the back part of the shelf to make it overall 15-1/2" wide.

I have found that Douglas Fir is strong enough to span the 4+ feet with out any braces or cross ties underneath.

Photo: End Of Shelf End Of Shelf

Getting the shelf in there is not an easy task. The U shape of the legs means you can not just slide it in there from the front or back.

This photo shows how I made the 2×12 shelf roughly 1" short. Then filled in the 1" later. This allowed me to get the shelf in there. I added the filler to add strength. The 2×12 can not shift left/right with the filler in there. Cutting off 1" was no big deal, from a strength point of view because the last 1" extends beyond the 2×4 in the bottom. The filler also prevents wet shavings from collecting and rusting out the leg.

I was able to get the narrower back half of the shelf in there, with out cutting it.

After I paint things, I will secured the shelf to the supporting 2×4 with 3" deck screws. Any good deck screw will do. I prefer Scorpion band course thread ceramic coated screws.

After I screwed things down there was no way the shelf was going to move left/right or front/back. Even if the lathe rocked, rattled and rolled.

Photo: Time to Paint Time to Paint

In this photo I am painting the self supports. I decide to paint everything in advance. Up on my work bench. I am getting to old to bend over.

I can't understand how people can spend time working in a dark crappy looking studio. I like my studio to be a bright and airy place to work. Thus, I painted the shelf to match the lathe.

I took the door off of the tailstock and took it down to my local Sherwood Williams store. I asked them to match the color. They scanned it with there computer gadget and the color came out real close.

I asked them to give me a quart of there toughest paint. They gave me some Sherwood Williams "All Surface Enamle – Acrylic Latex Interious / Exterior". They used 6509-00640 Ultradeep Base. In a gloss finish. I am not really sure about the gloss part. So far, I am real happy. The paint seems to be really though. I can slide the chucks around on the shelf with no noticable scratches yet.

I primed the bare wood with Sherwood Williams "Multi Purpose – Latex Primer" before I put on the above paint. I have found that this primer is real tough. It bounds to anything. It even bonds to the skin on your hands. Don't ask how I known!

I decided to head off a lot of questions here by telling people every last detail about the paint I used. I like Sherwood Williams, but it is not the only fish in the sea. Home Depot and Lowe's also have computers that can match paint colors. They also have good paints. The Sherwood Williams store is close to my studio.

Note: John Deer also makes a "Construction Yellow Paint" TY25627 that I have found is close to Powermatic Yellow. NOT an exact match. It is a little to yellow and bright. But, it is close. It comes in a rattle spray can. The very strong smell and the directions are almost identical to the Rust-Oleum Professional line of paints.

Photo: Flatten The Bags Flatten The Bags

I used a scrap 2×4 and a small sledge hammer to flatten out the bags of stone as I installed them.

Photo: 6 Bags of Stone 6 Bags of Stone

Here is what the 6 bags of stone looked like after I installed them. They fit in there real nice. Each bag is roughly 40 lbs. 6 * 40 = 240 lbs.

Photo: Close Up of Stone Close Up of Stone

The stone filled up the entire space real nice after I flattened it out with a 2×4 and sledge hammer.

Photo: Test Fit of Top Shelf Test Fit of Top Shelf

Here is the top shelf. I made it out of good quality 3/4" plywood. It is 16" wide so it overhangs the 15-1/2" wide shelf on the bottom. The overhang will cover up the top of the plywood that goes on the front.

I added a 3/4" square nailer strip to the bottom of the plywood to allow me to install a sheet of plywood on the front.

The ends of the plywood was scribed and cut to fit very tightly. I don't want any wet wood shavings falling down around the ends and rusting out the legs.

The plywood is roughly 50" long. I had to cut it into two pieces to get it to fit in there. See next photo.

Note: This photo is the same as the #2 photo above.

Photo: Top Shelf is Two Pieces Top Shelf is Two Pieces

This photo shows how I cut the plywood in two pieces to get it between the legs. I used my Biscuit Joiner to install some biscuits to line up the plywood ends.

You can also see in this photo that I belt sanded the front edges of the plywood were it will be exposed. I removed all open grain. After I paint it, you will hardly even known it is plywood.

Photo: Cut and Test Fit Front Plywood Cut and Test Fit Front Plywood

I cut a piece of 1/8" Birch plywood to go on the front. I don't want those bags of stone collecting wood shavings and driving me crazy for the rest of my life.

After I screw the front and back plywood in place it will actually support the top shelf and make it rock solid.

Photo: Time To Paint Again Time To Paint Again

Here is the primer coat. See "Time To Paint" photo above for paint info.

Photo: Top Coat Top Coat

Here is the top coat. See "Time To Paint" photo above for paint info.

Just one primer coat. Followed by one top coat. I put the paint on with a small 3" wide roller.

Photo: Shelf and Chip Guard Shelf and Chip Guard

This photos shows the bottom self all installed and ready to go. I installed the plywood on the front with some gold button head screws. The kind Kreg sells with its pocket hole jig.

You can also see my chip guard hanging down from some black wire ties under the ways of the lathe. This chip guard deflects all the wood chips that would drop between the ways of the lathe down a slope and out the back of the lathe. At this point the wire ties are loose. While I dork around with things. Later I will sinch up the front of the chip guard to be tight to the bottom of ways in the front ONLY.

The chip guard is made out of 1/8" Birch plywood. You can see in photo that it is cut out to go around legs on the end. You could also use 1/8" plywood paneling rather than birch plywood.

I drilled holes thru the bed of the lathe for the wire ties. I then painted the holes with some black acrylic paint using a small round artist paint brush.

Photo: Chip Guard Chip Guard

Here is another photo of the chip guard. See previous photo for info.

Photo: The Back The Back

This photos shows the back. It is made out of one piece of 1/8" Birch plywood. Flexing it to fit in there in one piece was anything but easy!

The plywood comes all the way up in back to form the back of the top shelf from the front. See photos below. It also supports the back of the chip guard.

You can see the chip guard slopes down in the back. The chip guard is NOT fastened in the back. Very important! This allows me to reach thru the ways and tap it up and down to clear any stubborn wood shavings.

I left the middle top of the chip guard primer white. I did not paint it yellow. To make it easier to find things when I drop them in there.

Note: On my old PM 3520B I did NOT enclose the back of the stone. This turned out to be a mistake. Wood shavings collected in there and were a pain to clean out. I also did not slope the chip guard down as much. I corrected that mistake this time around.

Photo: Shelf All Done Shelf All Done

Here is a photo of the finished shelf.

Photo: Chip Guard All Done Chip Guard All Done

This photo shows how the chip guard sloped down when I was all finished. I left the bottom of the chip guard primer white to reflect light down onto the shelf.

Photo: Shelf In Use Shelf In Use

This photo shows the shelf all done and loaded up with my jam and vacuum chucks.

Photo: Pry Bar Used To Move Lathe Pry Bar Used To Move Lathe

I needed to move the lathe out to work on back and take photos. This photo shows how I used a pry bar to move the lathe out.

I can still move it, even with the 200+ lbs of stone weight on the shelf. It is not easy, but it is doable. Lift it with one hand and shove it around with the other.

Photo: Old PM 3520B Bottom Shelf Old PM 3520B Shelf

This photo shows the bottom shelf under my old PM 3520B lathe. It was not as nice.

2 thoughts on “Bottom Shelf for Powermatic 3520C Lathe”

  1. Excellent!! One of the best tips is to NOT use sand for the weight, but I found that out the hard way.

  2. Carl, thanks for posting this. I’m planning to get a 3520C some time in June, so I’m paying close attention to all your blogs about the new lathe.

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