Construction of a steady rest

For the vase I recently completed, I needed to use a steady rest to support the end of the vase and keep it from vibrating. As you can see in the photo below, at this stage the vase is connected to the lathe by the 2″ diameter neck and I needed to finish turning the inside of this piece. So I made arrangements to go to a friends house to use his steady rest.

Hal’s steady rest worked great that night! I asked Hal if he was happy with his design since I would probably need to build one of my own sooner or later. Hal said he wasn’t totally happy with it. He wound up cutting part of it away because it interfered with a hollowing tool he likes to use. He mentioned that he had seen a steady rest on Pintrest that he was interested in and when he showed it to me, I remembered seeing it on Facebook in the last few months.

So I head home and work on the vase continues. Three days later, though, I realized I needed to use a steady rest again but I didn’t want to bother Hal this soon. I dug around on a few wood turning groups on Facebook and found the videos that had been posted about this square style of steady rest. I immediately ordered a few Rollerblade wheels from Amazon.

The next day I bought the hardware at Lowe’s and the day after that the wheels were delivered. Thirty minutes in the shop later, I had a steady rest. It worked wonderfully and it was a joy to clean up the neck of the vase. Adjusting the nuts to raise/lower the wheels was a little fiddly but you only have to spend a few minutes getting it set up. I used blue tape on the neck to protect it from being burnished by the wheels.

All in all it was a successful project and if you are in the market for an easy and quick steady rest that doesn’t break the bank, I recommend you give this one a shot. Skate wheels may be available at a thrift store or in the back of your kids closet. If you try it out and don’t like it, you can probably return all the hardware for a refund.