The whole idea behind a Spring Pole lathe is that you would pinch a piece of wood between two points, wrap a cord around the wood, and pump down on a treadle while putting your cutting tool to the wood. On release, the springy pole attached to the top of the rope would pull up, spinning the wood backwards, and making it ready to be pushed down again and cut.
Here is my build process as posted in my woodworking blog: http://wood.box23.net
Step 1: Beginning the project
The pictured chunks of wood are the two uprights, that will hold two lengths of 2×4 Pine (might updgrade that later, but I have some in the shop right now) I’ve had these 4×4 posts sitting around for a long time, always waiting for a project. I finally decided to get started. At first I had visions of making a flywheel lathe, but it’s a lot more complicated, so I decided to start out with a more period design anyway. I’m hoping to make it portable enough to take to events and do demos with. We shall see.
I cut the notched by hand, instead of using a bunch of power tools. Somehow it just seems fitting.
Steps so far:
1. Cut the posts to 44″ lengths. This should give me 38″-39″ of leg room underneath to power the lathe.
2. Marked the depth of the cuts with my Rosewood Cutting Gauge that I got at Woodcraft a while back. It’s a thing of beauty. I measured it so that I would be able to fit a width of 2×4 down between the two cross bars. I’ll be using 2×4 to construct the “poppets”, sort of a free floating head and tail stock.
3. Marked the width, and clamped it in my vise. (I want a bench vise. Reallllly badly.)
4. Using my Japanese pull saw, I cut the notch sides, and the two more paralell cuts down to the marked lines. This makes chiselling out the waste easier.
5. Using a 1″ bench chisel I cut out the waste with taps of a hammer
6. Cleaned up a little it with a wood rasp, but for the most part the chisel did the heavy lifting.
Notes: Easier than I thought it would be. I thought it’d be lots of work, but it was pretty easy. I got the technique from watching the Woodwrights Shop. Best show on TV for woodworking. Bar none.
I did crimp and break my japanese pull saw blade though, this makes me sad. I went in a little crooked, and it bent. Ugh. I love this saw, it’s probably been the best tool in my shop for a while. It makes nice thin cuts, easier and cleaner than a standard american style “push” saw. Fortunatly, I can buy replacement blades. It’s the one marked B in the photo below.
I think that saw has partially changed the way I do wood working, I kid you not. Time to get my butt down to Woodcraft to get a couple more blades. Going to buy a backup, just in case.
Next step, the cross bars, drilling holes and mounting lag bolts, and building the head/tail stock “poppets”. Then all it needs is tool rest, and some kind of “spring pole” to power it. I’m thinking bungie cord. Not very period, but it allows me to adjust it to find the right amount of “spring” and find a springy pole these days is a bit harder than wandering out in the back woods and cutting one. Not so much on the back woods these days…. Pity.