Midi Lathe Stand inspired by Alan Lacer Design

A few months ago I made a new stand for my Jet 1221VS based on Alan Lacer’s article in Popular Woodworking.  I liked the design because it had a small footprint, space for sand weight, and solid construction principles like doubled-up plywood and canted legs.  It’s worked out really well for me.  It’s very solid delivering a stable work platform without a lot of bulk.

Some quick facts about it:

  • 29 ½” high
  • The top is 13″ x 38″ and is made from three layers of ¾” MDF

Here she is:

As you can see I didn’t deviate much from the design in the article, but some key points are:

  • I used cross-dowel nuts (13-CD040 from Woodpeckers) instead of copper pipe.  They worked very well.
  • MDF for the top because I had some left over from my old bench
  • Dimensional pine lumber for the cross-members
  • The tool shelf was secured with bolts / cross-dowel nuts instead of wood screws into end grain
  • I added a tailstock caddy
  • The tool shelf is made from pine lumber (two pieces jointed together)

My bench is shorter than the one in the article in order to accommodate the spindle height of my lathe and my elbow height.  This unfortunately squished the shelves closer together which compromised the opening above the tool shelf and also limited me to two sand bags.  I didn’t want the sand shelf to be too close to the floor such that it would hinder cleanup.

So if you are on the hunt for lathe bench designs this is a good one to consider.  I will say that it does require some degree of skill and accuracy to build.  Your 5° angles all need to match one another.  The bolt and cross-dowel holes are tricky to get aligned just right; The cross-member with ugliest dowel holes went to the back on my stand!  If you are using lumber in the build you will need it to be S4S.

JDP-17 Review

I recently upgraded my drill press to Jet’s JPD-17 model and am pretty happy with it so far.  I wanted something with at least 5″ of quill travel and a laser guide and this one fit those specs and my budget.  The woodworking-oriented table is a plus, too.

My drill press works exactly as it ought to.  It was simple to assemble and everything fits together as intended.  The foot is adequately sized and it feels safe free-standing although I do plan on bolting it to the floor at some point.  Operation is smooth and quiet.  The depth stop works well not feeling at all “mushy”.  There is a distinct clunk when you hit bottom.  My only (minor) complaint is that there is a bit of paint overspray on the top surface of the table.

Out of the box the table is pretty darn close to square with the quill in both axes.  One of the lasers was just a tiny bit off, I don’t think that I really needed to adjust it but I did it for fun.

Dave’s Workshop on YouTube did a great overview video of the tool:

About the only interesting fact I can add to the discussion  are some details around the T-slots on the table.  The manual states that they are 1/2″ wide by 5/8″ deep.  This is pretty close to accurate, here are the measured dimensions.

T-slot dimensions


For your fences and other jigs, note that a 5/16″ hex-head bolt fits nicely and won’t turn while a 1/4″ bolt will turn within the slot.  I don’t have any t-slot bolts to try out.

5/16″ hex nut in place