Building a steady

My engineering lathe came with two steadies, one travelling steady (two support arms, and is mounted on the apron) and a fixed steady with three arms. Initially I used these for my first wood turning projects, but they had several disadvantages: They had a maximum aperture of around 100mm, and the support arms terminated in simple bronze fingers. Neither of these are a problem for metal work, but both are a serious limitation for wood work.

I then built a steady from plywood, and made 3 new support arms from stainless steel, but this time with small ball bearings at the front. This was much better, but it was still aimed at the engineering lathe, with it’s 125mm centre height over the bed.

I tried using this with my new white goddess, but the results were somewhat mixed. Due to the design, the steady was actually not very, ahem, steady, and the ball bearings left bad marks on softer wood. And the diameter was still quite limited. Not much of a problem for that particular project, which only needed an outside diameter of 100 mm, but not great.

So I decided a while ago to build myself a new steady, this time properly designed for the 200 mm centre height, and aimed at woodturning. Here’s a link to the “How To …” page describing how to make one. Enjoy!

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