Old School Spindle Steady


I whipped this up one day when I was out of cash and tired of poor results end drilling spindle work by eye with a cordless drill. Thankfully like most woodworkers, I’m swimming in small hardwood scrap. The wheels for this spindle steady are made from cherry with ironwood bearings pressed in. I didn’t have bolts lying around to secure the wheel arms to the frame, but I’m quite familiar with fitting a wedge. The wheel arms are adjusted the same way as a wooden hand plane, light taps with a hammer. If your wedges are not mated quite perfectly to the frame the vibration of the lathe will work them loose. In practice they must be set quite tight or you risk a sloppy hole.

Of course, hardwood wheels do tend to compress the wood grain of the spindle, but its not a problem if you do your end drilling after roughing down to a cylinder. Then its a simple matter to locate the tailstock center on the hole you drill and go to town turning down your spindle.

This spindle steady is definitely noisier than a commercial one  with ball bearings and neoprene wheels, but I’m about getting shit done with the stuff I have and not waiting for the nth tool to do better work. Oil your bearings!

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