Table Saw Wood Lathe




Introduction: Table Saw Wood Lathe

Safety First
Do not attempt this project if you do not practice proper shop safety at all times. This project may appear dangerous but with proper precautions you can lessen the possibility of injury. I take no responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of this instructable. I am not responsible for you building this instructable and using it in an unsafe manner, proceed at your own risk.


21/64” drill bit (or smaller)

3/8” drill bit (to fit the t-nut)

5/16” threaded rod

10 - 5/16” nuts

4 – 5/16” washers

4 - bearings

1 - threaded t-nut

1 1/2" wood screw - lots


4 – 13” x 6” ends (hole in centre of plywood)

1 – 13” x 18” base

2 – 2 ½” x 18” side rails

2 – 2” x 18” top rails

1 – 10” x 6” “wobble board”

36” of 1” x 3/8” hardwood stock

Note: With the hole in the centre of the end boards, it's offset from the blade and higher than the blade. If the blade were set at it's highest position it could not come in contact with the bearings or the metal threaded rods.Your saw blade location and height may vary, it's up to you to locate the holes in the plywood so as to not contact the saw blade, threaded rod and drill.

Step 1: Tracks

Use the 36" of hardwood stock and cut it to fit the tracks of your table saw. My saw has recesses at the bottom of the tracks and I shaped the wood to fit the shape of the tracks. This will reduce any upward force the saw blade would have on the revolving wood blank.

Fasten the wood runners to the plywood base. Ensure you countersink any fasteners used on the runners so they do not scratch the tracks on your saw.

Step 2: Box Build

I hope you are a visual learner. Put all the pieces of wood together to make an object similar to the pictures shown.

Step 3: Tail Stock

You need 4 bearings. I had an old skateboard on my shop wall that no one had used in some time so i harvested the bearings from it. Hint, You might be surprised at what you have around the house that hasn't been used in awhile either.

Take a length of the threaded rod, sharpen one end, but not to sharp, place 4 nuts, 2 washers and 2 bearings on the rod, see the picture.

Step 4: Tail-stock Assembled in End Boards

Drill a hole in the center of the end boards. Drill a hole to recess the bearings. Place the threaded rod, nuts, washers and bearing in the end boards as shown.

Step 5: Headstock

Take a length of the threaded rod, place 4 nuts, 2 washers and 2 bearings on the rod, see the picture.

Wood blank - I used a 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" x 13" long piece of hardwood.

Drill 2 holes in the center of the wood blank. One to fit the tail stock, the other to fit the t-nut.

Step 6: Wood Blank Setup

Place one end of the wood blank into the tail-stock, screw the other end into the head-stock. Tighten the nut closest to the head-stock first, then tighten the second to to the first one. Then tighten the nuts on the outside of the box and the head-stock. Ensure the whole apparatus once tightened can be freely turned by hand, this may take some adjustment. see video. Place a drill on the head-stock and using at medium speed turn the blank, see video.

Step 7: Ready Set Cut

Raise the blade of the saw so it just touches the wood blank then raise it a bit more. Go slow, in all it took 5 passes to create a round dowel.

Sanding - If you are right handed, reverse your drill and use your left hand on the drill and your right hand on the sandpaper. Don't press to hard or you could twist your wrist. I used 80 grit sandpaper and then decreased the roughness of the sandpaper.

Step 8: Look What I Made

The first dowel I made was of softwood so I would reduce any possible damage to my saw. I had some hardwood glued up and my next dowel was a short hardwood one. This is where I realized I need a "wobble" board to reduce the wobble in the threaded rod.

Step 9: Wobble Board

If you want to make short dowels you will need a "wobble" board within 2" of the wood blank. Also 2 more nuts tightened to the t-nut. I would suggest you make long dowels and then cut them to length.

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    14 Discussions

    it seems that if you view the instructions in the app the videos don't work but if you view the instructions in a web browser, the videos do work

    The app has been discontinued, they don't update it anymore...

    Direct link to one of the youtube videos;

    There are 3 videos: Step 6 has 2 videos and Step 7 has 1 video.

    This is hilarious!

    Clever idea and a very simple project.

    Here's a suggestion for if you're feeling masochistic: Rotate the jig 90 degrees to cut grooves or, for other shapes into the side of the dowel, by actively rotating the dowel while raising/lowering the saw blade.

    1 reply

    For safety purpose, you should put an "end block" to stop the trail so you can't push it too much and touch the blade with the drill (or worse...)

    1 reply

    Thank you for the feedback and taking the time to comment. I might use your idea to improve on the safety of the apparatus.

    Great idea and well executed but please devise a “stop” so you can’t advance in to the blade. A plexiglass shield would also be an easy safety measure should the stock get loose and fall into the blade. All that said what a great solution for the need of a large dowel.

    1 reply

    Thank you for taking the time to comment and your ideas to improve safety.