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Intro –Make your own Lathe from other peoples rubbish

The aim of this set of pages is to make a wood lathe from recycled and scrap materials and use it to make some lovely things.Why a lathe? You can use it to make beautiful birthday and Christmas pressies for family and friends and to craft all manner of things to help in other projects. To make yourself a load of wooden kitchen bowls, plates, utensils, etc. To make arrows, door and draw knobs, staffs, axles, beautiful ornaments, flower pots, light shades… The list is endless.Making a lathe is fun! Designing one yourself and using free or cheap materials is even better. These pages show how I did it. I got ideas from lots of places on the internet and formulated my design as I collected materials.

This lathe is made almost exclusively from stuff other people threw away or didn’t have use for anymore, and a big part of the challenge is creatively using these readily available materials. If you are planning to build one (and from this point on I will assume that you are), you will probably want to vary your own design from mine, as you will inevitably find you can get your hands on different bits. Don’t worry though I will try my best to offer techniques and advice (including where the best places are to get stuff), anyway it is much more exciting when you have a hand in the design process. I would love to hear what you guys use to make your designs.


I use some basic power tools in making this, and I meddled (carefully!) with mains voltage, so the usual safety precautions must apply. Always wear eye and ear protection when using power tools and lung protection when making dust. Be very careful and get qualified help (if you need it) with main voltage etc.

The lathe itself can be very dangerous, following good practice, and designing in safety, is the best method of staying out of harms way. I will hopefully cover some of these points, but ultimately you’re doing this at your own risk, so please take care!


Making a wooden bowl on the lathe
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