Re: Southbend 9" lathe table

david pennington

I've made a variation on the suggestion by Thomas Harold. My 9C is configured the same way as your lathe. The fellow I bought it from had it mounted on a single sheet of 3/4" plywood, bolted to the top of two 21x22 steel drawer units. That was nowhere near rigid enough!

I cut two pieces of 3/4" plywood 22x42, marked up the top sheet with my intended layout, and took a great deal of care glueing them together. I drilled pilot holes in one sheet, about 6" apart, and started the screws. I put enough glue on the other piece so that when I drove the screws home--starting at the center--glue was squeezed out on all sides. After that had time to fully cure and dry, I hung it up in a garage and coated it on sides and edges with several coats of spar varnish.

When I set things up, I first secure and level the two drawer units, which are also bolted together. Then I put 
packaging tape on the top surface of the outside edge and the partition between the units. Using the "original" silicone RTV, I draw a thick bead on all the taped surfaces. On top of that I lay out strips of plastic grocery bags. 

The next step takes two people: placing the prepared table top on the RTV. (I have four holes in top and drawer units to line it all up.) I leave that alone for several days to let the RTV fully cure.

The original 3/4" table top goes on top of that, because it's significantly larger and provides some useful space.

I've made leveling blocks to go under the lathe feet--I'm happy to share the details, but be forewarned: I am a bit geeky, and one look at my arrangement may send you running the other way.

I prepared this setup in 2013 and have moved three times since. I go through the whole set up process each time, with fresh RTV. It's worked out pretty well.

In the attached pic you can see that the drawer units are not on the floor. They are on 8" concrete blocks, which are themselves resting on RTV pads to stabilize them. The feet of the drawer units--carriage bolts with smoothed off heads and ends that fit a 1/4" socket extension--are stabilized by being in recesses in 1x4s, front and back.

The other pic shows one lathe foot on top of a leveling base of my design.

If I had had access to oak, I'd have probably figured out a way to use it. The South Bend manual, by the way, recommends a maple bench top 1-1/2" or 2" thick...I forget which.

Hope this is useful to you.


David W. Pennington
Denver, Colorado

On Friday, December 20, 2019, 7:33:58 PM MST, mike allen <animal@...> wrote:

        ya want to make sure that it has support from under the lathe feet to the floor . I made my bench with 4 x4 in the corners & 2x4 legs mid span & used a solid core door for the top . if I lean on the bench with my any of my Starrett levels

        on the lathe I can watch the deflection on the level



On 12/20/2019 3:20 PM, Thomas Harrold via Groups.Io wrote:

3/4" plywood doubled up (glued with some screws every 12") is super solid for a surface, and will be pretty straight.

a SB 9" only weighs about 200lbs if I recall (maybe 300 with the motor an all the accessories), so something pretty simple like a frame with 2x4 legs and some cross bracing for stability should be pretty good.




From: [] On Behalf Of ov10fac
Sent: Friday, December 20, 2019 5:11 PM
Subject: [SouthBendLathe] Southbend 9" lathe table


I am pretty new to metal turning and a few years ago purchased a SB 9" lathe.  Its been sitting in my storage shed for about 4 or 5 years and I now have time to start putting it back together.  First question I have is how to build a table to support the lathe.  First off, I will not be using it to do really accurate machining initially.  Second, I have no metal working tools so my bench will of necessity have to be made from wood, I am thinking Oak as I have a pretty good supply.
Any suggestions, plans, or information on how to get this done would be greatly appreciated.  By the way, the motor mounts behind the lathe not underneath.

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