If you've ever watched much of Roy Underhill's show The Woodwright's Shop on PBS, you've seen him use a self built treadle lathe. If you haven't watched much of Roy Underhill's show, why not!? Seriously, look up if/when it shows in your area and watch it!
I'm working on a wooden sailboat mast. It is 14 feet long and constructed with the birdsmouth techinique. I wanted to round it, but a lathe capable of handling a 14 foot long workpiece isn't exactly common... or cheap. So, what to do? I started out with an octagon; the shape the birdsmouth build produced. I used a hand plane to knock off the corners to make it 16 sided. Then again to make it 32 sided. That is pretty close to round. How does one make it rounder? Sanding.
One common way of sanding masts is to turn a belt sander belt inside out and use a drill equiped with a disk to turn it. I don't have a belt sander and as such no belt sander belts. I didn't really want to buy one, nor did I want to stand around running a drill for a long time. Especially since my drill isn't really that good of a drill. I came up with my own way.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Scraps of wood
Something to attach string to and throw