Shop Progress

Got footings and a French drain done.

Turns out we have a lot of topsoil on top of underground water running thru our property. They had to dig a bit deeper than planned to get to something solid, and put in a foot of gravel.

The drain is flowing constantly.

Shop Build is Underway!

We moved across town earlier this year, and I no longer have a dedicated shop space. I am working from the garage, temporarily.

Been waiting most of the spring – designs, engineering, approvals, permits… so much to get done with nothing apparently happening!

Yesterday, the excavator showed up and broke ground. I’m pretty excited!

Powermatic Swing Away Modification

I love the Swing-Away for my Powermatic 3520B. But I didn’t like that it took something like 25 revolutions (I may be exaggerating a bit) of the knob to tighten or loosen it.

So I just added a couple washers and now it only takes about 1-1/2 turns. Much easier to manage with one hand while holding the tailstock with the other.

To remove the knob and add the washers, there’s a snap ring on the threaded end.


This is a kitchen item for steadying bowls on the counter, but it is great in the shop. It’s a silicone ring that helps keep bowls (etc) steady on the bench while I work on them. There’s two sides – one smaller than the other so it adapts to lots of situations.

Multi-position Wolverine Arm

My current setup for sharpening gouges has the same offset and same Wolverine jig setting for bowl and spindle gouges. The only difference is the V-arm offset. So I made a multi-position arm, and can keep it setup without needing to adjust the arm for different gouges.

Got a length of 3/4″ square stock from the hardware store. Found a scrap of wood and cut a V in the bottom (with a router bit) and screwed it to the square stock. Then measured and drilled 3 holes (using a regular twist drill at an angle).

The longest offset is for my bowl gouges. The middle hole does two things – spindle gouge and the back-bevel on the bowl gouges. And the shortest offset is for back-bevel on a spindle gouge.

So I don’t have to re-adjust the arm. It also allows me to keep platforms at various angles setup on the other wheels of my grinders, with less adjusting of those too.

Chuck Sizing Guides – Upgraded

I have updated my Chuck Sizing Guides. The “new” shape is simpler to use.

These are not marking gauges – that is, I don’t use them to mark the blank. Instead I use them to check my marks. So first, I guess at the right diameter and mark the blank. Then I check it with the gauge and re-mark. Usually that’s all it takes, but a third adjustment will get me there in any case.

I have never liked holding metal calipers against spinning wood. These seem safer, easy to use, and I don’t have to remember or look up numbers to set the calipers.

I cut guides for each of my chuck jaws from scrap 1/4″ plywood. There is a point on one end and a flat on the other. From the point to one corner of the flat is the right size to start a tenon, to the other corner is for a recess.

Getting the measurements right took a bit of trial-and-error. The measurement I wanted was where I start cutting the tenon or recess. The diameter where you start cutting ends up on the inside of the jaws when you’re done.

So to get the measurements, I removed two jaw segments from the chuck and placed them in their perfect-round diameter (where the gap between the segments is about 3/16″). That makes a half-circle and I can measure between the jaws, near the bottom.

For the recess, the starting point can not be any smaller than with the jaws fully closed, otherwise you won’t get the jaws into the recess. That turns out to be about the right diameter when you expand the jaws.

I made a guide for one of my jaws, and tested it out by making a tenon. Then I tweaked the guide to get it just right. I used that “tweak” to help me know how best to measure for the other jaws. I feel this is important, as the guides have to match my style and how I use them.

I marked the measurements I ended up with on the guide, so I can re-make it if it breaks. They are painted blue so I can see them amongst the chips when I drop them.

The guides also have a small slot cut on the side to indicate the maximum chuck jaw depth.

Low-Speed Mod for my PM3520B

I added a 150 ohm resistor to the ground-side of the speed control potentiometer. I had done some measurements and that was the right resistance to let the lathe run at its lowest speed (48 RPM on the low pulley) when the speed control is all the way down. It used to stop the motor.

When I needed to run the lathe really slow, it was tricky to find the spot with the speed knob.

I may someday want to be able to turn the motor off with the speed control again. If that is the case, I’ll get a switched potentiometer to replace the original one. Then I can turn it down all the way to get low speed, and just click the knob to switch it off.

Headstock Tool Rack

I made a rack to sit on the headstock and hold my chuck keys, allen wrenches, and a few other tools I want to have nearby.

It’s simple: A chunk of scrap wood, with a lip routed out to fit the headstock, and 3 rare-earth magnets to hold it on. Looking at the pictures, it appears I cut out for the headstock and glued on another piece for the top. Whatever works!

The magnets aren’t enough to hold up the weight of the chuck allen keys, but adding the lip over the top of the headstock does the trick.

I drilled holes for the wrenches and things so that the shorter ones are in the middle, and don’t interfere with the spindle handwheel.

Wood Turning by Dave Landers