in my opinion,it would be far cheaper to buy a lathe tailstock on Ebay,ETC.
Than it would be to have one made.
I do not know how big the logs will be,that you want to turn?
But if you can get your hands on a large engineering lathe tailstock,and adjust the height with the use of an adapted wooden block,to the same centre height as your headstock,it should handle the logs you want to turn.
Just one other thing i have found,works well.
If you bolt your lathe to a solid floor with chemical bolts & put a hard rubber mat under the headstock & tailstock (lathe in one piece).
It greatly reduces the vibration caused by a heavy lathe.(I have a wadkin RS 10 feet long).
hope this helps!
I don't have one built yet so anything I say is just theory at this point. I have some large logs I want to turn. They are about 5' long and about 1' in diameter. One of them has been hollowed out by animals. I intend to make a guest book stand out of it by turning the outside, putting a top and bottom on it and putting a clear finish on the whole thing. My log is from a catalpa tree that had been in our front yard for at least 50 years.
Now to your question. Somewhere I saw a lath a guy built using the spindle from a small compact car. My idea is to use two of them, one for each end. Make some angle iron brackets and lag both them to an old railroad tie. The head stock will just have a home made pulley driven by what ever I come up with for a motor and speed reduction scheme. I intend to fasten a round piece of 3/4" plywood to each end of the log and make mounting holes in the plywood that will match the lugs on the hubs. I intend to run the logs very slow and will machine them using a homemade guide to which I will a standard router to face off the bark and get down to the nice wood underneath. I have used this method on smaller similar projects and it has worked very well. Once I get the log like I want it I will take my belt sander and clean up the log after which I will use my orbital sander and get the finish surface like I want it.
As I mentioned I did a project similar to this some time ago only it was somewhat smaller. It was about 10" in diameter and about 4' long. It was made up of many small boards I made out of old pallet wood which was then cleaned up and shaped with bird's mouth joints on one side then all glued together like a ships mast. It came out very nice and when finished it looked like a very nice piece of furniture.
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