This project is a good example of how awesome the woodworking community is and also a good example of the power of the internet. For about a year now I’ve been saying “I’ll get a lathe some day.” For one reason or another I’ve always put it off. A few months back Kevin Miller offered to hook me up with a mini lathe and some turning accessories to get started in woodturning. Odds are I would have never crossed paths with Kevin had it not been for the online woodworking community.
The lathe itself is a Jet 1014VS with bed extension. The VS stands for variable speed which I’ve already grown to love. He also provided a bucket full of turning tools and some other accessories. I’ve actually had it for about one month at the time of writing this post and have turned a few dozen items. A lathe is definitely another rabbet hole in the shop and a ton of fun to use.
Another person I would not have met had it not been for this online woodworking community is Matt Lane. I first met Matt in Kansas City at the 2015 Woodworking In America event. When I found out we were both going to the 2016 The Woodworking Show in Atlanta we worked out some scheduling to get Matt in my shop for a few days. It was a lot of fun working with him so be sure to check out his YouTube channel and subscribe if you like what you see.
Because I had just received this lathe it was obvious to me that the first project after the show was going to be a lathe stand. Some type of easy to move cart to hold everything lathe related. To start we broke down a sheet of 3/4” birch PureBond plywood. This plywood is great. I’ve been using it for about a year now and have been very pleased with the results. It’s also formaldehyde free and made in the USA which are two things I really like.
The more manageable sections of plywood can then be cut easily on the table saw. I always prefer to make the first cut with a circular saw as wrestling a full sheet of plywood across a table saw isn’t exactly fun in my opinion.
Before going to the shop we put together a plywood layout diagram that really helped keep the ball rolling on this project. Don’t forget to clean up while you work. A clean and tidy work environment is much more enjoyable and inviting.
With all of the pieces ripped to their width we used one of my crosscut sleds to cut the parts to their final width. I normally use my miter saw station for crosscutting but these panels were a little too wide for a single cut on my miter saw.
They aren’t too wide for my box joint jig though. We chose to use box joints to give the overall structure a lot of strength. Box joints are crazy strong. This jig can make any joint size in 1/8” increments. Looking back I think assembly might have been a little easier had we used a larger joint spacing instead of 1/8” that we used.
Regardless of the joinery method used, assembly is much easier with two people. This wasn’t 100% flawless as we did have a little trouble closing one joint after glue was applied but wasn’t really that bad.
It’s always best to be productive while the glue dries.
We sized the cart to accept a 1/2” plywood back panel. Before we can install it though we need a rabbet for it to sit into. Matt cut this with a rabbeting bit in my laminate router with a hot-glued shopvac attachment for dust collection. This works very, very well at collecting dust on this router.
Because the rabbeting bit in the router is a circle one of two things need to happen for the back panel to fit. Either the rounded corners of the rabbet need to be cut square with a chisel or the back panel needs rounded corners cut on it. I chose to round over the corners of the back panel. I found a random cap in my shop that looked like it was about the same radius as the router bit and just traced it on the back panel.
After rounding the corners with a jigsaw the back panel can be installed. Lots of glue and brad nails were used here.
Next up is the vertical partitions. I used a plywood spacer to symmetrically space the partitions away from the side panels.
Because I wasn’t entirely sure what type of storage would be best long-term for the cart I chose to install everything on the inside with just screws, no glue. This way they can be moved later if need be.
The second vertical partition is installed the same way. No glue, just screws.
Because we had access to the top and bottom of the cabinet it made sense to just predrill through the top and bottom to attach the vertical partitions. For the horizontal partitions we didn’t really have access to the sides of the interior joints. In this instance, it made sense to use pocket hole screws to attach the horizontal pieces.
A couple of scrap wood spacer blocks were cut to evenly space the horizontal pieces away from the top of the cart. This makes the assembly process faster and the end results look more consistent.
I wanted the lathe’s axis of rotation to be the same height as my elbow when it was all said and done so I had to add some glue blocks to elevate the cart slightly. This is an area that can obviously be adjusted to fit your body.
The casters were mounted directly to the glue blocks. The casters I chose were 3” locking swivel casters. They don’t lock in the swivel direction though. They just prevent the wheel from rolling when locked.
And finally the cart can be loaded up with all of the goodies. Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s just going to fill up with chips, right? Well I’ve had the cart and lathe up and running for a few weeks now and it’s actually not as bad as I originally though it would be in regards to keeping chips out of it. However, I do realize that a few drawers are definitely needed.
It was really awesome to work with Matt on this project. I know you couldn’t tell by this video as he was starting to lose his voice but he’s a really funny dude and a great worker to work alongside in the shop. Matt also makes woodworking videos so be sure to stop by his YouTube channel and subscribe if you like what you see. If you’d like to download the SketchUp file that I used for this cart as well as a plywood layout diagram CLICK HERE. Have a good day!