What Lathe height?

Hi. I’m new to turning and have just bought my first lathe the Ax Craft AC305wl. It a bench mounted one.

What kind of height should I be using it at? Eg spindle level with waist, mid way chest etc?

Many thanks in advance.


I’ve just had swift measure of my V1628 on a cast iron stand and it 1.114m from the centre of the spindle to the floor - Rob

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Thanks Woodbloke. I’ll see what that looks like. I’m only a hobbit so all is relative!


No problem. I was round at your place just before Christmas :joy: - Rob

Who left the door open? Cost a fortune to heat that place!

Woodbloke. I think you missed the point, Zubar was asking about height in relation to his (elbow) etc.

Im not in a position to measure mine currently, but can do so tomorrow, I’m guessing spindle at or just above elbow should suit.

Zubar: You can hopefully find ‘your’ comfort height, at least with a bench mount it should be easy to move upward!!

BTW: Earth houses are inherently warm.

Barry :wink:

@Barry thanks for that, exactly what I was after. Gives me a guide anyway. I’m sure there is a degree of personal preference.

I know about the earth houses but comedy isn’t my finest point!!

Thanks all, I’ll let you know how I get on.
Roll on the weekend!


Barry, you’re right of course; depends on your height (or otherwise if you’re a Hobbit :joy:) but maybe you don’t need to worry about it?

I just had a quick play with a tape and my elbow is 100cm from the floor, with shoes on. The lathe is 35cm bench to spindle centre.
This seems to fit with woodblokes measurements to a degree.

I’ll likely bodge up some kind of stand for it.

Do you think it would be ok to fix the lathe eg screw it directly to the stand? It has ‘rubber’ feet which are very hard so unlikely to provide any damping effect as they are.

Thanks for all the advice, it’s much appreciated.


Yep, I would use some decent sized screws or bolts to fix it to the stand, just in case the lathe goes ‘walkabout’ when you’re turning something. Also, I’d advise building a shelf of some sort in the stand and loading it with bricks to give added mass; one of the reasons that woodworking machinery is usually made from cast iron.

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I agree both about the height being just a tad above your elbow height and as we have just moved in to our new, to us, house and I have almost got my workshop sorted I have just finished bolting my lathe to the concrete floor.

Beware though! Turning is a very slippery slope and once you are on it it becomes addictive. I was never going to touch it 23 years back and I’m still enjoying it :star_struck::star_struck:

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I now have my lathe mounted on a home made stand. It’s rather robust made out of some appx 2/4 rough sawn larch I had left over from a garden bridge project.

I’m very happy so far. The lathe needed a little fettling to get it up and running.
The finish on the bed was very poor as was the underside of the tool rest saddle and head stock. Also the end of the bolt that locked the tool rest was terrible, meaning it twisted on tightening. Much grinding and finishing was needed for all parts.

Now running fairly smooth and I managed to make lots of shavings and a bit of wood with features in it.

Now for some real projects!


Hi Zubar, it doesn’t look as if you have had any replies ? The best height I have found is when you are stood the centre shoud be about a couple of inches above elbow height. I too built my own stand for my Record CL1. It has a 2 x 6 bed and 2 X 4 ‘A’ frame legs. It’s bolted to the floor and cross braced with steel wire and tensioners. It saves me chasing it around the workshop and makes it rock solid.

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Hi Zubar, I find the most comfortable height for me is when my elbow is level with the tool rest, with my arm vertical of course! This works for me, but may not suit everyone.

Cheers, Keith

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Thanks everyone for your advice. I have my lathe on a home made stand/bench thing with the spindle at about elbow height. I’ll g with this for a while and can always change things.
I have two offers of some coaching (not pro) which should help a lot.

Thing is I will be picking up an anvil on Monday so my time will be divided!!


Quick update. The lathe is doing well although I’ve been busy with a new job so have struggled to get turning time in. However new year and new drive to make shavings!

I do also now have the anvil and forge so time is divided!