Category Archives: Lathes

Headstock Shelf for Powermatic 3520C Lathe

Headstock Shelf for Powermatic 3520C Lathe Photo: Headstock Shelf for Powermatic 3520C Lathe

I added a shelf to the Headstock of my new Powermatic 3520C lathe. See photo.

All of my lathes have a shelf on top of the headstock. I have found that it makes a great place to store live centers, chucks, etc. Everything is very "handy". My students and friends quickly fall in love my headstock shelves.

My old PM 3520B lathe had what I am calling a "1st generation" shelf. It was just one level. My Oneway lathes have "2nd generation" shelves. They are 2 levels. My new PM3520C has a new "3rd generation" shelf design that incorporates everything I have learned over time. I really like it! It is 3 levels.

Note: For more info on my new lathe see "My New Powermatic 3520C Lathe Verses My Old Powermatic 3520B Lathe" blog entry.

Photo: 3rd Generation Shelf 3rd Generation Shelf

Here is a close up view of the new headstock shelf on my PM 3520C lathe. It is a 3 level design.

Click on photos for a better view.

Overall the shelf is 18" wide by 15-1/2" deep. See latter photos for more details.

Photo: 1st Generation Shelf 1st Generation Shelf

Here is a close up of the headstock shelf on my OLD PM 3520B lathe. It was a 1 level design. The shelf was 16" wide by 16" deep.

I used this design for a long time. But it was a bit of a pain. Because, I had to store my frequently used live centers at the back. Reaching over things in the front to get the centers in back often sucked.

Live centers, etc had to go on the back because "the headstock" and the VFD (controller box) on the back of the headstock blocked most of the space under the plywood. I could only drill holes for things that stuck down below the plywood at the back of the 1 level shelf. For a better explanation see "Side View from Spindle End" photo below.

Storing any tool rests on this shelf DID NOT work. The long projections on the tool rests blocked or interfered with any thing else on the shelf.

Photo: 2nd Generation Shelf 2nd Generation Shelf

Here is a close up of the headstock shelf on one of my Oneway 2436 lathes. It is a 2 level design.

This shelf has to be a lot narrower. So, it does NOT block turning on the outboard side. The shelf is 10" wide by 14" deep.

I like the 2nd level on this design. It allows EASY access to the tool rests. The 2nd level is tall enough so I DO NOT bang my hangs into any points on live centers, etc on 1st level.

However, this design is still a little bit of a pain. Because, I have to reach over things in front to get to frequently used live centers in the back.

Note: The 2nd level is 10" wide by 2-3/4" wide and the plywood supports are 4" tall. The shelf is elevated 1.5" above the headstock by two 3/4" plywood spacers visible in photo. See "Aluminum Shelf Support on Oneway Shelf" photo at end for more details.

Photo: 3rd Generation Shelf (Again) 3rd Generation Shelf (Again)

Now I am going back to the 3rd generation shelf on my new PM 3520C lathe. Here is a photo from a higher up angle, so you can see everything.

Overall the shelf is 18" wide by 15-1/2" deep.

A place for everything and everything in its place.

Any shelf on the headstock of a lathe needs to built like a tank! It MUST be able to take any "rock rattle and roll" the lathe may be forced to endure when a rough or out of balance piece is mounted on the lathe. The shelf should not move around for any reason! Everything on the self must be secure. Anything that rattles even just a little during normal lathe operation can drive you crazy.

Photo: Plywood and Measurements Plywood and Measurements

I am NOT going supply any plans or step by step photos. So here are some dimensions for anyone who wants to build their own.

Level 1 and Level 2 are 18" wide by 8" deep. Note: They overlap by a 1/2" due to tongue and groove construction. See latter photos.

Level 3 (the top) is 18" wide by 2-1/2" deep. It is supported by plywood spacers that are 2" wide by 3-1/2" tall.

The plywood back is 14" wide by 12-1/4" tall. The cutout on the left for hand wheel clearance is 7" wide by 8" tall. See latter photos.

It is 1-3/4" from the top of the Level 1 plywood to the bottom of the Level 2 plywood. i.e. the location of the dado cut in plywood back is 2" down from the top. 1/4" of the back at top is buried in a 1/4" deep dado on the bottom of Level 2. All dados are 1/4" deep.

I like everything in my studio to look nice. Thus I use reasonably good plywood and finish everything with 2 coats of Watco Golden Oak Danish Oil followed by 2 coats of Miniwax Semi Gloss Wipe On Poly.

I use good quality 3/4" 7 layer plywood from local Home Depot. ACX grade. They don't label it, but I think it is southern yellow pine. Around $38 per sheet. It comes and goes. When it comes, I stock up. There is no way I would use EXPENSIVE Birch, Maple, Oak, etc plywood because the outside veneer layers on expensive plywood is like paper thin and the stuff inside is often crap with voids. I like the outside layer of my plywood to be the same thickness as all the inside layers (roughly 1/16") so I don't end up with crap if I accidentally sand thru it or when I round the corners over. "Sanded Plywood" is ok. However, "Sande" plywood is to soft. It's crap.

I belt sand the exposed edges on all of my plywood to remove all open grain. i.e. to make them look better. I sand the flat surfaces to 220 grit with a random orbit sander and then I round the edges over with a random orbit sander. The sander creates less tear out then a router when rounding over.

If you just drive a screw into the end grain of plywood you will just split the plywood. There is no strength. To avoid this problem I capture all of my joints in dados. I glue the joint with yellow carpenters glue and screw the join with 2-1/2" decking screws. The long screw contacts more surface area. Short screws just pull out of the end grain on plywood.

My favorite band of screws is Scorpion. I ONLY use there ceramic coated decking screws. They are hi thread, square drive. You can NOT get these at Home Depot, or Lowe's. You have to go to a real hardware store. However, any good quality decking screws will do the job.

Note: It appears that the "Golden Oak" colored Watco Danish Oil is no longer available. This is a real shame. Because it is my favorite. It works real good on things with lots of holes. It is thin, you can just pour it on. It gets in all the holes on it's own. You don't have to work at it. I work over an old cafeteria tray. The tray collects the excess when I pour the oil on. When I am done, I just pour the excess back in the can and use it in the future.

Photo: Level 1 (Bottom Level) Level 1 (Bottom Level)

The Level 1 plywood goes over the headstock. I then routed out the plywood to accept the stock PM rubber mat that goes on top of the headstock.

I store my chucks, live center cones, etc on Level 1. This is dictated by a no thru holes in Level 1 requirement.

On the right, the top of Level 1 bolts to the top of the cast iron lathe headstock. Thus on thru holes are possible. On the left there are no thru holes for safety! I don't want my hand to "catch" on anything hanging down when I use the hand wheel.

The left side of Level 1 can take a lot of weight. It is NOT just cantilevered out there! It is firmly supported by plywood at the back that supports Level 2 and extends down the back of the headstock. See "Support Over Hand Wheel" photo below.

Note: If you look in the bottom left corner of photo you can see the motor on the lathe. The 18" wide shelf is narrower than the motor. Latter you will see that the Level 2 part overhangs the VFD (big black control box) on the back of the lathe. Thus the shelf DOES NOT add to the overall footprint of the lathe!

Photo: Level 2 (Middle Level) and Level 3 (Top Level) Level 2 (Middle Level) and Level 3 (Top Level)

I like lots of holes in Level 2. You can never have to many holes. I can never understand why people make things with just a couple of holes.

In my 3rd Generation design I created the 2nd level and elevated it by 2-1/2" so I can have holes over the VFD. Something like a #2 MT live center sticking down thru a hole in the Level 2 plywood does NOT hit the top of the VFD on back of headstock. In my 1st Generation design, no holes were possible over the VFD.

The holes vary in size. So small things do NOT fall thru the holes. All of the big holes in Level 2 and Level 3 are 1-1/8" diameter. This works good for tool rests, and most #2 MT things. Because most #2 MT things have a head on them that is bigger than 1-1/8". I drill a few 11/16" holes for #2 MT things with a small head. I drill lots of holes that will accept the "Red Bar" Oneway ships with it's face plates, etc. I find that size holes works good for lots of things. Then some smaller 3/16" holes for Oneway Live Center knock out bar, etc.

The line of small holes at the front of Level 2 go down into the plywood back. Most of them are not very deep.

I drill the big holes with Forstner bits to minimize tear out and then round over the edges using a 3/16" round over router bit. I drill the smaller holes with brad point bits and then round over the edges using a SINGLE flute counter sink.

The big holes in Level 3 line up with the Level 2 holes. So long tool posts, etc just go thru both levels. I clamp Level 3 to Level 2 and then drill the hole all the way thru.

Photo: Level 1 - Left Side Level 1 – Left Side

The 3 wooden knobs sticking up help me secure things on the left side of Level 1. They are slighly smaller than the 1-1/4" spindle threads on the lathe. There are 3 more knobs on the left under UHMW codes and Colet Chunk. Then another one under the big chuck. The knobs keep things from shifting around when the lathe "rocks rattles and rolls".

In my old 1st Generation design, I drilled show big shallow holes for the chuck. See "1st Generation Shelf" photo above. That did not work out well. The knobs are a better solution.

I turned the knobs with 3/4" tenons on the bottoms that fit into 3/4" non thru holes in plywood.

Just to right of the Oneway chuck is the wrench for the chuck. Pointed to by blue arrow in photo. I REALLY like having the wrench sticking up like this rather than going thru a hole. If it goes thru a hole then the bar on the end of the wrench takes up to much space and fouls things up. When the wrench sticks up like this, it is easy to find and use.

The thing the chuck wrench fits into is 1-1/2" in diameter hard maple with a 3/4" tenon on the bottom to fit into plywood. The tenon has a 5/16" thru hole so any saw dust drops thru rather than clogging things up. The top is drilled and hollowed with a spindle gouge until the wrench fits in there like a glove.

Photo: Level 1 - Right Side Level 1 – Right Side

I drilled holes for special things behind the mat on the right side of Level 1. Things, I don't want to lose because they cost to much to replace. I size the holes to be just right. Pointed to by green arrow in photo.

From left to right. The Slide Off pin from Tailstock end of PM lathe in a nut. The Oneway Chuck screw. Center point from Oneway Live Center, Knock out bar for Oneway Live Center. The red thing is a neat little Allen wrench from Trent Bosch.

Photo: Level 1 - Powermatic Mat Removed Level 1 – Powermatic Mat Removed

This photo shows what is under the PM Mat that comes with the lathe. I routed out the plywood to allow the mat to sit there nicely. It needs to be deep around the outside and shallow in the middle to support the mat. In the front it needs to drop down a bit to match the mat.

The 2 silver flat head screws pointed to by blue arrow in photo, are really the top of 5/16" flat head bolts that I use to attach the shelf to top of headstock. I drill thru the plywood to line things up. Then remove the plywood and tap 5/16" x 18 holes.

Note: The headstock shelf is also supported by a piece of plywood bolted to the back of the headstock. See "Support Over Hand Wheel" photo below.

Photo: Level 2 & Level 3 Level 2 & Level 3

Here is a different view of Level 2 & Level 3.

Photo: Level 3 Support & Thru Holes Level 3 Support & Thru Holes

The plywood spacers between Level 2 and Level 3 are 2" wide by 3-1/2" tall. Each spacer has two 3/8" diameter holes that go all the way thru from top to bottom. I drilled them on my drill press.

I temp screwed Level 2 to Level 3 (with out the spacers). First I drilled counter sink holes in the top of Level 3 for 5/16" diameter FLAT head bolts with a SINGLE flute countersink. Then I drilled 5/16" diameter holes all the way thru both levels.

After stain and poly, I used 5 min epoxy and 6" long 5/16" flat head bolts to attach Level 3 to Level 2. I then cut off the excess bolt length. The 3/8" thru holes in spacers gave me enough wiggle room to line things up. The epoxy eliminated the wiggle after it was dry. I epoxied the nuts on because they came lose on my Oneway lathes. See "The Back" photo below for nuts on bottom of bolts.

This photo also gives you a better view of the thru holes from Level 2 to Level 3. The long tool post on the Steve Sinner tool rest goes thru both levels. The bluish grey tool rest. Steve makes his tool posts long so they work with stock PM banjo.

Photo: Side View from Spindle End Side View from Spindle End

I elevated Level 2 to make it easier to see and access things that were behind things on Level 1

This photo also shows another reason why I elevated Level 2 on my 3rd Generation design. Because, I wanted Live Centers, etc stored in the Level 2 holes to clear the VFD on back of lathe. Note: The VFD is inside of the big black box on the back of the lathe.

Photo: Zoom In Side View from Spindle End Zoom In Side View from Spindle End

The green arrow in photo points to a 1/4" deep dado in the back plywood that captures the Level 1 plywood. This allows me to screw the back plywood to Level 1 with out splitting it.

Photo: Side View from Hand Wheel End Side View from Hand Wheel End

For people who want to make something similar.

Photo: Zoom In Side View from Hand Wheel End Zoom In Side View from Hand Wheel End

Another photo for people who want to make something similar.

Note: The photo was taken from a perspective that makes it appear things are not square and/or level. Everything is square and level in the real world.

Photo: Support Over Hand Wheel Support Over Hand Wheel

The blue arrow in photo points to the plywood on the back that really supports everything. Level 1 and Level 2 are NOT just cantilevered out there.

There is NO WAY I want to bang or catch my hand on anything when I use the hand wheel. Thus nothing hangs down from above into this space. The plywood on the back is cut out to create a nice big clearance space and all the corners are rounded over. The cutout in back plywood for hand wheel clearance is 7" wide by 8" tall.

The green arrow in photo points to a 1/4" deep dado in the back plywood that captures the Level 1 plywood.

See photos below for more plywood on the back shots.

Photo: Plywood Down The Back Plywood Down The Back

The red arrow in photo points to the plywood that goes down the back of headstock. It really supports everything.

I removed the VFD (the black box on the back of the headstock) and installed the plywood using the VFD threaded mounting holes on the back of the headstock. To do this, you have to removed the back cover from VFD. Then reach in there with an Allen wrench to remove the cap head screws (aka bolts) that attach the black cover to headstock. I replaced the cap head screws with longer ones. Long enough to go thru 3/4" plywood. I drilled holes in the plywood that matched holes in black VFD cover. Then bolted everything back together thru the VFD cover. Not easy. I also had to remove and reinstall the ground wire connection to headstock. This was a pain. I had to drill a 1" hole in plywood to clear the ground wire and screw. I did NOT remove any of the wires from the VFD. I just worked around them. Not easy, but doable.

The back of the headstock is slanted inward. Thus, there is a space between the plywood and headstock. See green arrow in photo. This space is there because the VFD mounting holes go into cast iron stand offs on the back of the cast iron headstock.

Note: I known some people are not going to like dorking around with the VFD. It was my last resort. On my old PM 3520B lathe the back of the headstock was wider. Thus I got away with mounting the plywood on the back by just running it next to VFD. This was not possible on new PM 3520C lathe because the VFD with the new cover takes up almost all the space on back of headstock. See next photo.

Photo: The Back The Back

Here is what the back looks like. I took this photo when I had the headstock removed from the lathe while moving the lathe.

The magenta arrow in photo points to a 1/4" deep by 3/4" wide dado slot in the bottom of the 2nd level plywood. It is not easy to see in photo! The back plywood extends up 1/4" into this slot. Thus the back plywood did NOT split, when I glued and screwed the 2nd level plywood down to the back plywood with 2-1/2" decking screws.

If I had to do again, I would replace the plywood level 2 shelf support triangles with a custom bent aluminum bar. See red arrow in NEXT photo.

The aluminum bar would come down from one of the nuts under 3rd level support (green arrow in photo) to the bottom of plywood triangle (blue arrow in photo).

Photo: Aluminum Shelf Support on Oneway Shelf Aluminum Shelf Support on Oneway Shelf

This photo shows the shelf on the back of my Oneway 2436 lathe. Note: See "2nd Generation Shelf" photo above for the front view.

The red arrow in photo points to an aluminum shelf support that I created out of a 1/8" thick by 3/4" wide piece of aluminum bar stock from local hardware store. This chunk of aluminum takes the place of the plywood triangles in the above design. If, I had to do again, I would use aluminum bar in the above design. Easier and better looking.

Note: The plywood is attached to the back of the Oneway headstock with 4 black 5/16" socket head cap screws. You can see 2 of them in photo. I used some 1/2" hex nuts between the plywood and metal headstock to "stand off" the plywood so it would clear the round part of headstock. All of the steel used by Oneway is hard stuff. I think it may end up getting work hardened when it is bent and welded by Oneway. Thus, drilling and tapping the holes for the bolts is no easy task!

Bottom Shelf for Powermatic 3520C Lathe

Bottom Shelf for Powermatic 3520C Lathe Photo: Bottom Shelf for Powermatic 3520C Lathe

I added a Bottom Shelf to my new Powermatic 3520C lathe with roughly 240 lbs of stone weight. It is really a two level shelf. With stone on the bottom and a storage shelf above.

The new shelf is similar to one on my old Powermatic 3520B lathe. But, better. Wider and I painted it to match the lathe. See very last photo for old PM 3520B self.

I believe that all lathes, no matter how good they are, can benefit from 200+ lbs of weight added to the bottom. It reduces the "rock rattle and roll" of the lathe when you mount a big and/or out of balance piece on the lathe.

Note: For more info on my new lathe see "My New Powermatic 3520C Lathe Verses My Old Powermatic 3520B Lathe" blog entry.

Photo: Lets Skip Ahead for a Minute Lets Skip Ahead for a Minute

The above photo has all of the stone I added for weight covered up so you can NOT see it.

Here is what the stone looked like before I covered it up.

Now lets go back and see how I made the shelf.

Photo: Bottom of Leg on PM 3520C Lathe Bottom of Leg on PM 3520C Lathe

Here is what the bottom of the legs on the new PM 3520C lathe look like. I have the 4" riser blocks installed.

The photo also shows upper and lower shelf supports that are cast into the PM 3520C legs.

Photo: My Shelf Support My Shelf Support

The bottom of the shelf on my old PM 3520B lathe was roughly 9" off the floor. I liked that shelf height. It left room for my human feet under the shelf. It was relatively easy to clean under. It also left room for a second shelf on top of the stone where I could store things like my jam and vacuum chucks.

I have also added shelves to my Oneway 2436 lathes. I have decided that 8" under the shelf for your feet and clean up is a good height.

On my old PM 3520B lathe I used the upper shelf support cast into the legs. It was good. I decided it was NO good on my new PM 3520C lathe with the riser blocks installed. Both the upper and lower cast in shelf supports are to high up for my purposes. Your mileage may vary.

Thus I decided to make my own shelf support. I cut a 2×4 to fit on top of the feet. See photo. I reduced the height of the 2×4 to make the bottom of shelf 8" above the floor.

For something like this you are better off going with a nice Douglass Fir 2×4 from your local lumber yard. Avoid the cheaper pine 2x4s. DF only costs a buck or two more.

Photo: Close Up of My Shelf Support Close Up of My Shelf Support

Here is a close up shot of how I cut the end of my shelf supports on the band saw to fit. With 200+ lbs of weight on the shelf I figure it will be secure enough. Thus no bolts or glue. Latter, I will screw the shelf down to the shelf supports so they can not shift around and come out.

Photo: Plywood Top to Block Shavings Plywood Top to Block Shavings

I do not want any wood shavings getting behind my shelf supports. If the shavings are wet, or get wet then they would rust out the legs.

Thus I cut and installed a 1/8" thick piece of birch plywood to fit nice and snug.

Note: I already had some 1/8" thick birch plywood. Thus, that is what I used. A piece of 1/4" plywood or 1/8" real wood paneling would work just as well.

Photo: Stone for Weight Stone for Weight

I like to use stone for weight. If you use sand it runs out all over the floor thru any small hole.

I get my stone in the landscaping dept of local big box store. I like mini marble chips because they are heavy and small enough to fit close together in a bag.

Here I am measuring the bag. It is roughly 15" wide and 40 lbs. I am going to use 6 of these bags. 6 * 40 = 240 lbs.

Photo: Test Fit of Shelf and Stone Test Fit of Shelf and Stone

See next photo for more info.

Photo: Two Piece Shelf Two Piece Shelf

My bottom shelf is 15-1/2" wide by roughly 51 inches long. I cut the length to fit tightly in the space.

I made my shelf out of a 10' foot long Douglas Fir 2×12. The lumber was #2 grade. But, I looked thru the pile to find a piece with minimal knots.

The front half of the shelf is the standard 11-1/4" 2×12 width. I cut the back part of the shelf to make it overall 15-1/2" wide.

I have found that Douglas Fir is strong enough to span the 4+ feet with out any braces or cross ties underneath.

Photo: End Of Shelf End Of Shelf

Getting the shelf in there is not an easy task. The U shape of the legs means you can not just slide it in there from the front or back.

This photo shows how I made the 2×12 shelf roughly 1" short. Then filled in the 1" latter. This allowed me to get the shelf in there. I added the filler to add strength. The 2×12 can not shift left/right with the filler in there. Cutting off 1" was no big deal, from a strength point of view because the last 1" extends beyond the 2×4 in the bottom. The filler also prevents wet shavings from collecting and rusting out the leg.

I was able to get the narrower back half of the shelf in there, with out cutting it.

After I paint things, I will secured the shelf to the supporting 2×4 with 3" deck screws. Any good deck screw will do. I prefer Scorpion band course thread ceramic coated screws.

After I screwed things down there was no way the shelf was going to move left/right or front/back. Even if the lathe rocked, rattled and rolled.

Photo: Time to Paint Time to Paint

In this photo I am painting the self supports. I decide to paint everything in advance. Up on my work bench. I am getting to old to bend over.

I can't understand how people can spend time working in a dark crappy looking studio. I like my studio to be a bright and airy place to work. Thus, I painted the shelf to match the lathe.

I took the door off of the tailstock and took it down to my local Sherwood Williams store. I asked them to match the color. They scanned it with there computer gadget and the color came out real close.

I asked them to give me a quart of there toughest paint. They gave me some Sherwood Williams "All Surface Enamle – Acrylic Latex Interious / Exterior". They used 6509-00640 Ultradeep Base. In a gloss finish. I am not really sure about the gloss part. So far, I am real happy. The paint seems to be really though. I can slide the chucks around on the shelf with no noticable scratches yet.

I primed the bare wood with Sherwood Williams "Multi Purpose – Latex Primer" before I put on the above paint. I have found that this primer is real tough. It bounds to anything. It even bonds to the skin on your hands. Don't ask how I known!

I decided to head off a lot of questions here by telling people every last detail about the paint I used. I like Sherwood Williams, but it is not the only fish in the sea. Home Depot and Lowe's also have computers that can match paint colors. They also have good paints. The Sherwood Williams store is close to my studio.

Note: John Deer also makes a "Construction Yellow Paint" TY25627 that I have found is close to Powermatic Yellow. NOT an exact match. It is a little to yellow and bright. But, it is close. It comes in a rattle spray can. The very strong smell and the directions are almost identical to the Rust-Oleum Professional line of paints.

Photo: Flatten The Bags Flatten The Bags

I used a scrap 2×4 and a small sledge hammer to flatten out the bags of stone as I installed them.

Photo: 6 Bags of Stone 6 Bags of Stone

Here is what the 6 bags of stone looked like after I installed them. They fit in there real nice. Each bag is roughly 40 lbs. 6 * 40 = 240 lbs.

Photo: Close Up of Stone Close Up of Stone

The stone filled up the entire space real nice after I flattened it out with a 2×4 and sledge hammer.

Photo: Test Fit of Top Shelf Test Fit of Top Shelf

Here is the top shelf. I made it out of good quality 3/4" plywood. It is 16" wide so it overhangs the 15-1/2" wide shelf on the bottom. The overhang will cover up the top of the plywood that goes on the front.

I added a 3/4" square nailer strip to the bottom of the plywood to allow me to install a sheet of plywood on the front.

The ends of the plywood was scribed and cut to fit very tightly. I don't want any wet wood shavings falling down around the ends and rusting out the legs.

The plywood is roughly 50" long. I had to cut it into two pieces to get it to fit in there. See next photo.

Note: This photo is the same as the #2 photo above.

Photo: Top Shelf is Two Pieces Top Shelf is Two Pieces

This photo shows how I cut the plywood in two pieces to get it between the legs. I used my Biscuit Joiner to install some biscuits to line up the plywood ends.

You can also see in this photo that I belt sanded the front edges of the plywood were it will be exposed. I removed all open grain. After I paint it, you will hardly even known it is plywood.

Photo: Cut and Test Fit Front Plywood Cut and Test Fit Front Plywood

I cut a piece of 1/8" Birch plywood to go on the front. I don't want those bags of stone collecting wood shavings and driving me crazy for the rest of my life.

After I screw the front and back plywood in place it will actually support the top shelf and make it rock solid.

Photo: Time To Paint Again Time To Paint Again

Here is the primer coat. See "Time To Paint" photo above for paint info.

Photo: Top Coat Top Coat

Here is the top coat. See "Time To Paint" photo above for paint info.

Just one primer coat. Followed by one top coat. I put the paint on with a small 3" wide roller.

Photo: Shelf and Chip Guard Shelf and Chip Guard

This photos shows the bottom self all installed and ready to go. I installed the plywood on the front with some gold button head screws. The kind Kreg sells with its pocket hole jig.

You can also see my chip guard hanging down from some black wire ties under the ways of the lathe. This chip guard deflects all the wood chips that would drop between the ways of the lathe down a slope and out the back of the lathe. At this point the wire ties are loose. While I dork around with things. Latter I will sinch up the front of the chip guard to be tight to the bottom of ways in the front ONLY.

The chip guard is made out of 1/8" Birch plywood. You can see in photo that it is cut out to go around legs on the end. You could also use 1/8" plywood paneling rather than birch plywood.

I drilled holes thru the bed of the lathe for the wire ties. I then painted the holes with some black acrylic paint using a small round artist paint brush.

Photo: Chip Guard Chip Guard

Here is another photo of the chip guard. See previous photo for info.

Photo: The Back The Back

This photos shows the back. It is made out of one piece of 1/8" Birch plywood. Flexing it to fit in there in one piece was anything but easy!

The plywood comes all the way up in back to form the back of the top shelf from the front. See photos below. It also supports the back of the chip guard.

You can see the chip guard slopes down in the back. The chip guard is NOT fastened in the back. Very important! This allows me to reach thru the ways and tap it up and down to clear any stubborn wood shavings.

I left the middle top of the chip guard primer white. I did not paint it yellow. To make it easier to find things when I drop them in there.

Note: On my old PM 3520B I did NOT enclose the back of the stone. This turned out to be a mistake. Wood shavings collected in there and were a pain to clean out. I also did not slope the chip guard down as much. I corrected that mistake this time around.

Photo: Shelf All Done Shelf All Done

Here is a photo of the finished shelf.

Photo: Chip Guard All Done Chip Guard All Done

This photo shows how the chip guard sloped down when I was all finished. I left the bottom of the chip guard primer white to reflect light down onto the shelf.

Photo: Shelf In Use Shelf In Use

This photo shows the shelf all done and loaded up with my jam and vacuum chucks.

Photo: Pry Bar Used To Move Lathe Pry Bar Used To Move Lathe

I needed to move the lathe out to work on back and take photos. This photo shows how I used a pry bar to move the lathe out.

I can still move it, even with the 200+ lbs of stone weight on the shelf. It is not easy, but it is doable. Lift it with one hand and shove it around with the other.

Photo: Old PM 3520B Bottom Shelf Old PM 3520B Shelf

This photo shows the bottom shelf under my old PM 3520B lathe. It was not as nice.

1st Hollow Form on New Powermatic 3520C Lathe

1st Hollow Form on New Powermatic 3520C Lathe Photo: 1st Hollow Form on New Powermatic 3520C

The second thing I turned on my new Powermatic 3520C Lathe was a nice cherry hollow form.

Here is the hollow form, all done.

I put a high gloss finish on this piece. Gloss sells. But, it made getting a good photo a real pain. To many reflections.

7-1/2" diameter. 7-3/4" tall. Cherry wood.

The blank was a little out of balance. But, it did NOT give me any trouble. My new Powermatic 3520C lathe, handled it, no problem.

Note: Full disclosure. I also have a big VB36 lathe that I use for most of my hollow form turning. Turning this hollow form on my new Powermatic 3520C was a "one off" kind of thing. I did it, to check out the new lathe and write this blog entry.

Photo: Me and My New Powermatic 3520C Lathe Me and My New Powermatic 3520C Lathe

Here I am all suited up and all ready to go. Standing in front of my new Powermatic 3520C Lathe.

For more info about my new lathe see "My New Powermatic 3530C Lathe Verses My Old Powermatic 3520B" blog entry.

I really like the color of the Powermatic Turning Smock that I am wearing. Over time I have owned a lot of smocks. I have found that the AAW Turning Smock is the best design for me. It is light weight, well ventilated, sheds wood savings easily and comes out of the washing machine, looking like new. However, I really hate the blue and other dark colors! The PM smock is the same design and fabric. Just a lot better color.

Well, there is one difference / problem. The PM smock zips on the left. Most men's clothes in the US and the AAW smock zip on the right. I had to purchase my own PM smock on the web. The $50 price is the same as the AAW smock. Shipping is not cheap.

Photo: Cherry Blank Between Centers Cherry Blank Between Centers

Here is the cherry wood log blank that I started with. My silver 1 foot ruler is on top.

The blank was roughly 10" long. The blank was a bit oval and thus the diameter was difficult to measure. Sort of 9" diameter.

You can also see that the blank had a big knot in the side from a branch. I really like the interesting grain pattern this added to the finished piece. See first photo above. However, it can make the piece hard to hollow when your hollowing tool bounces around due to the hard spot created by the grain around the knot.

You can also see I am driving the blank with my big gold drive center from Stubby Lathe USA. They are no longer available. If I wanted to purchase one today, I would have to go with a Elio-DR Safe Drive or Big Bite Chuck Spur. See my "Best Drive Center" blog entry.

You can also see that the chain saw cut on the end of the log was a bit off. It is not very square. This and the knot are going to make the blank out of balance when I turn the lathe on. See next photo.

Photo: Powermatic 3520C Stability Video Powermatic 3520C Stability Video

I was pleasantly surprised to find my new lathe was able to spin this sort of out of balance log at 500 rpm. Almost not problem. See the video at right. Take note of the glass of water on the bed of the lathe.

The log was sort of out of balance due to the NON square cut on the end of the log and the bit knot. See previous photo.

I strongly believe that all lathes can be vastly improved by adding 200+ lbs of weight to a shelf on the bottom of lathe. This makes them run a lot more stable. In this video I have NOT added any weight yet. Thus I was not expecting it to be this stable.

I will be adding a shelf with 200+ lbs of weight to this lathe. I have already done it. Stay turned for a future blog entry.

Note: One data point does not really prove anything. Your mileage may vary! I am sure my mileage will vary. Maybe the piece is not really all that far out of balance.

Photo: Movable Control Box. Movable Control Box.

This photo shows how I moved the new movable control box for the lathe. While I was truing up the end of the log. I am getting ready to mount a face plate.

Photo: Trued Up End Trued Up End

This photo shows the end of the log after I trued it up. I am getting ready to mount it on a face plate.

Photo: Oneway Banjo Oneway Banjo

The new PM banjo that comes with the new PM 3520C is better than the old PM 3520B banjo. But, I still really do not like the offset design of the PM banjo.

I strongly prefer the NON offset design of the Oneway banjo shown in this photo. It allows me to get the banjo in there with out having to crank the quill in the tailstock way out. For more info see Oneway Banjo section of "My New Powermatic 3530C Lathe Verses My Old Powermatic 3520B" blog entry.

The stock PM tool rest is ok. But, it is to tall to fit in a Oneway banjo. PM make their banjos extra low to accommodate there tool rest.

The tool rest you see here is the one I prefer. It was custom made for me. It is very similar to the one I really love on my big VB36 lathe. I like my tool rests to be at least a 1/2" wide and almost flat on top so I can feel when my bowl gouge is straight across on top of the rest. I also prefer really beefy and strong tool rests. So there is absolutely no flex or vibration out near the end of the rest. Thus I like my rests to be made out of a 1/2" thick by 2" wide STEEL bar. With a 1" post that slopes off at 45 degrees, 3/4" of an inch below the top of the rest. With a really big and beefy weld between the post and steel bar. I like to have 4", 9" and 14" long tool rests for each lathe.

I do NOT like the Oneway tool rests or the Robust tools rests with the silly little round bar on top. "To each is own!"

Photo: Attach Oneway Face Plate Attach Oneway Face Plate

This photo shows me attaching a Oneway face plate after truing up the end of the blank.

I strongly prefer to use face plates rather than chucks. With proper screws they are the most secure way to mount something on the lathe.

I like to use #14 stainless steel sheet metal screws. I prefer square drive. item #93945A071 for 1.5 inch long screws. I can easily drive the screws in with a Cordless Impact Driver. You can see my Makita impact driver in the background.

Photo: The Powermatic Face Plate The Powermatic Face Plate

This photos shows the 3" PM face plate that comes with a PM 3520C lathe, on the left. A Oneway 4" face plate is on the right.

The thin little crappy cast iron face plates that come with most modern lathes, are worthless. They will crack almost instantly if you really screw them down with decent screws. The PM face plate is thick and beefy. Thus it is ok. A big step above what comes with most lathes. I some times use it. But, for this size log the bigger 4" Oneway face plate is a better choice.

Photo: Blank on Face plate Blank on Face plate

Here is the blank mounted on a face plate. Ready to turn.

I ALWAYS use the tailstock when possible for safety. It takes like 20 seconds to put the tailstock in place. Going to the hospital to get stitched up takes hours!

Photo: Round Blank Round Blank

Here is what the blank looked like after I roughed it down to round.

I like to use a John Jordan 5/8" V Bowl Gouge to rough turn things. John's V shape is deep and wide open at the top. It just seems to work better than anything else I have tried. It cuts really fast and consistently throws a chip that I can easily aim to land directly in my trash can.

For more info see "My Modern Woodturning Tool Set" blog entry.

Photo: Rough Shape Rough Shape

Here is what the blank looked like after I roughed in a shape.

I always start on the left. I remove a chuck of wood with a 45 degree angle cut this is big enough to get me back above the screws. This way I known, latter when I turn my finial shape, the the bottom will NOT end up in the screws. Then I extend the 45 degree cut a little more to the right when my bottom shape will allow it.

I work on the right, after I get the left roughed in. I removed a chunk of wood on the right with a 45 degree angle cut when my top shape will allow it. Then I true up the top of the blank and make it a little concave.

I usually do this step using my Jordan 5/8" V Bowl Gouge.

Photo: Finished Outside Shape Finished Outside Shape

Here is the finished outside shape.

I find that cutting the shape using the "wing" on a 5/8" Ellsworth Bowl Gouge works best. I cut the rim detail using my 1/2" Hosaluk Double Bevel Detail Gouge.

In the past, I would then shear scrape with my Ellsworth Bowl Gouge or an Al Stirt style shear scrapper. In really green wood, I have progressed to the point where I can now cut the outside shape cleaner using my 1/2" Hosaluk Double Bevel Detail Gouge. You can see in the photo that the surface is pretty good. I have NOT sanded it yet.

Photo: 7-1/2 7-1/2″ Diameter

The finished piece ended up being roughly 7-1/2" in diameter.

You can clearly see in this photo that the pith ended up being off center. Some people would be upset by this. I have decided I really don't care. I just don't want the pith IN the rim. Anywhere else in the top, where it will get cut OUT, when I hollow is OK.

The pith regardless of where it is (on center or off center) in the bottom will always cause cracks. It will also, always cause some distortion in the rim. I don't really care. I have learned to love the distortion it adds. It makes each piece unique and more artistic.

Photo: 7-3/4 7-3/4″ Tall

Here is a nice side profile shot. The finished piece ended up being roughly 7-3/4" tall.

Photo: To Drill or Not To Drill To Drill or Not To Drill

I always drill out the center on my pieces using a 1" diameter morse tapper shank drill. The drill mounts directly in the tail stock via the morse taper shank.

Drilling out the center, establishes my inside bottom depth and makes the hollowing process a lot easier and faster.

The funny copper thing attached to the drill is my laser guide. It makes drilling the hole to the correct depth, fast and easy. A red laser points down from the green tip. It shows precisely where the tip of the drill is inside of the blank. You can not see the red laser beam in the photo. But you can see the red dot from the laser on the very tip of the drill if you look closely.

Photo: Hollowing Rig with TV Hollowing Rig with TV

This photo shows my Hollowing Rid with TV Camera and TV Screen.

I ALWAYS hollow with the lathe running in reverse. Thus the cutter head in this photo is set up to cut on the right side.

I use a Trent Bosch Hollowing Stabilizer rig with a Rolly Munro cutter head.

I really love the Bosch Stabilizer. Because, it takes all the stress out of holding the hollowing tool level and it does not let the hollowing tool twist or roll over. However, It DOES NOT restrict my movement. I still have a tool handle, like on my bowl gouges and free hand hollowing tools. I can keep that tool handle up against my body, unlock my knees and use my body to hollow out a nice shape. Just like, I do when turning a bowl. Just like, I have practiced over and over again, while learning to turn a bowl. I don't like any of the other hollowing rigs (Jamieson, Elbo, Monster, etc) because they restrict my movement and I have to maneuver the tools using just my arms. I can't use my body.

I use a "Munro Hollower II" cutter head with a carbide cutter. I purchase the cutter head from Steve Sinner and supply my own custom 3/4" steel bar. I like the older "Munro Hollower II" rather than the new "Munro Wundercutt 10 Hollower". The new one does not work as well for this application.

I have created my own TV system. Finding the right camera is a HUGE problem. Thus I recommend people purchase the Trent Bosch Visualizer system. It is not cheap at $650. However, making your own system may approach this cost after a few miss steps, etc.

For more info on my hollowing rig click here.

Photo:  TV System in Action TV System in Action

This photo shows the TV system in action. In the lower half, you can see the Munro cutter head is just starting to hollow out the top of the piece. Pointed to by magenta arrow in photo.

On the TV you can see part of the cutter head is exposed. The other part is represented by the blue line on screen. Pointed to by the blue arrow on photo.

The red line is my target wall thickness. Pointed to by the red arrow in photo. The red line is 1/4" away from blue line in real life down on the tool rest. Up on the TV monitor it is more like 1/2" due to magnification of TV camera and monitor.

The green arrow on photo points to the tiny TV camera.

My TV camera works best in low light. So I normally shut most of the overhead lights off. The bright light on the piece in photo is for the photo.

I draw the red and blue lines on the TV screen with white board dry erase markers. They did not show up well in my photo with the bright light for photo. Thus I enhanced them (redrew them) in Photoshop. I also added the red, blue, green and magenta arrows in Photoshop.

Photo: Cutter Head on TV Cutter Head on TV

This photo shows the completely hidden cutter head represented by blue and red lines on TV screen. The blue line is the outline of the cutter head. The red line is my target wall thickness.

In the real world, after I draw the red and blue lines on the TV screen they ALWAYS move in sync with the cutter head. Because the TV camera moves in sync with the cutter head. i.e. the TV camera is always directly over and pointing down at the cutter head. Back up 2 photos to see TV camera mount. For more info see "Trent Bosch Visualizer" on YouTube.

In this case, I want my finial wall thickness to be roughly 3/16". Thus I have drawn the red line so it is 1/4" away from blue line. I will rough the wall thickness to 1/4" by going to the outside of the red line. Then. I will come back with a finish cut to the inside of the red line. The red line on screen is roughly 1/16" of wall thickness wide. Thus I will end up with a 3/16" finial wall thickness.

Note: I enhanced the red and blue lines in this photo in Photoshop.

Photo: Inside of Hollow Form Inside of Hollow Form

This photo shows the inside of the hollow form after I have hollowed it out partially. The rim is pretty much finished. The side walls are still a little thick. The depth hole, I drilled in the center is still visible.

Photo: Let There be Light Let There be Light

In this photo I am double checking the wall thickness with a $10 Jansjo LED light from Ikea. The really bright part of the piece is the white sap wood on the Cherry log. The darker part is the brown heart wood. The WET sap wood always transmits more light than the heart wood.

Everything looks good here. I am done hollowing.

This photo also shows my normal almost dark lighting in the room. You can see on the TV screen that my TV camera is real happy with this level of light.

Photo: Ready to Sand Ready to Sand

This photo shows the bottom cleaned up. Ready to be sanded and then parted

I used a bowl gouge to start finishing up the bottom. I removed any extra wood I left earlier to support the piece while hollowing. Then I sand.

Photo: Sanded and Buffed Sanded and Buffed

This photo shows the piece after it has been sanded to 220 then buffed with synthetic steel wood and a towel.

I started with a green (aka soaking wet) log. But, in this case, it was not to wet. Thus I got away with sanding and buffing it on the lathe.

First I sand with red 80 and 120 grit Sia Soft cloth & foam back sand paper from "Vince's Wooden Wonders". I use 9 or 10 3" x 4" pieces of Sia Soft. At first, each piece jams very quickly with a short of brown mush because the wood is wet. You get brown mush rather than saw dust. However, friction dries the SURFACE of the wood as you go. Eventually the sand paper comes away almost clean.

Then, I switch to 3" round Mirka AutoNet Mesh sanding disks from "Buff Daddy". I sand thru 120, 180 and then 220 grits. I never go beyond 220. I buff beyond 220! AutoNet is very similar to AbraNet made by Mirka. AutoNet is cheaper. Otherwise I can't tell the difference.

Then, I buff with Carl Ford Medium and Fine synthetic steel wool (nylon mesh pads, scotch brite pads, etc). I prefer the Silicon Carbide stuff that is for use on metals. I use it on wood. No problem. I get it from McMaster Carr, item # 4659A17 and 4659A18. Mcmaster calls it ulta, super dupper, extra fine or something crazy like that. I just call it medium and fine.

Finally, I buff with a blue Surgical Cotton Huck Towel from Amazon.

Photo: It Looks Good! It Looks Good!

Another photo of the piece after it has been sanded and buffed.

The circular grain on the right is the knot from the branch. See photos at beginning. The white on the left is the sap wood. The brown is the heart wood.

Photo: Jam Chuck Jam Chuck

This photo shows a jam chuck that is the perfect size for my stretch wrap plastic trick. Just a little smaller than the piece. See next photo.

Photo: Stretch Wrapped Stretch Wrapped

This photo shows the piece being held on the jam chuck via stretch wrap.

This will allow me to finish the bottom with out a vacuum chuck. I try to avoid using my vacuum chuck system when the piece is wet green wood. Because, the vacuum sucks the water unevenly out of the piece.

You can purchase stretch wrap in 4" wide rolls from local office supply store.

Photo: Bottom Ready for Sanding Bottom Ready for Sanding

This photo shows the piece after I removed the face plate and cut away the excess wood with a 1/2" bowl gouge. I like to use a 1/2" bowl gouge with an Al Stirt grind to remove most of the wood. I then use my 1/2" Hosaluk Double Bevel Detail Gouge to cut off the last little nib and finish up.

Photo: Bottom Ready For Finish Bottom Ready For Finish

This photos shows the bottom all sanded and buffed. Ready for finish.

Photo: Ready for Finish Ready for Finish

This photo shows the piece all done. Ready for a finish.

Photo: Oh Man Look at that Rust! Oh Man Look at that Rust!

This photo shows why some people waste a ton of money on stupid stainless steels ways for their lathe. They think this is rust. NO WAY! This is not rust.

I was turning a nice green (i.e. wet) cherry log. The sap in a cherry log is a thin brown colored liquid. When you turn a wet cherry log on a lathe the sap comes flying out and lands on the ways. When it drys on the ways it looks like this. Yea, it may look like rust. But, it is not!

You can easily clean this mess off with a little WD40, a chunk of synthetic steel wool, and a paper towel. See next photo.

You have to clean this mess up EVEN if you have stainless steel ways! Yea, that's right! Stainless ways DO NOT stop the mess from happening! You have to clean the ways even if they are stainless. So why waste a ton of money on stainless?

Stainless steel ways cost big bucks. I can purchase a ton of WD40 for a lot less.

Photo: All Cleaned Up All Cleaned Up

This photos shows the ways of the lathe after I cleaned off the brown cherry wood sap. It took like 2 minutes.