1 of 6 Blog Posts
This is 1 of 6 blog posts on the Powermatic 2014 Lathe. The posts are:
Carl’s New Powermatic 2014 Lathe Stand
See above photo of my new Powermatic 2014 Lathe on my new “Beefed Up Harbor Freight Workbench Stand”. I am
very happy with this bench. It looks good. It has drawers for storage. It is heavy. It is rock solid
(no left/right or front/back) sway.
I decided to make my own stand for my new Powermatic 2014 Lathe.
I kind of like the 2014 Lathe Stand sold by Powermatic. But, I thought I could do better. The Powermatic stand does not have any place to store your turning tools. No place to set down your turning tools while turning. If you only have a small lathe then it would be nice to have everything you need in a nice small footprint. Thus, a bench under the lathe with drawers and storage would be real nice to have.,
The stand sold by Powermatic, looks adequate for light work. But, experience suggests, I would need to beef it up and weight it down for heavy work (bowls or hollow forms from raw logs). If I am going to spend my time beefing up the Powermatic bench, then I could spend the same time making my own stand/bench.
I have built lots of benches for things in my studio from scratch. I always run into the same issues.
- Raw crappy looking wood, just slapped together is NOT my cup of tea. I spend a lot of time in my studio. Thus, I want to be surrounded by things that look and feel good. Thus I need to sand and finish my benches.
- I HATE the sanding, and finishing process!
- Open shelves are no good. They collect to much dust, dirt and saw dust. Drawers are the way to go!
- I HATE making drawers and mounting them!
- I known how to make really strong benches out of interlocking plywood parts. But, it takes time.
- Good drawer slides, etc. cost money. You often don't, end up saving as much as you might think.
I decided the easiest way to end up with a GOOD looking stand with draws was to beef up a Harbor Freight workbench.
Why Beefed Up?
If you are just turning light weight things (like pens, bottle stoppers or spindles) then you don't need a beefed up stand for a lathe. Any stand or workbench will do.
However, if you want to turn bowls, hollow forms or artistic stuff, out rough blanks then it is a different story! When you mount heavy out of round things on a lathe (like raw logs for bowls or hollow forms) bad things can happen really fast! The lathe can jump around and/or rock, rattle and roll. The lathe stand MUST be able to take this abuse and prevent it. The legs and feet on any lathe stand need to be able to take a beating. The lathe often needs to be weighted down to keep it from jumping around. Thus, the stand needs to have a shelf that can support 200 lbs of weight.
- With my stand you CAN NOT mount the optional PM 2014 13" bed extension in the LOW position. Thus you CAN NOT increase the lathes swing to 20-1/2". If you want, to do that, then you probably should go with the stand sold by Powermatic. However, you can, mount the 13" bed extension in the HIGH position.
- See my "Carl's New Powermatic 2014 Lathe" blog entry. For my review of the Powermatic 2014 Stand sold by Powermatic, with my beefing up suggestions.
Part 1: Materials for Stand
This photo shows the Harbor Freight Workbench that I beefed up to create a stand for my new PM
The price is right. I like the pre-finished color. It has ok, but not great drawers that I can use to store my turning tools, etc.
It is the right length for a PM 2014 lathe with or without the optional 13" bed extension. It has legs that I can easily cut off to create a stand with a custom spindle height.
It is wood. Thus I can EASILY beef it up with some GOOD 3/4" plywood, glue and screws.
See "HF Workbench Unpacked" below for more details.
Note: In general, I am NOT a big fan of Harbor Freight tools.
I used ONE 4'x8' sheet of good quality plywood to beef up the above HF Workbench.
I have built lots of cabinets and benches out of GOOD Southern Yellow Pine plywood in my studio. I really like it. Southern Yellow Pine is a softwood. However, it is hard, strong and tough like a hardwood. It is easy to sand. It makes a great looking cabinet or bench.
Where is what I look for when shopping for GOOD plywood.
- Around $40 per 4×8 sheet is my limit for good plywood! Well, the Pandemic I has force me to raise my limit to $50.
- Any plywood, I purchase MUST be dead flat. No warped sheets!
- 3/4" plywood needs to be at least 7 layers of the SAME wood. No 5 layer stuff. No weak soft wood core layers. All the layers should be the same thickness. No thin veneer of good stuff on the outside and crap in the middle.
- Currently, we can not get Southern Yellow Pine plywood in the Northeaster US at reasonable prices. Thus, I use Radiata Plywood from Home Depot. See photo.
- Radiata Pine is not the same as Southern Yellow Pine. However, it is similar. Good stuff. It is used for Engineered Lumber Beams, etc. You can read about it at "Radiata Pine Plywood" .
- I avoid "Cabinet" grade plywood that cost more than $40. It often costs way to much. The core may good or weak soft wood. It is not worth the extra price when I can get good Radiata plywood for around $40 a 4×8 sheet.
- I avoid "Sande" plywood. I got fooled into purchase a sheet of this once. I had a hard time using it up. I am not really sure what it is. It sort of looks like Luan plywood. It is to soft. The core is weak soft wood. Note: The Radiata plywood I recommend above comes pre-sanded.
- I DO NOT use Hardwood plywood. Structurally it is often weak. Maple, Oak, etc plywood is often a VERY thin veneer layer of hardwood over a weak soft wood core. The soft wood is often low quality. Thus the plywood looks good. But, it is not tough, strong, etc.
- In this case, I would also avoid Birch plywood. It may be good cabinet grade stuff or just a thin veneer over a weak core. Yellow or Radiata plywood is harder and tougher.
- I DO NOT use pressure treated plywood. It is often Southern Yellow Pine. However, warped plywood is a hassle, I can do with out. If it is not warped at the store, then it will warp not long after you get it home.
- No MDF. No OSB. They are not plywood! I like things to look like real wood. MDF swells up when
it gets wet. OBS flakes off over time. No good!
The wimpy piece of wood across the bottom of Harbor Freight Workbench legs has to go! There is
no way it is going to stand up to a lot of abuse. See photo above of HF workbench.
I am going to replace it with the really stout chunk of "Engineered 2×4" and the feet shown in this photo. They are designed to take a lot of abuse. See details below.
Engineered 2×4 at Home Depot. 3 for $60 on 3/2021. That is $20 each.
Beware! Engineered 2x4s are really 1-1/2" x 3-1/2".
Note: Engineered wood is used in modern houses for the main load bearing beam that often goes across the center of the basement. They are engineered to stand up to a huge load. They are often made of Southern Yellow or Radiata Pine, that is glue laminated together under heat and pressure.
Feet (Heavy Duty Leveling Mounts) at McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com) item #62805K42.
The feet I like, are rated for 500 lbs EACH. Thus if you have 4 feet under a load and the weight is evenly distributed then they are good for a (4 * 500 =) 2000 lb load.
I use the same feet under my big Oneway 2436 Lathes. They weigh roughly 1000 lbs (800 lbs of lathe plus 200 lbs of stone weight). When my students mount a big out of balance blank, the lathes some times really rock, rattle and roll (jump around). These feet take the abuse. No problems.
Note: You have to trust McMaster to ship things to you at a reasonable price. I DO! See my "McMaster-Carr" blog entry.
I decided to design my bench to easily be moved with a set of 3 wheel furniture dollies. See
photo. They fit nicely under the feet shown in above photo.
Note: There are numerous 3 wheel dolly choices on Amazon. I just picked one that advertised "Capacity of 500 lbs". I do NOT own these and I do NOT recommend them as being better than the other ones on Amazon. Go with what ever floats your boat.
I am going to sell the lathe to my friend Mike, after I get done reviewing it. Mike wants casters under the lathe so he can move it around in his very small shop.
I could not find a good permanent caster solution. The big problem is, the lathe MUST be dead rock solid when you are turning. Thus, the lathe can NOT be sitting on casters while you are turning. Thus you must be able to EASILY remove or disable any casters.
I have the "Lift Lock and Roll" casters installed under my Oneway 2436 Lathes. They work ok. But, the price has gone up to $400. Way to much! Other systems (Rockler, etc) look to wimpy and/or to much trouble to install.
Then, I remembered that I had a set of 3 wheel dollies. I have used them too move heavy things. I installed a cheap set, under my Oneway 2436 lathe. It weights roughly 1000 lbs. I was able move it. It was not easy. But, not too hard. Thus I should have no problem moving my PM 2014 Lathe and Stand. They are going to weigh a lot less than 1000 lbs. Around 500 lbs.
I use a 36" Gooseneck Crow Bar to install the casters.
The bent end of the crow bar goes under the bottom of the lathe near each foot. One at a time. I lift a corner of the lathe with one hand and slip the caster under with the other hand. It is not hard.
Note: I can lift one corner of my 1000 lb Oneway 2436 Lathes, with one hand. No problem.
Part 2: Assemble The Bench
The Harbor Freight Workbench ships in a flat pack box. You have to put it together. I forgot
to take a photo of the box. Here is what came in the box.
A nicely finished bench top. Not to flimsy. But, not real impressive. Made of finger jointed solid hard wood. No plywood or MDF in the bench top or legs.
The drawer fronts are nicely finished, finger jointed solid wood. The sides and bottom are MDF with a vinyl like surface. Sort of like Melamine.
The drawer slides come pre-mounted on the drawer sides and the bench legs. This saves a lot of time and eliminates a lot of fiddling around. Yea!
The legs come all assembled. See next photo. They are made of finger jointed solid hard wood. They are not flimsy. But, they definitely need to be beefed up to take a lot of abuse.
The first thing I did was cut the existing feet of the bottom of the HF legs. This turned out to be an unnecessary step because later I shortened the legs a lot more. (See "Cut Legs to Height" below.)
I installed the legs and the center draw support as per the HF directions. I added some "PL
Max" construction adhesive to all of the joints. PL is now made by Loctite. "PL Max" is suppose to
bond to anything. Thus it should bond to pre-finished wood surfaces.
Note: The stand (bench) is sitting UP SIDE DOWN on saw horses in this photo and the photos that follow.
My fiend Mike added extra 3" long Deck Screws (high thread, ceramic coated, dry wall screws)
to all of the joints. Red arrow in photo.
We used "PL Max" construction adhesive and extra deck screws on everything during assembly. In some places we used shorter screws.
We installed the center board across the bottom of the drawer supports as per HF directions. Then added 2 extra ones. Green arrows in photo. I made the extra ones out of the sides of the what is suppose to be the bottom self.
Drawers that fall out of a bench are real pain in the backside! This happens when a bench gets twisted around and the drawer supports are not rock solid. Thus I added some extra bracing.
Note: The HF bottom shelf is a flimsy MDF joke. We are going to completely replace that later with good DF 2x10s.
I decided to beef up the top by installing good quality 3/4 plywood on the bottom of the top.
Where it will not be seen. Red arrow in photo.
I cut the plywood to fit tightly between the legs and center draw support. Then we PL Max glued and screwed the plywood down.
I normally make the tops of my work benches, etc out of 3 layers of 3/4" plywood. Glued and screwed together. They end up (3/4" * 3 =) 2-1/4" thick. With a 3/4" x 2-1/4" Hard Maple edge banding all around, for good looks. The center layer of plywood sticks out 1/4" of an inch and fits in a grove in the Hard Maple edge banding for strength. I have found that this makes a rock solid top. Cheaper and easier than a top glued up out of 100% hard maple.
In this case I got lazy. The top I created is only 2 layers thick. The HF bench top is roughly 5/8" thick and I added 1 layer of 3/4" thick plywood. I did not want to dork around with moving the drawer supports.
If I had this to do again. I would remove the draw supports. Add 2 layers of 3/4" thick plywood. Then move the drawer supports down (up in photo) and put the drawer supports back. Why? When I was turning my "1st Hollow Form on New Powermatic 2014 Lathe" I ran into some vibration noise issues. I think the noise was caused by vibration in the wood top of the stand. We live and learn. This is the ONLY thing I would do different.
The green arrow in The photo points to some screws we added to beef up the connection of the legs to top.
It's time to cut the legs to the proper height. But, first we need to take a peek at how we
are going to mount the lathe on the bench. How much will this add to the spindle height? Thus, how
much do we need to subtract from the height of the legs?
This photo shows the PM 2014 lathe mounted on our stand. The green arrow points to the 1-3/4" tall hard maple blocks that I installed under the lathe bed. i.e. between the lathe bed and the top of the stand.
When saw dust falls between the ways (top of the bed), you need some place for the saw dust to fall out of the bottom. You need to be able to get your hand and/or blow gun in there to clean up the mess. Thus I added the maple blocks.
The distance from the center of the spindle to bottom of lathe bed is 14". Plus 1-3/4" for the blocks. See photo. Thus we need to subtract (14" + 1-3/4" =) 15-3/4" from the leg height we want.
Note: See my "Carl's New Powermatic 2014 Lathe" blog entry for all the lathe specs.
We also need to take a peek at how we are going to mount the feet on the bottom of the legs.
How much will this add to the spindle height? Thus, how much do we need to subtract from the height
of the legs?
See blue arrow in photo. It shows the finished legs with feet installed. We can see the feet will add 1-1/2" to the height of the legs. Thus we need to subtract 1-1/2" from the leg height we want.
We can also see that we will need to cut a 2" tall notch in the engineered 2×4 that is used to mount the feet. Because the feet we ordered from McMaster-Carr are only 5-1/16" tall over all. We also can see the engineered 2×4 is really 1-1/2" x 3-1/2".
Note: See "Leveling Feet" above for McMaster-Carr part number, etc.
It's time to cut the legs to the proper height. What height is that?
- First I measured my friend Mike. It is going to be his lathe in the long run.
People generally agree that the distance from the floor to the center of the spindle on a lathe should be the same as your elbow height.
Thus, I asked Mike to relax and stand up straight. The distance from the floor to the center of Mike's elbow was 42". This is the spindle height we want!
- The distance from the center of the spindle to the bottom of the bed is 14". See above photo.
- I want to install 1-3/4" tall Hard Maple blocks under the lathe bed. See above photo.
- We are going to install a engineered 2×4 across the bottom of the legs. It is used to mount the
feet. See above photo.
We need to subtract 3-1/2" from the leg height for this 2×4. Engineered 2x4s are really 1-1/2" x 3-1/2".
- We need to leave room to adjust the feet on the bottom of the stand up and down to
level things, etc.
I decided to leave 1-1/2" between the bottom of the feet (floor) and the bottom of the lathe stand. See above photo.
- Thus the correct height for the TOTAL (legs + top) height of the stand
42" – 14" – 1.75" – 3.5" – 1.5" = 21.25"
I measured up 21-1/4" from the TOP of the TOP and marked the legs. I then attached a block of wood to guide my saw and manually sawed the legs off. See photo. Measure twice and cut once!
The leveling feet I ordered from McMaster-Carr are only 5-1/16" tall over all. Thus I need to
cut a notch in the 2×4 that goes across the bottom of the legs. See green arrow in photo. Also see
"Peek Ahead at Feet" photo above.
The notch is 1-1/2" deep and the same width as the legs. The part that sticks out is 2" tall. Remember, engineered 2x4s are really 1-1/2" x 3-1/2".
In this photo, Mike is applying PL Max construction adhesive. Getting ready for install. See next photo.
Note: I decided that cutting this notch is ok. Why? Because I have used the same engineered 2x4s turned on their side (only 2" tall) on the bottom of my 1000 lb Oneway 2436 lathes. No problems. The PM 2014 lathe + stand is going to weigh a lot less than 1000 lbs.
I cut and installed pieces of 3/4" plywood. They fit on the outside AND inside of the legs.
The plywood overlaps the new 2×4 for the feet.
The plywood does 2 things. 1. It holds the new 2×4 for feet in place. 2. It stiffens and reinforces the legs. Prevents any front to back flex in the legs. The plywood converts the so-so HF legs to good strong "torsion boxes".
Later we are going to add a piece of plywood across the back to prevent any left to right leg flex.
Lots of GOOD quality glue and screws! I decided I really did not need to waste time with bolts.
See next photo for a better view of the plywood on the inside.
Sorry, I did not get a good photo of the back being installed. The photo, I took was way out
of focus. You can sort of see the back in this photo. The green arrow points to the back.
I made the back as big as possible, to make the bench as sturdy as possible. The back goes across the back of the legs from left to right. It goes from the bottom of the top to the top of the notch in the engineered 2x4s. See magenta arrow and long red arrow in photo.
The blue arrow in photo points to a nailer block that joins the back to the top. The nailer block is a scrap 2×4 ripped in half. Lots of GOOD quality glue and screws!
The red arrow points to the 2×4, we installed to support the new 2×10 shelf that will go under the lathe. I made the support out of some left over engineered 2×4. It was glued and screwed in place. Then, I added 3/8" bolts that go all the way thru the legs. The bolts reinforce everything.
When you are working at a lathe, you need room under any shelf for your human feet. I have found that any shelf should be 6" to 7" above the floor. Thus, the top of the shelf support is 6" above the bottom of the engineered 2×4 that support the leveling feet. See 6" arrow in photo.
Remember, the stand (bench) is sitting UP SIDE DOWN on saw horses in this photo.
Time to remove the bench from the saw horses and install the bottom shelf.
We need a shelf that can support 200 lbs. Why? When you mount heavy out of round things on a lathe (like raw logs for bowls or hollow forms) bad things can happen. The lathe can jump around and/or rock, rattle and roll. I REALLY don't like it when this happens! Thus, I like to add weight to my lathe stands. The more the better! At least 200 pounds of stone.
The shelf is going to span less than 4 feet. Thus the simplest solution is a good 8 foot Douglas Fir (DF) 2×10 from Home Depot. Two equal width 2x10s sitting side by side are stronger than a wide one and a narrow one. Thus you should rip your 2×10 down to fit the width. Then cut it in half, to length. Install with good screws. No glue, some day you may need to get it out of there. The stone will hold it down.
At this point the bench is finally done. Now, we just need to assemble the drawers and mount the lathe.
Mike assembled the draws as per the Harbor Freight directions. We of course added glue and
extra screws to everything.
The HF drawers are not worth writing home about. But, they are ok. The pre-finished drawer fronts are nice. The MDF parts suck. But, they will get the job done.
Part 3: Install the Lathe on Bench
We installed 1-3/4" tall hard maple blocks between the bed of the lathe and the top of the
stand (bench). This allows room for saw dust to fall thru. Allows easy clean up.
The maple blocks are a 1/2" longer than the width of the lathe bed and 5" wide. We rounded over all the sharp edges with a 3/16" router bit.
The wood blocks were attached to the bottom of the lathe bed with 5/16" x 2" socket head cap screws with flat and lock washers. The socket head was counter sunk in a 1/2" deep by 3/4" diameter hole. See red arrow in photo.
The wood blocks (with lathe attached) were attached to the top of the bench with 1/2" x 5" bolts with flat and lock washers. See green arrow in this photo and next photo.
Note: All bolt sizes given here were done from my memory. You should double check them BEFORE you purchase bolts. The 5/16" x 2" socket head cap screws are McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com) item #91251A591. Get picture from web. Purchase locally.
We centered the lathe on the bench lengthwise. This leaves room to install the optional 13"
bed extension on the tailstock end. On the headstock end, there is room to set down your turning
tools, 4 jaw chuck, etc on the bench.
The lathe was installed towards the front of the bench. Roughly 3/4" back from the front. This allows the lathe to be used with out leaning over to reach it.
The open self on the bottom will catch dirt and saw dust on top of the stone. No good.
In this photo, I turned the stone sideways and installed a piece of plywood on the front to button things up.
Later, after I took this photo, I got smart. I realized, I still had the nicely pre-finished MDF shelf that came with the HF bench left over. I cut it to fit the front of the stone compartment. I used it to replace the ugly plywood on the front with a nice matching front. The stone is now totally enclosed. No more dirt or saw dust problems.
When we moved the lathe and stand to Mike's workshop. We repackaged all of the stone in 1 gallon freezer bags from the local grocery store. This allowed us to pack the stone in tight. It made room for more stone. There was room for five 40 lb bags of landscape stone. 200 lbs total. I prefer bags of landscaping stone, rather than sand bags. Stone does not escape and run all over the floor like sand.
Part 4: Glamor Shots
Glamor shot. All dressed up and ready to go.
Powermatic 2014 Lathe on a Beefed Up Harbor Freight Workbench Stand.
I am very happy with this bench. It looks good. It has drawers for storage. It is heavy. It is rock solid (no left/right or front/back) sway.
The drawers are a good size for holding my turning tools. See my "Carl's Travel Tool Set" blog entry.
After a bit of use, I decided I really needed to add a backsplash to the back of the bench.
Something to keep my tools from rolling off the back. See red arrow in photo. I used a piece of 3/4
thick scrap wood. It sticks up roughly 6". It works good.
However, the backsplash in the photo was to long. Eventually I shortened the length by 6". This allowed more room for my long handled turning tools to hang over the back.
Part 5: Stability Tests
I mounted a 10" out of round, out of balance, bowl blank on my new PM2014 lathe when I turned
a Live Edge Bowl. This 1.5 minute video shows that my stand worked at 500 RPM. No problem.
For more 1st Bowl info see my "1st Bowl on New Powermatic 2014 Lathe" blog entry.
I mounted a gnarly 10" raw log on my new PM2014 lathe when I turned a Hollow Form. This 1/2
minute video shows that my stand worked at 500 RPM. No problem.
For more 1st Hollow Form info and videos see my "1st Hollow Form on New Powermatic 2014 Lathe" blog entry.