The Woodturner's Workshop

Folding tool rest

A Folding Tool Rest

I have made hundreds of light pulls in my time. They only take a about 5 minutes each to make; but soon after I began making them in quantities I found that taking the tool rest out to sand and polish one, then putting the rest back to make the next, took a significant amount of time. It occurred to me that it might be possible to use a folding rest. So (around 1984) I knocked one up in a hurry and I have been using it ever since. It's a very useful little gadget which no-one else seems to have come up with.

A sketch of the device is shown below. One point which does not show clearly is that the upright piece, which forms a stop for the rest, should allow the rest to slope forward, ie towards the work-piece, so that the rest will remain in place when it is in the up position.

Folding tool rest diagram

Not shown in this sketch is a post to fit into the banjo. When I made the rest I was using a coronet major. I made it so that the top was at the correct height when it was fixed to the banjo with a nut and bolt. When I changed my lath I had to add a post. When I did that I made it out of wood and put a bolt down the centre extra strength. The head of this bolt can be seen in one of the photos below. The bolt is probably unnecessary - spigot on the top of the post fitting into a hole in the base of the rest should be adequate. The photo also shows the metal strip I added when the wood at the top began to wear.

Folding tool rest flat

It might be thought that this rest would be unsafe. I can only say that in 15 years of use, and having made hundreds of lightpulls, I have never had a moments unease when using it.