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Treadle Lathes

pzgren's picture

Treadle Lathes (post #103532)

Greetings Neanderthals & Normites!


  Here's something a little different from the usual line of questions:


  Has anyone out there built and/or used a treadle lathe?


  If so what are:


     The pitfalls to look out for when building one?


     Useful/different techniques, etc., used in building one?


     Good sources for parts (stuff like axles, chucks, etc)?


     Any special techniques or methods of work while using it (different from those used with an electric lathe)?


     Any (good) books or plans on treadle lathes that you could recommend?


     Other information that a first-time treadle lathe builder/user would find helpful, useful, good/nice to know, or essential?


  Thanks in advance for your time and comments.



Tschüß!


Mit freundlichen holzbearbeitungischen Grüßen aus dem Land der Rio Grande!!


James


Edited 10/4/2006 5:39 pm by pzgren

.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Tschüß!

James

 

"The end does not justify the means. No one's rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others."

-- Ayn Rand

kingwoodworks's picture

(post #103532, reply #1 of 11)

I have not built a treadle lathe, but I did build and successfully use what I call a bench-top spring pole lathe.  Used a bungee cord and clothes line from the ceiling around the work and down through a bench dog hole in my bench to a loop for my foot.  I had never used a lathe before in my life so I had to buy a book to see what tools to use and the basics of how to present them to the work.  It worked beautifully!  There is a very pleasing rhythm to it- cut on down stroke, let up on release and repeat and repeat and repeat....


Bob

AdamCherubini's picture

(post #103532, reply #2 of 11)

James,

I've had a treadle lathe project on the back burner for several years. Building a good treadle lathe presents several technical problems.

undercarriage-
The flywheel must be very heavy to store enough energy to be able to turn adequately. But the heavy wheel can cause problems in the undercarriage- problems for axle and bearings specifically. The most efficient wheel is one with a light center and a heavy rim. My antique flywheel is made of iron, has 4 spokes and a thick lead rim. Next is keeping the treadle mechanism light. A heavy pitman arm will slow the wheel on every rotation. Smart lathes have the pitman arm horizontal and the treadle L-shaped.

I have seen lathes made from the rear wheel of a racing bike. They load the rim with lead. The neat thing about these is that the freewheel allows the treadle to coast. You can spin it up, then stop treadling.

super structure
I'm stuck at the thead stock. My metal working abilities are severely limited. You probably need an idler pulley between the head and the flywheel, or you'll need some sort of adjustment between the two (this gets very complicated very quickly. You could try a simply stepped pulley and use that to get tension. Of course you'd be changing the gear ration somewhat, but that may not be that important.

using a treadle lathe
I don't have many hours on the treadle lathe, but it becomes immediately obvious that scraping and aggressive roughing techniques don't work. As I understand it, English tradition is to rough (and do almost everything else) with the skew. Light cuts and sharp tools work best. I prefer hi carbon steel to HSS on my electric lathe. I would say it is even more advantageous on the treadle. Aside from that, you get used to the treadeling and I think there's no better way to learn to turn. The work is going so slowly you can really watch what your skew is doing. There's not a lot power plus you can't realy tighten the tail stock (because of the friction it creates) so when you get a catch, its not terrible or frightening- the work piece usually stops. Aside from all that, the treadle lathe is just like an electric lathe. Roughing aside, you can do the work in about the same amount of time. I found the shave horse useful for roughing. Now use that even when I'm using an electric lathe.

Adam

mike4244's picture

(post #103532, reply #3 of 11)

I have built and used a treadle lathe. As Adam said ,you need a heavy flywheel. Adam has some good suggestions on the flywheel which I was not familiar with.


I found that building the treadle lathe was fairly easy, takes a bit of tinkering to get the flywheel and pitman arm to work correctly. I believe that ShopSmith spur centers will fit on a 5/8" diameter round stock.


I used the lathe for a couple of years, finally converted it to electric motor driven. Old age made me switch to electric.


The flywheel I made was 26" in diameter. The rim was 5" x2 1/2" wide in four quadrants.The hub was about 3" in diameter and the spokes were flat 5/4 x 1 1/8".The spokes had a round tenon on the hub end, on the rim ,they were half lapped into the rim.


mike


 

MikeHennessy's picture

(post #103532, reply #4 of 11)

Never built one - never had the space to put one -- but I used an antique one years ago when I taught in a museum cabinetmaker's shop. This was a real beast of a lath. The bed was about 6' long, made out of two beams about 4" X 8". The flywheel was wooden (think wagon wheel with a thick rim) as was the pulley on the headstock. The belt was leather and about 4" wide. The lathe had a platform for the operator to stand on that was the lenght of the lathe and the treadle was full-length as well. There was very little metal used and what was there was hand forged and simple in design. Worked well though, especially when I could get some student to pump the treadle while I did the turning! ;-)


Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA

Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA
Everything fits, until you put glue on it.

Planesaw's picture

(post #103532, reply #5 of 11)

I would think one of the biggest dangers of building one is that you will want to build another one.


Alan - planesaw

Napie's picture

(post #103532, reply #6 of 11)

Check out “Fine Woodworking ON, Making Machines”.  There is an article on a treadle lathe that uses a bicycle rear freewheel.  I think it was written by Richard Starr.  Those old FWW’s were the best…..

Gene's picture

(post #103532, reply #7 of 11)

This page (http://www.inthewoodshop.org/methods/trlathe.shtml) has a ton of information, including sources of plans. In particular, Roy Underhill described one in one of his books (The Woodwright's Workbook), and in a 2000 article in Popular Woodworking. (http://www.popularwoodworking.com/store/viewabstract.asp?view=74#)

pzgren's picture

(post #103532, reply #8 of 11)

All,


  Thank you all for your ideas and suggestions. They were all very helpful.


  I'm still researching, so once I get one built, I'll post some pictures and let you know how well it works.


  Thanks again for your help.


Tschüß!


Mit freundlichen holzbearbeitungischen Grüßen aus dem Land der Rio Grande!!


James

.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Tschüß!

James

 

"The end does not justify the means. No one's rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others."

-- Ayn Rand

Tinkerman's picture

(post #103532, reply #9 of 11)

Here's some historical information on building treadle lathe that I saved back in 2000 from my newsreader.  Not edited, but you might be able to sift some additional information.


I actually built one a few years ago based on cobbling together several designs such as Roy Underhill's books, pictures from the gunsmith shop at colonial Williamsburg which has a great example and used to see if turning was for me.  


Biggest issue I had was getting the gearing right.   After 2 minutes of "treadling" there is a large puddle of sweat on the floor... so you get the picture!  Had lot of fun with it initially learning turning basics before I broke down and bought more efficient version (electric)... Now proud owner of three electric lathes and one treadle lathe... It still has a place in my heart.   I've got it broken down right know but will see if I can capture a couple of pictures of some of the basics.


Newsgroups: rec.crafts.woodturning


Subject: tredle lathe


Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 10:04:24 -0700


From: <shsnow@mindspring.com>


Organization: MindSpring Enterprises


Newsgroups: rec.crafts.woodturning


I am looking for some *simple* plans to build a portable tredle lathe. Other


than Roy Underhill, does anyone know of a place, web site, url where I can


find this? I'm new to wood turning but not woodworking.


Any help appreciated!


Thanks in advance.


Steve Snow


shsnow@mindspring.com


Subject: Re: tredle lathe


Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 20:26:18 +0200


From: Christer Samuelsson <chrissamuelsson@swipnet.se>


Organization: A Customer of Tele2


Newsgroups: rec.crafts.woodturning


This guy might have something http://home.bip.net/torbjorn_sundstrom/ . Dont


knowif he understands English, but I should think so. Click trampsvarv, its


swedish and it means tredle lathe.


Good Luck Chris.


shsnow@mindspring.com wrote:


> I am looking for some *simple* plans to build a portable tredle lathe. Other


> than Roy Underhill, does anyone know of a place, web site, url where I can


> find this? I'm new to wood turning but not woodworking.


>


> Any help appreciated!


>


> Thanks in advance.


>


> Steve Snow


> shsnow@mindspring.com


Subject: Re: tredle lathe


Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 20:07:11 -0400


From: Thomas Trager <typeset@netaxs.com>


Organization: newsread.com ISP News Reading Service (http://www.newsread.com)


Newsgroups: rec.crafts.woodturning


One of our turning club members, Norris White, built a magificent


treadle lathe. Mostly Oak if I recall, he used the scrounged steel


wheel from an exercycle along with some bearings and such. Pump the


pedal, it starts the wheel spinning, which is tied to the spindle.


Keep a pumping, it keeps a spinning.


It works remarkably well, and I was thoroughly impressed. I can take


some photos of the thing, some close ups of construction details,


along with some notes if you want.


On Sat, 22 Apr 2000 10:04:24 -0700, <shsnow@mindspring.com> wrote:


>I am looking for some *simple* plans to build a portable tredle lathe. Other


>than Roy Underhill, does anyone know of a place, web site, url where I can


>find this? I'm new to wood turning but not woodworking.


>


>Any help appreciated!


>


>Thanks in advance.


>


>Steve Snow


>shsnow@mindspring.com


>


>


Subject: Re: tredle lathe


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 15:54:52 -0400


From: "Tony Manella" <ndd1@prolog.net>


Organization: Posted via Supernews, http://www.supernews.com


Newsgroups: rec.crafts.woodturning


Penn State Industries has approached Norris about selling the plans for his


treadle lathe. I made up the drawings and instructions for him. He is


doing his final review right now so maybe it will make it into the next


catalog. The plans will include two methods, one using the spindle from an


old crapsman lathe and one using the headstock and tailstock from a


Carbe-Tec. I understand Penn State Ind. will also sell the Carbe-Tec parts.


It is an insightful design and works great.


Tony Manella


Thomas Trager <typeset@netaxs.com> wrote in message


news:fhf4gscptkn66i2f849qr931921negv80u@4ax.com...


> One of our turning club members, Norris White, built a magificent


> treadle lathe. Mostly Oak if I recall, he used the scrounged steel


> wheel from an exercycle along with some bearings and such. Pump the


> pedal, it starts the wheel spinning, which is tied to the spindle.


> Keep a pumping, it keeps a spinning.


>


> It works remarkably well, and I was thoroughly impressed. I can take


> some photos of the thing, some close ups of construction details,


> along with some notes if you want.


>


> On Sat, 22 Apr 2000 10:04:24 -0700, <shsnow@mindspring.com> wrote:


>


> >I am looking for some *simple* plans to build a portable tredle lathe.


Other


> >than Roy Underhill, does anyone know of a place, web site, url where I


can


> >find this? I'm new to wood turning but not woodworking.


> >


> >Any help appreciated!


> >


> >Thanks in advance.


> >


> >Steve Snow


> >shsnow@mindspring.com


> >


> >


>


Subject: Re: tredle lathe


Date: 22 Apr 2000 18:16:01 -0700


From: Fred Holder <fred@fholder.com>


Organization: Newsguy News Service [http://www.newsguy.com]


Newsgroups: rec.crafts.woodturning


Hello Steve,


Don Weber, who is sort of the USA expert on pole lathes, demonstrated how to


build a fairly simple one at the AAW Symposium in 1999. I took some photographs


during his demonstrating and might have enough information to be of help. I


would have to hunt them up, but they are digital pictures, so they can be


transmitted to you fairly easy. Actually, if there are enough people interested,


I suppose that I could post them at my web site.


Fred Holder


<http://www.fholder.com/&#62;


In article <8dshjl$n6e$1@slb2.atl.mindspring.net>, <shsnow@mindspring.com


says...


>


>I am looking for some *simple* plans to build a portable tredle lathe. Other


>than Roy Underhill, does anyone know of a place, web site, url where I can


>find this? I'm new to wood turning but not woodworking.


>


>Any help appreciated!


>


>Thanks in advance.


>


>Steve Snow


>shsnow@mindspring.com


>


>


>


Fred Holder


<http://www.fholder.com/&#62;


Subject: Re: tredle lathe


Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 19:50:36 +0900


From: "Adam Weber" <adam88@mail.webnik.ne.jp>


Organization: Webnik InternetNews Site


Newsgroups: rec.crafts.woodturning


I took some photographs


during his demonstrating and might have enough information to be of help. I


would have to hunt them up, but they are digital pictures, so they can be


transmitted to you fairly easy.


Actually, if there are enough people interested,


I suppose that I could post them at my web site.


Fred Holder


<http://www.fholder.com/&#62;


>I am looking for some *simple* plans to build a portable treadle lathe.


Other


>than Roy Underhill, does anyone know of a place, web site, url where I can


>find this? I'm new to wood turning but not woodworking.


Hey, would you do that, Fred? I think most folks around here would like to


see the pics, even if we DON'T all rush out and build a treadle lathe as a


result <g>


I must say that I, for one, would be very appreciative if you posted a


couple of pics at least.


[Nice folks 'round here!]


Cheers


Adam


Subject: Re: tredle lathe


Date: 23 Apr 2000 08:32:40 -0700


From: Fred Holder <fred@fholder.com>


Organization: Newsguy News Service [http://www.newsguy.com]


Newsgroups: rec.crafts.woodturning


Ok, for those interested, I placed some pictures of Don Weber and his pole lathe


at my More Woodturning web site. You can access it by going through my domaine


site <http://www.fholder.com/&#62; to More Woodturning to sample article to Don


Weber's Pole Lathe, or you can go directly with this URL:


<http://www.fholder.com/Woodturning/article8.htm&#62;. When I looked at the


pictures, I realized that Don had not done much construction during the session


that I set in on, but that I had seen him doing construction on it several times


when I did not have the camera available. Anyway, for what it is worth, the


pictures are there for your to view.


Fred Holder


<http://www.fholder.com/&#62;


In article <3633-39026F47-99@storefull-246.iap.bryant.webtv.net>,


mgorrow@webtv.net says...


>


>


>--WebTV-Mail-18244-5108


>Content-Type: Text/Plain; Charset=US-ASCII


>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7Bit


>


>Fred Holder wrote:


>


>Don Weber, who is sort of the USA expert on pole lathes, demonstrated


>how to build a fairly simple one at the AAW Symposium in 1999. I took


>some photographs during his demonstrating and might have enough


>information to be of help. I would have to hunt them up, but they are


>digital pictures, so they can be transmitted to you fairly easy.


>Actually, if there are enough people interested, I suppose that I could


>post them at my web site.


>


>I for one, Fred, would be interested in seeing the article on the web or


>in a future issue of "More WODTURNING".


>


>


>--WebTV-Mail-18244-5108


>Content-Description: signature


>Content-Disposition: Inline


>Content-Type: Text/HTML; Charset=US-ASCII


>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7Bit


>


><html>


><p>


>May your next turning be your best,


><br>Marshall


><p> Marshall's Woodturning Homepage at<br> <A


>HREF="http://mgorrow.tripod.com/">http://mgorrow.tripod.com/</A&#62;


>


>


>--WebTV-Mail-18244-5108--


Fred Holder


<http://www.fholder.com/&#62;


Subject: Re: tredle lathe


Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 08:52:32 -0700


From: Mark Schecter <schecter@pacbell.net>


Organization: Schecter Piano Service


Newsgroups: rec.crafts.woodturning


shsnow@mindspring.com wrote:


>


> I am looking for some *simple* plans to build a portable tredle lathe. Other


> than Roy Underhill, does anyone know of a place, web site, url where I can


> find this? I'm new to wood turning but not woodworking.


>


Here are a couple pictures that you might enjoy of antique _pedal_ lathes:


http://www.americanartifacts.com/smma/barnes/b7.htm


http://www.americanartifacts.com/smma/barnes/b8.htm


There are also lots of othere interesting old machines and devices on


that site.


Fine Woodworking offers a book called "Making and Modifying Machines"


that contains plans for an almost all wood treadle lathe, as well as


for a treadle lathe that employs a bicycle chain drive and gearing to


allow freewheeling. The book is ISBN 0-918804-43-4. Check out URL


http://www.taunton.com/books/fw/fwonmkmdfy/index.htm .


Sounds like fun. Good luck.


-Mark

Tinkerman's picture

(post #103532, reply #10 of 11)

 


Attached several shots of three different manually powered lathes from Colonial Williamsburg:


1) Colonial Williamsburg - Cabinet Shop big wheel Lathe (need a drunkard and a bottle of rum to apply power)


2) Don Weber's (Wood Bodger) bow lathe.   He can break this down and travel with this.   Fairly efficient.  Modeled after the english wood bodgers which is where Don learned to build and use it.


3) Colonial Williamsburg - Gunsmith's treadle lathe.  Included a couple of hi-res pictures so you can zero in on details.   Probably the best example and most flexible one I've come across.  Would probably  model construction after this one of any I've seen.


 

pzgren's picture

(post #103532, reply #11 of 11)

Tinkerman,


  Thanks for the great information and the photos. Very informative and useful.


  I checked out one of the Swedish sites; very interesting. (I don't speak/read Swedish, but it is similar enough to German that I could get the general idea and a bit of detail.)


  Thanks again for the great info & pictures!


Tschüß!


Mit freundlichen holzbearbeitungischen Grüßen aus dem Land der Rio Grande!!


James

.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Tschüß!

James

 

"The end does not justify the means. No one's rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others."

-- Ayn Rand