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I’ve been turning for about seven years now and have completed hundreds of objects ranging from table legs to large bowls to tiny bottle stoppers. Yet I’d never undertaken a large-diameter (in this case 24″) turning, and frankly, I was a bit anxious about it. Turns out it wasn’t nearly as tough as turning a 12″-diameter bowl blank, especially when you start it and the 20-pound chunk of wood is totally out of balance.

My walnut tabletop blank is from a recycled 32″ square coffee table that I made nearly 30 years ago. Over the years, it got rather beat up so I decided to transform it into something entirely different – a 24″ diameter end table – and it gave me a chance to try turning a relatively big top.

My Powermatic 3520B lathe can be set up to turn outboard. The headstock can travel up and down the length of the lathe bed. When moved to the end, the swing over the bed extension mounted below the normal bed is 30+ inches.


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