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Is There an Easy Way of Levelling a Rough Bit of Floor?

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SillyOldDuffer09/06/2016 21:43:07
6344 forum posts
1395 photos

Is there an easy way to level a concrete floor under a lathe?

A few months ago I bought a bigger lathe. My workshop is in a single garage and space is limited. My plan was to put the lathe parallel to a wall where the floor is smooth.

Disaster - my engine crane has a limited turning circle and there wasn't quite enough leeway to get the lathe in as intended.

Not a big problem thought I, the lathe can sit at a right angle across the garage. Unfortunately that part of the floor isn't smooth - there are a range of lumps and bumps rising 2 or 3mm above an otherwise flat floor. Before putting the lathe in I reduced the problem somewhat with a cold chisel. It was hard messy work.

For a while all seemed well. Then I noticed the lathe vibrates enough at 450 rpm to put visible stripes into an otherwise good finish. At other speeds the problem goes away.

My lathe stand is made of steel and the two pillar sections have thick sheet steel bottoms. These are strong enough to wobble slightly on the ridges in my floor. Putting small wooden wedges under three of the stand corners noticeably reduces the vibration.

Would sliding a sheet of plywood under the stand help? I'm hoping the plywood might hide the unevenness by allowing the high points to crush into the wood.

All suggestions gratefully received!

Thanks, Dave

Richard Marks09/06/2016 22:00:05
196 forum posts
8 photos

If you have a 115mm angle grinder Toolstation do a diamond facing disc that will flatten your floor.Diamond Concrete Grinding Disc 100 x 22mm

Michael Gilligan09/06/2016 22:07:04
16420 forum posts
715 photos


I don't know if there's anything like it available these days, but: Years ago I had some thick felt that was rolled up in a tin, with some sort of liquid resin.

This was cut to convenient lengths and placed under the machine stand ... After a couple of days, the resin hardened and the machine stand was stable [and slightly vibration isolated].

Removal was just a matter of slicing into the felt, and then lifting a corner.

I didn't use it on anything very powerful ... Just an engraving machine. But it worked a treat.

Sorry ... Can't remember the name, but someone may recognise it.


mechman4809/06/2016 22:14:32
2759 forum posts
424 photos

like you my "workshop" is the single garage; as with all garages there is a tendency for some fall off toward the garage door for drainage. As with you I have ended up with my lathe across the top end of the garage next to the entry door & the mill along the adjoining wall. Before installing the lathe / mill I made up frames for ea. machine & laid a pad for ea.with self levelling compound & followed up with a 1/4" rubber mat under ea. machine stand foot.

I don't claim total lack of vibration, mainly due to the flimsy fabricated stands provided for ea. machine, but that's another issue so I have added a stiffener between the feet of the lathe stand & stacked a few heavy bits 'n' bobs on to further reduce any vibration, I will later on add another shelf higher up as another stiffener. So far any residual vibration is minimal & doesn't show up on any machining that I do.


V8Eng09/06/2016 22:53:52
1475 forum posts
28 photos

I have noticed levelling compounds for sale in Wickes during my recent (frequent) visits, various grades seem to be available. Perhaps that might be worth investigating? No doubt other Stores and Builders Merchants etc stock similar things.

Edited By V8Eng on 09/06/2016 22:57:05

Edited By V8Eng on 09/06/2016 22:57:56

Bazyle09/06/2016 23:04:44
5490 forum posts
207 photos

Lift with engine crane, spread weak sloppy sand cement grout under feet about half inch thick, lower lathe, don't touch until set. It won't cure a weak and wobbly stand but will cure the specific problem you have.

If the stands are wobbly, and you have definitely decided on the position just build two piers of breeze blocks under the feet instead of the metal stands.

DMB09/06/2016 23:36:55
1016 forum posts
My problem was more one of height with the Myford. I stood it on two brick piers with a strip of roofing felt on the bricks which sticks lathe so it doesn't move /rock and damping effect.
Would my solution suit your problem?

Edited By DMB on 09/06/2016 23:37:34

Bill Dawes09/06/2016 23:45:26
365 forum posts

Hi Dave, had same problem recently when I bought my new Warco 280V lathe.

I bought some self leveling compound from Wickes, stuck down some temporary battens to form a retaining perimeter and poured in compound (it was about 10mm thick) . My fears that it might crumble away proved unfounded (it is not just cement, it has other compounds in it) and it has proved to be a nice flat base.

Bill D.

Bill Dawes09/06/2016 23:47:46
365 forum posts

Not important but should have said 290V lathe.

Bill D

John McNamara10/06/2016 00:25:31
1313 forum posts
113 photos

Hi Mr Duffer

Most builders plant hire companies have concrete wet grinders on hire, I would get one and use it to take off the lumps, there will be a lot lest dust than dry grinding. If there are any holes I would fill them with cement first and let it cure for a week before grinding. Ideally before patching holes they should be painted with concrete bonding agent "Bondcrete" or the like, sometimes patches do not stick well.

Many concrete leveling compounds are not designed to be a wearing surface. They have to be covered with another surface, for example tiles or epoxy.


Hopper10/06/2016 00:44:24
4823 forum posts
105 photos

Or use some rollers made from 1" pipe to move your lathe to the smooth part of the workshop as you originally intended. I've moved industrial equipment way larger and heavier than your lathe this way. It is a two-man job though, especially on a top-heavy machine like a lathe.

Ed Duffner10/06/2016 01:02:04
810 forum posts
91 photos

I'd use a floor Scabbler to remove high spots.


John Reese10/06/2016 01:33:43
848 forum posts

You can move a lot with a pry bar and rollers. I have moved 3000 lb. machines this way. Use the bar to raise the machine enough to get the rollers in place.

not done it yet10/06/2016 01:35:16
5041 forum posts
20 photos

I don't understand the problem re positioning the lathe where you originally intended. It cannot be so big if you were using an engine crane (assuming here we are talking car engines rather than marine!).

However, wherever installed it should be shimmed to be level and vibration free. Better to bolt the lathe to the floor when shimmed level, unless the base is sufficiently rigid (not the usual case these days?).

John McNamara10/06/2016 03:21:46
1313 forum posts
113 photos

A floor scabbler ?

A floor scabbler is a machine that roughens the floor to prepare it for a heavy top coat of usually cement or some other material. Unless the floor is to be re finished in this way it would be very unwise to use one. It is a very rough and rather ugly finish.

A floor grinder on the other hand does what the name implies it grinds away the surface with a grind stone or stones. It leaves a reasonable finish. Your local council will no doubt use them to remove tripping edges on concrete footpaths.

If you do decide to hire a machine make sure you get the right one for the job.


Pero10/06/2016 04:20:17
115 forum posts

One other option, depending on the design of the stand, would be to lift the machine and fit it with adjustable vibration dampening mounts. As per the description, these will make height adjustment very easy and account for any variation in floor level, and also provide some isolation between the machine base and the floor reducing noise and vibration.

For moving machines around in tight spaces (found in all home workshops) I use a goose neck bar rather than a pry bar. It works in small spaces and is good for swivelling machines around. A bit expensive to buy for a one off move but should be available from a local hire shop.


frank brown10/06/2016 06:24:23
436 forum posts
5 photos

You can try using pads of roofing felt. If you fancy it, you can get abrasive blocks from builders merchants, about 8" X 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" with two deeply ridges sides, they will grind away concrete. Much less mucky then a disc cutter with a grinder stone. This could be the modern replacement? :-


Raymond Anderson10/06/2016 07:09:21
777 forum posts
152 photos

Dave, The screed that is most often specified by Engineers / Architects for your purpose is Fosroc CEMTOP XD, I use it quite often, it can be applied in a thickness from approx 5 mm to around 40 mm. It has a very high compressive strength and is very abrasion resistant. It is designed to be used when no floor coverings are on top, or it can be covered it makes no difference, It is expensive, but it is designed to do just what you require. If you want to "fit and forget "

I have no knowledge / experience of any of the diy types. ie Wickes, B&Q ect.


john carruthers10/06/2016 07:17:47
606 forum posts
177 photos

I've seen the flooring guys level high spots with 'bears', big old grind stones the size of breeze blocks. Attack the lump from all sides with plenty of water to keep the dust down and clear the grindstone pores.

All done with machines now and a smear of compo.

John McNamara10/06/2016 07:26:16
1313 forum posts
113 photos

Goose neck bar?

Normal crow bars are fairly cheap, try welding a piece of say 50mm heavy pipe about 150 mm long across the crow bar about 150mm from the end. this gives you a stable nicely rounded levering point.

If you wrap the pipe in duct tape it will give a better grip and protect your floor too.


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