How to Use a Wood Lathe Duplicator

Using a chisel and wood lathe
  • 1-100 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-500
What You'll Need
Wood lathe
Original wood piece
Wood stock
What You'll Need
Wood lathe
Original wood piece
Wood stock

A wood lathe duplicator is a fantastic tool to use when you want to make a replica item such as a table leg or a bedpost. With the duplicator, woodworkers can easily turn identical pieces, even down to the intricate designs and patterns. For large scale projects, like creating identical banisters, or fence rails, the duplicator is an indispensable tool. Using the wood lathe duplicator does take a little bit of practice. With some helpful tips, and plenty of practice, any DIY woodworker can easily refinish antique furniture, or create new pieces from old.

Step 1 - Set up Duplicator

In order to make a perfect copy of the wood turning piece you will need to set up the duplicator to the exact specifications. The duplicator mounts to the lathe and comes with two working parts. First, there is the set of feelers that match the contours of the original piece. Next, there is the cutter. Whatever the feelers touch, the cutter produces the same type of cut on the wood stock. Attach the duplicator and then install the wood piece into the lathe chuck.

Step 2 - Set Wood Stock in Duplicator

wood lathe

With the duplicator set up on the wood lathe, you can then place your wood stock into the chuck of the duplicator. Loosen up the vice and position the stock in the center of the chuck. Tighten it so the wood will be secure while turning.

Step 3 - Check Blade on Duplicator

Instead of using a lot of different wood turning tools you will be using the duplicator blades to make the necessary cuts. Make sure you have the correct blade inserted for the type of job you are doing.

Step 4 - Pull Back on Lever

After everything is set up, you can then get ready to produce a duplicate piece. To do this you must first lock in the duplicator by pulling back on the lever. This will bring the pins close to the original.

Step 5 - Turn on Wood Lathe

Turn on the wood lathe and begin cutting. Push the blade handle towards the lathe. As the cutting is taking place the duplicator pin will begin moving forward.

Step 6 - Produce Duplicated Piece


After the pin on the wood lathe duplicator comes to a stop on the rest, you can then move the cutter into the wood stock. This will then cut the piece to the correct specifications. Continue moving along the entire length of the wood until you have a duplicated copy.

Step 7 - Remove and Inspect

With the turned piece completed you will need to remove the item from the chuck and inspect it against the original. If all is good, and it looks identical, you can then continue the process until you have all of the pieces that you need.

Step 8 - Sand Smooth

After all of the pieces have been turned, you can remove the wood lathe duplicator from the lathe and sand down each piece until it is smooth. Do not remove a lot of wood with this, you only want to have a smooth surface for finishing.