Web Editor's note: for more modern lathes please see wood lathes
The sizes of turning lathes are given as 10", 12", etc. These figures denote the diameter, or size, of the largest piece of work that can be turned on them. The measurement is taken from the center point of the live center to the bed of the lathe (usually 5" or 6") and is one-half the diameter of the entire circle. The length of a lathe is determined by the length of a piece of work that can be turned. This measurement is taken from the points of the live and dead centers when the tail stock is drawn back the full extent of the lathe bed. Fig. 1 shows a turning lathe with sixteen principal parts named. The student should learn the names of these parts and familiarize himself with the particular function of each.