The Hegner Lathe Bench

When I replaced my poor old worn out lathe with a Hegner HDB200XL, I picked up the bench leg kit and set about putting my own interpretation on the overall design. The powder-coated metal plates required the owner to provide timber rails for the top and bottom - 6" x 2" top, 4" x 2" bottom - but I was concerned about the possibility of twist being introduced if natural timber was to be used.

To this end, I decided to laminate my own rails out of 1" MDF. All four lengths for the bottom rails (2 per rail) were identical, but I cut the top inners 18mm shallower than the outers to provide a ready-made rebate once laminated together. Here's the glue-up curing - 14 biscuits per pair of rails should reduce the possibility of delamination!
Once the rails had cured, I set about making a trough between the top rails which will be filled with sand once the bench is finally assembled. This was biscuited into the sides of the rail rebate, glued then screwed from below - this is not going to collapse!
The rails are fitted with coach bolts, nuts and washers. The coach bolts have a nicely polished and finished head, looking attractive against the green powder coating. It's certainly a well-made kit. First dry fit looks like this:
Here, you can see the trough formed by enclosing the bottom of the top rails. I'll fill this with sand just before finally fitting the top.
The next job was to make the lower shelf, which rests on the lower rails. I'm going to make best use of the space in between the top and bottom rails by fitting cupboards, so this meant cutting four upright dividers, then milling some adjustable shelf holes. For this, I turned to my trusty home-made jig:
No matter how big or small the stock is, the jig makes a perfect job every time. All that is required is to set the spacing in from the edge, mark the center line of the piece, clamp it up and away you go.
After pulling some stopped dados in the bottom shelf and the cupboard top, it was time for the first trial fit, including the adjustable shelves.
Here's another view which shows the additional panel dividers in the sand trough.
Time now to get some doors ready - wrapped with 20mm oak they should look OK and resist knocks and dings far better than naked-edged MDF ever can.
Here are the doors and the bench top, wrapped in oak, sanded and rounded over.
Time to put the bench top on, center it and mark up ready for drilling and countersinking for the final fitting.
As the top looked good, time to pop the doors in to see how they look.
Yes, I like it - a worthwhile project and worth taking the time over the details. It's absolutely SOLID and with the extra damping effect of the sand trough it's totally vibration-free.
Here's the lathe mounted up - looking great! The tailslide assembly is a work of art and is clamped by moving the lever in either direction. This can be transferred to the bowl-turning kit (far left of picture). The paint was matched to the powder coating colour reference number - contact me for details.
Here you can see the electronic variable speed control mounted on the wall. The bowl-turning kit is easier to see here. It is for use when turning with the headstock swivelled at right-angles to the bed, moving in and out as required and locked by the two black kip locks that can be seen on it's upper rectangular surface.
Here's the contents of two of the three cupboards below, including a precision four-jaw scroll chuck, four and six inch faceplates, drill chuck, twin-bearing live center (with ring center), counterbore center, three sizes of screw chucks, pin chuck conversion for the screw chucks and a hollowing toolrest kit. Also (in the other cupboard), six inch and ten inch tool rests, work steady (20mm to 50mm) and additional jaws (6mm to 20mm).
Here is a 12-inch diameter bowl I turned on the Hegner from a block of purpleheart that a neighbour kindly donated. It's about 4 inches tall and although a comparatively simple shape, I'm very pleased with it.