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The Editors Mailbox

The Biggest Lathe We've Ever Seen

comments (26) August 3rd, 2012 in blogs

kenstonge Ken St. Onge, Contributor
thumbs up 24 users recommend

While we certainly understand that larger lathes can be quite expensive, this just takes things a bit too far. Please, dont try this at home. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

While we certainly understand that larger lathes can be quite expensive, this just takes things a bit too far. Please, don't try this at home.

Watch as a pair of Canadian woodworkers use an old minivan converted into a bowl-turning lathe in this gimmicky video they posted earlier this year. Why attempt it? Their tonque-in-cheek explanation in the video is that "you kinda gotta (sic.) have a little bit of imagination up here in Canada. Not everybody has a lathe so we're using our "'crossover vehicle...'"

The "advantages" of this custom design include a swivel head and variable speed, not to mention about 100 horsepower. For a tool, they used a heavy duty design known in other parts of the world as a "plow." For gouges, they used some old metal pipes.


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posted in: blogs, woodturning, lathe, dangerous, Car, car lathe

Comments (26)

oldchoolpirate oldchoolpirate writes: Hilarious! There's so much great content on this site, if you can't enjoy a bit of off-beat humor mixed in from time to time then, yes, you should probably should leave fww. Most woodworkers I know have a great sense of humor, not grumpy like some of these commenters.
Posted: 5:31 am on October 15th

Fabuladico Fabuladico writes: Ah! Nothing like July in Canada! I'll bet this guy is Red Green's cousin.
Posted: 7:57 pm on August 21st

Weebee_Wood Weebee_Wood writes: I believe this garbage may be the breaking point to cancel my subscription with FWW.
Posted: 1:55 pm on August 20th

ktpowell54 ktpowell54 writes:
the name of this magazine is "Fine Woodworking" not "Rube Woodworking". In my opinion, this magazine web site has become a bit like Tosh.O
Posted: 1:22 pm on August 20th

maxtheknive maxtheknive writes: The most stupid thing I ever seen in woodworking! I'm shy to be canadian.....
Posted: 6:57 am on August 18th

beechouse beechouse writes: Truth be known, these guys are really located in the upper peninsula of Michigan. The residents of that area are called "upers" and have a speech, lingo and attitudes all their own, which you can hear when he talks. Mow, being pretty good fellas, they were concerned about the embarassment their families would feel, so,why not claim Canada as home?
Posted: 8:32 am on August 17th

TimWood57 TimWood57 writes: Thanks for the laugh! (Most) everyone knows it's a spoof, but woodworkers are notorious for adaptation.
Posted: 4:29 am on August 16th

spokeshave27 spokeshave27 writes: For goodness sake some of you need to lighten up and just enjoy the homour!
Posted: 10:04 pm on August 15th

frankcello frankcello writes: This is the same guy that cuts his dovetails with a chainsaw!!
Posted: 6:18 pm on August 15th

dohboy dohboy writes: Thanks for the laugh FWW!!! I think most woodworkers have a sense of humor!
Posted: 8:15 pm on August 12th

PlaneJoe PlaneJoe writes: I am a proud western Canadian but this is an embarrassment!
Posted: 6:02 pm on August 12th

GaryW GaryW writes: Totally absurd! Is FWW losing it?
Posted: 9:05 pm on August 11th

GaryW GaryW writes: Totally absurd! I cant believe FWW posted this!!! Are you losing it?
Posted: 8:59 pm on August 11th

FldTrlr FldTrlr writes: If this is the kind of content that "Fine" Woodworking thinks it's readers will find useful (or even entertaining enough to take up space on their website)you can count me out. When I want to watch clowns I will go to the circus.

Posted: 9:46 pm on August 8th

Moongu Moongu writes: Several years ago I visited George Ouellet in Powell River BC. George is an absolute wood addict and has the largest collection of burls I have ever seen! hi is also an inveterate tool maker and tinkerer.

He showed me his latest project. And what a tool it was. He had converted a lathe used by the shipbuilding industry (for shafts) into a wood lathe more than 40 feet long. He cut posts for use in the local airport and, if I remember correctly, he was able to take off almost an inch of wood at a single pass using a multi-cutter head that resembled what your hand would look like if you were to offset each of the four knuckles from the ones beside it.

And it wasn't driven by a car engine!
Posted: 6:09 pm on August 5th

roydh roydh writes: The Video that DannyMcC posted shows a man that should be honored by woodworkers. The video here is interesting but I would be more interested in seening an article about the other guy. Thanks Danny

Posted: 12:22 pm on August 5th

alchemy alchemy writes: Check out the truck mounted lathe (dubbed "the scorpion") that Keith Holaman is using to turn his projects on. Here's a link to the video on Vimeo.
Posted: 8:21 am on August 5th

user-469375 user-469375 writes: If memory serves me, you guys published, many years ago, an article that featured a guy that build a lathe from a truck axle. He had braces to the ceiling as well as to the floor. He used it to turn 36" or better pieces that were 18" to 24" thick. He then cut hunks out of each piece to make chairs. I think it was bigger.:-)
Posted: 7:51 pm on August 4th

StonePalette StonePalette writes: 1st, it required no duct tape at all so we can be sure Red Green is out. 2nd it is a new truck, again Red Green out of the picture .... I think they preferred Gremlins and Pintos. 3rd At the Hawley Gun Club in Hawley PA there is an old car that has served as the engine and mechanicals for a saw mill and lathe for more that 50 years. It can even cut and turn rocks if you wish (big area for blue stone and slate). Grizzly and Wood Mizer eat your heart out.
However - I do believe that Red Green would have done a better job ... maybe taking advantage of positraction to turn two bowls at once and using duct tape to synchronize the use of two gouges .... hmmmm.... might be worth a try.
Posted: 3:54 pm on August 4th

GaryLL GaryLL writes: This is an old vid that's been bouncing around the web for years.
Come on guys...come up with something original, not pulled off youtube.
Posted: 2:52 pm on August 4th

mad_scientist mad_scientist writes: This is sooooo old! I think I watched it over a year ago on a slow rainy day and was still left with the overwhelming sense I've just wasted a couple of minutes I'll never get back. I was more bored after than I was before. Red Green would have done a better job.
Posted: 9:53 am on August 4th

Rashbar Rashbar writes: They should have used a chainsaw to bulk out the wood.
Posted: 8:51 am on August 4th

dickgardner dickgardner writes: In my youth (WWII era) it was not uncommon in the area in which we lived to see Model A automobiles converted to farm equipment - most commonly a "flat". The entire body aft the windshield was removed and replaced by a flat woodeb bed - you sat on the forward edge of this wooden bed bed both to drive and as a passenger. Sometimes an extra hub or a pulley was attached to one of the rear wheels to accomodate a belt to drive the equivalent of a cutoff saw used primarily for cutting firewood. We had a few electric lights and a pump in the well but our pimary source of energy(except human effort and mules) was wood. We used a crosscut saw instead of a Model A driven "cutoff saw". There was one tractor in our community; it also had a belt drive to operate various tools. I never long for the "good old days".
Posted: 7:43 am on August 4th

don_m don_m writes: This man obviously studied under the renouned craftsman and master mechanic Red Green.

Posted: 6:56 am on August 4th

DannyMcC DannyMcC writes: This guy also has a huge lathe, not a joke lathe, but a huge DIY machine for carving giant wooden balls.
Posted: 6:12 am on August 4th

bko bko writes: I know this lathe is a joke but there are some really big lathes, like the one at Mystic Seaport for turning ships masts and spars. This lathe must be over 50 long and can turn a log several feet across.

Here is someone else's photo of it:

As I recall the drive for the lathe includes an old automotive transmission. The cutter is advanced on a carriage that slides along the lathe ways more like a metal working lathe.


Posted: 3:31 pm on August 3rd

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