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With the lathe arriving at the house last week, I needed to formulate a plan to get it up onto the bench. I borrowed a 1 ton chain hoist from one of the guys I mountain bike with, so all that was left to do was work out the precise details of where to hang the hoist and how to get it on a bench. Originally I planned to lift it up off of the furniture dollies and lower it back down onto a bench-height rolling cart. Instead, I settled on constructing a makeshift ghetto gantry arrangement right over the bench where the lathe was to be installed. This allowed me to position the lathe on the floor at the edge of the bench, lift it up with the crate bottom still attached, lower it onto the bench, then re-lift just the lathe to remove the crate bottom.
The overhead beam was made up of two pieces of 2×4 lumber on the long edge, topped with another 2×4 on the flat. One end of the beam was supported by a 6′ step ladder with some spacers made out of cut off 2×6 and 2×4 lumber. The other end was an “A” support built out of 2×6, 2×4 and plywood. I used 2650lb rated 3/8″ chain to hang the chain hoist as well as to wrap around the crate bottom when lifting, along with quick links with similar load ratings. For a bit of extra insurance, I wedged a long 2×4 against the top part of the beam and screwed it to a joist, to prevent movement along the long axis. Had I been more concerned about stability I might have done similarly to secure it more in the left-right direction, but it seemed plenty stable.
While I can’t necessarily recommend anyone else go about this the exact same way I did, I was confident in the safety and security of the arrangement. I tested it thoroughly with the lathe only a few inches off the ground to make sure there would be no surprises with tipping or instability.