Guide Of How To Make A Wood Lathe With A Drill

Throughout thousands of years, woodworking is a part of human civilization, and the way of this job has changed drastically. With technology growing rapidly, we have some of the finest equipment for woodworking today. Among them, a wood lathe is the most common machinery. You can do various woodturning projects along with drilling and spindling.

However, a wood lathe is really expensive. If you are into DIY and have all the basic tools available, you can save the expenses by making your own wood lathe at home. We are going to show you the process here-

Some Basic Facts

Since you are going to make a wood lathe, you should know some basic factors about it. It can prepare you more for the upcoming project.

  • Wood lathes are only for working with woods and different from metal lathes.
  • You definitely need a chisel set consisting of different sized chisels to work with your wood lathe.
  • The working process of a wood lathe is easy to understand. The set-up can seem more complex. After setting-up and turning the machine on, the workpiece will move at high velocity in a rotary motion, and you will carve out the piece using a suitable chisel.
  • Since the workpiece moves at a rotary motion, you can only create spherical or cylindrical shaped stuff. So, you cannot make a square or rectangular shape using a wood lathe.
  • The process of making something wooden using a lathe is called woodturning.
  • You can not use a DIY wood lathe for large jobs.

See this diagram for a better view of an original wood lathe-

diagram for a better view of an original wood lathe


Since you are going for a project, you will need to prepare everything. Gather all the necessary instruments beforehand so that you are not forced to get a tool in the middle of something. To turn the old drill of yours into a wood lathe, collect these items-

  • A Jigsaw machine where you will cut the wooden pieces into required sizes and shapes
  • A drilling machine
  • A grinder
  • Hose clamps of large sizes to tighten your drill to the wood lathe.
  • A bearing
  • A wooden board
  • A ruler or tape measure to measure pieces
  • A pencil to mark on the wood
  • Some bolts
  • Nuts of long size
  • Wood glue
  • A clean cloth.

Once you have gathered all these items, you are ready for the job.

Making of the Wood Lathe


Follow the step-by-step instruction below to make your desired wood lathe using your own tools at home-

  • Start by getting a long wooden board. Cut it down into 4 pieces, where 3 are smaller than one. The bigger piece is the base of the lathe. Use the tape measure to measure the pieces properly. Measure the pieces in accordance with the size of the workpieces you will work on.
  • Once you are done with that, cut another board into two pieces. The pieces should be equal in size. They will be the frame where one holds the workpiece, and the other holds the drill.
  • Create a stand where you will mount the drill on. This stand will have the same length as the frame and the same width of the drill. Remember that the drill and the stand will have to be fit properly. However, it should not block the drill while it rotates.
  • Afterward, take the two frames. Use the drilling machine to drill a hole in one of them to set-up the bearing. Drill a hole to the other frame as well so that you can put a bolt through it.
  • Take a grinder and two bolts. Grind out one of them to make a point, which will hold the workpiece. Meanwhile, the other bolt will get a fork-shaped grinding, which will be attached to the drill.
  • Be sure that the frames are completely in the right size. Now, using wood glue and nails, connect them to the base.
  • Give a cut through the frame to slide the hose clamps through them. Set the drill on the frame. Tighten it firmly using the hose clamps.
  • Attach a bolt into the frame. Connect the bolt to the drill and fasten it with a nut.
  • The drill should stay firmly against the bearing.
  • Prepare the chisel stand with nails and glue.
  • Get a wooden piece to connect it firmly to the fork-shaped bolt. Use another bolt for this tightening process.

There you go. Now you are officially ready to start working with your wooden workpieces using your wood lathe.

Video Explanation

Final Note

Once you are done making the wood lathe, you can try coloring it and/or providing any finish to increase its durability. Make sure to measure everything correctly before permanently attaching it to another object.

You can use a pencil to mark out different measurements. In case you do not know how to use the parts of a wood lathe, we suggest you research them before working with one.

Last Updated on 2 years by Richard Boyer

  • June 8, 2022
Richard Boyer

Richard Boyer has been a professional welder for over 27 years of his life, and now he is a trainer and blogger providing critical information to anyone interested in welding. He is helping out both hobbyists, novice and professional welders to learn newer and better techniques. Read more about me

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