7 Best Wood Lathe Tool Rests (Updated 2020)

The tool rest is a vital component of any wood lathe, and working without one properly adapted to your needs will reduce your ability to produce the kind of stunning work you aspire to.

If you are in the market for a new rest but don’t know which one to buy, here are our top picks for best wood lathe tool rest to help you make up your mind.

The Best Wood Lathe Tool Rest of 2020

1. PSI Woodworking CLTEZSETC Wood Lathe Tool Rest (Our Top Recommended)

 

For anyone looking for extra flexibility in their woodturning or someone new to the craft who wants to buy a set of tools rests that will allow them to get started, this kit from PSI could be a good pick.

The kit includes four different rests that are suitable for a range of applications, including bowl interiors, bowl exteriors, sharp corners and much more.

They are strong and built to last – they have an anti-nick, anti-scratch surface and are not easy to damage. The surface itself is designed to be ultra-smooth, allowing you to slide your tools easily and work with great precision.

Having said that, this kit of tool rests is not top-end quality – it is an affordable kit that gives you several tool rests all in one set, but if you want the very highest quality, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Also, be aware that these tool rests have 5/8” posts, so you should check that they are compatible with your lathe – or alternatively, you can buy an adapter.

All in all, a good option for beginners who want to practice a range of techniques, although not as high quality as some other rests.

What We Like

  • Kit of four rests – everything you need in one box
  • Very reasonable price – inexpensive option for four rests
  • Anti-nick, anti-scratch surface – not easy to damage
  • Ultra-smooth surface – allows you to work with great precision
  • Sturdy and built to last – should give you many years of use

What We Don't Like

  • Slightly inferior quality compared to other options – designed to be budget friendly
  • Only work with lathes that accept 5/8” posts – although possible to buy an adaptor

2. Rockler 6" Wood Lathe Tool Rest

 

For a small-to-mid-sized tool rest that comes at a very reasonable price and that you can rely on, this model from Rockler is hard to beat. Rockler is a well-known brand in the world of woodturning, and this is a product you can trust.

It has a smooth surface, allowing your tools to glide along it easily and ensuring you can work with the utmost precision. It is also well made and feels like a strong and high-quality piece of equipment.

At this size, it is ideal for working on any of the smaller projects you might need it for, including things like pens, bottle stoppers and so on.

This is a solid piece of equipment with very few downsides. Perhaps some people might appreciate a shaft that was perhaps an inch longer, but this may be just a case of personal preference.

Also, as with any other tool rest, this is not universally compatible, so check your lathe before buying. It has a 5/8” shaft and will only fit in a lathe that can accept a tool rest of this size.

Overall, a product you can hardly go wrong with. If you need a tool rest in the 6” range for working on smaller projects, this would be ideal.

What We Like

  • Affordable price – a tool rest that won’t break the bank
  • Smooth finish – allows for precision woodturning
  • Well made – feels like a strong and high-quality rest
  • Ideal for working on small objects – can be used for pens, bottle stoppers etc.
  • Reputable brand – Rockler well-known in the wood lathe field

What We Don't Like

  • Shaft could be longer – although this may depend on personal preferences
  • Not universally compatible – only for lathes that accept 5/8” shafts

3. Rockler 4" Wood Lathe Tool Rest

 

This 4” tool rest from Rockler is very similar to the 6” model but in a smaller 4” version. This means it shares all the same qualities, such as the smooth finish for ease of use and the high level of manufacturing quality.

It is strong and durable, made to last and does the job it was designed for extremely well. As a smaller 4” model, this would be ideal for anyone who enjoys working on smaller projects.

Anyone looking for a rest for intricate work like pens, chess pieces, Christmas decorations or anything similar will appreciate this rest. Furthermore, like the 6” version, it comes backed up by Rockler’s respected name.

It has few limitations, but those it does have are also shared with the slightly larger version. The shaft is perhaps a little too short for some, and it might benefit from having an extra inch or two in length.

You should also check for compatibility before buying since it will only fit lathes that can accept 5/8” shafts.

As with the larger version, this is a solid and reliable wood lathe tool rest you can trust. If you are looking for one at the smaller end of the scale, this should be of interest to you.

What We Like

  • Inexpensive option – quality equipment at a reasonable price
  • Smooth finish – for ease of use and precise woodturning
  • Strong and durable – a solid item
  • Perfect for smaller projects – a great option for making pens and similar objects
  • Well-known name – Rockler is a trusted brand

What We Don't Like

  • Compatibility – check that your lathe can accept 5/8” shafts before buying
  • Shaft may be too short for some – an extra inch or two would be welcome

4. Robust 12" Wide Comfort Wood Lathe Tool Rest

 

This tool rest from Robust is an excellent choice if you are looking for something that will serve you well as an all-round option.

This is a 12” tool rest, making it an ideal option for all kinds of applications. If you want something versatile that will allow you to work on anything from smaller wood lathe projects to bigger jobs, this could be worth a look.

It is made of solid steel and is built to last – it will probably last at least as long as your lathe itself. It has a smooth finish for careful and precise woodturning – and it also features a no-nick, no-dent surface that you won’t be able to damage easily.

This tool rest is backed by the respected Robust name, another of the most famous in the field and a brand you can trust.

It’s hard to find anything wrong with this tool rest. We could say that at 12”, you might be better off buying something smaller if you plan to work on the most intricate of turning projects, although this depends on what you usually use your lathe to make.

One other negative is the price – this is more expensive than many other options – although the quality is higher too.

To sum up, if you are looking for a larger tool rest, this one is well worth a look. A highly recommended option.

What We Like

  • High-quality tool rest – superior to many more budget-friendly options
  • Made of solid steel – tough and built to last
  • Smooth finish – allows for clean and precise work
  • No-nick, no-dent finish – designed to stay smooth for years
  • Trusted and respected brand – Robust among the best-known companies

What We Don't Like

  • A little expensive – although good value for the quality
  • Too big for smaller jobs – for smaller work, smaller options are available

5. Robust Comfort Wood Lathe Tool Rest

 

This tool rest is almost the same as the 12” Robust model above but in a 6” version. One thing we like about this tool rest is that it comes with two options for shaft size. You can choose between a regular or a long post to ensure you have one that is best adapted to your needs.

It is made of strong solid steel and is built to last – in fact, it will probably outlast your lathe.

The surface is smooth for clean and precise work, and it is designed to be nick-resistant and dent-resistant, ensuring it stays in optimum condition for many years.

The Robust brand is one that can be trusted, and you know with this tool rest that you are buying a product that won’t let you down.

As with the 12” version, it’s hard to pick holes. We might complain that it’s a bit more expensive than some other options, but that’s to be expected when you buy high-quality items.

As with all the other tool rests we’ve talked about, you should also make sure you check that it will fit with your lathe since tool rests are not all compatible with every type of lathe.

Overall, an excellent option for anyone looking for a tool rest of this size. If you can afford the slightly higher price, you can’t really go wrong with a tool rest like this.

What We Like

  • Optional post length – can choose between regular and long
  • Made from solid steel – will probably outlast your lathe
  • Nick-resistant and dent-resistant – will remain in good condition for years
  • Highly-trusted brand – Robust among the best-known
  • High-quality item – will appeal to those who demand the best

What We Don't Like

  • More expensive than other options – but still great value for money
  • Not universally compatible – check before buying

6. Robust 9" Small "J" Curved Wood Lathe Tool Rest

 

This is another tool rest from highly respected brand Robust, this time one with a J-shaped bend. As the name suggests, this is a company that specializes in making tough and durable equipment, and this tool rest is no different.

It is made of solid steel and features a surface that is resistant to nicks and scratches, ensuring it will remain perfectly smooth for many years. This will allow you to continue working with the utmost precision for a long time to come.

One thing we really appreciate is that this tool rest is available with a choice of three different post lengths, short, regular or long. This allows you to choose the one that most closely matches your requirements.

As with the previous two Robust tool rests, there’s little we can complain about with this product. Of course, it is a slightly pricy item – but that’s normal when buying high-quality equipment.

Also, as with any other tool rest, you need to check the specs for compatibility before buying – although this can hardly be counted as a negative.

This is a top-quality tool rest that is ideal for anyone who needs a curved model. If that’s what you’re looking for, this rest will serve you well.

What We Like

  • Tough, durable construction – made from solid steel
  • No-nick, no-dent bar – will stay smooth for years
  • Top name in tool rests – Robust is a brand you can trust
  • Excellent quality – designed for people who demand the best
  • Available with three post lengths – short, standard or long

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive product – higher price for higher quality
  • Not compatible with all lathes – check the specs carefully first

7. NOVA 71061 Wood Lathe Tool Rest

 

This Nova tool rest is designed for smaller lathes and is ideal for anyone looking for a more budget-friendly option that still performs well.

It has a durable cast steel body and features stainless steel wear rods that are designed to keep their smoothness for longer.

One big advantage of this tool rest is that it is part of the Nova module system. This allows you to mix and match posts, enabling you to find the most suitable combination for the wood lathe plans you are working on. This makes it a highly versatile option.

There are only a couple of small negatives to mention. First, although the cast steel body is highly durable, it doesn’t dampen vibration quite as well as cast iron – although the difference is not huge.

Second, this is a tool rest that is designed for smaller lathes. If you try to pair it with a larger machine, it won’t do as well.

Overall, a solid choice for anyone looking for a smaller tool rest at an affordable price point. If that sounds like what you need, this is a tool rest that’s well worth checking out.

What We Like

  • Part of Nova module system – gives you more versatility
  • Cast steel body – designed to last
  • Stainless steel wear rods – made to retain smoothness for longer
  • Ideal for smaller projects – excels when precision is of the utmost importance
  • Affordable price – attractive price tag for those on a budget

What We Don't Like

  • Absorbs vibrations less well than cast iron rests – although the difference is small
  • Performance not optimal on large lathes – works better with smaller models
lathe tool rest

Use the proper equipment for outstanding results

By using the proper equipment, you can ensure you are able to achieve outstanding results, and with woodturning, this includes your choice of tool rest.

Choosing the best wood lathe tool rest is an important aspect you can’t ignore, and if you don’t know where to start looking, any of the options in this review would be a good place to start.

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