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Single Tube or Monotube Lathe

This lathe with a single tube bed has been the beginner model of lathe for many professional and hobbiest turners.

woodturning lathe monotube

This is my first lathe, bought sometime around 1995. It has a "swing" of 12" meaning a 12" diameter piece can be turned over the "ways" or bed of the lathe and in this case 10" over the banjo. Such a measurement is not always given in the lathe description but does effect what can be turned as a spindle. While the tool rest and banjo can often be maneuvered to turn a bowl at full capacity, a spindle must clear the banjo. It will turn a 37" long spindle.

In this case the ways are a single steel tube. This lathe has been marketed by several companies over the years and with a variety of brand names on the head stock. Mine is a Mastercraft bought from Canadian Tire. The single tube can be a nuisance when you wish to use an aftermarket item such as a second banjo, but overall the lathe has served me well and is adequate for most beginning turners. I still use mine for a lot of spindle turning.

woodturning lathe monotube

The tool rest on this lathe adjusts right and left with the loostening and tightening of bolt (2). Vertical motion is adjusted with bolt (1) while horizontal motion is varied by means of bolt (3). An unusual feature on theis lathe is the ability to gain a little more adjustment by moving bolt 3 to holes (3a) or (3b).

woodturning monotube lathe pulleys

It can be used for outboard turning, that is turning away from the bed of the lathe, but its low speed of 575 rpm discourages turning most pieces over 12" diameter unless the machine is securely fastened down. I have "walked" a 100 pound bench with 500 pounds of sand with an unbalanced 18" diameter maple burl. On the other hand, the high speed of 3580 rpm allows for great turning of small spindles, under 1" diameter. Speeds are selected by a belt and pulley system and are 575, 980, 1560, 2520, and 3580 rpm. Both head stock and tail stock have #1 Morse tapers and the head stock is 3/4" x 16. These are very standard sizes and accessories are easy to find.