Treadle Lathe workbench #1: workday #1

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Blog entry by jth2bmtsu posted 03-29-2009 04:25 AM 5410 reads 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Treadle Lathe workbench series Part 2: so the flywheel continues.... »

Been wanting to build a treadle lathe for awhile. I also need a workbench so I decided to combine the project.

I will begin with building the flywheel then proceed to the workbench and lathe frame. I have thrown around alot of ideas for the flywheel from a solid wood wheel to a wagon wheel design. I have finally came to the conclusion that a combination of wood and concrete will give the most bang for the buck. Thanks “Sparky” for some of the design help.

I started off the day with a quick visit to Lowe’s to get some pine lumber and concrete. The flywheel will be 3 foot in diameter and will be capable of housing a 1 to 1.5 inch drive belt. Today, I build the flywheel frame which will later hold a concrete filling. The flywheel frame is constructed of pine boards, 2×4’s and trim. I threw the trim into the pool for a few minutes to help with flexibility. This wood bending idea worked much better than I expected. I think the pictures will explain the flywheel design better than I can.

6 comments so far

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3880 days

#1 posted 03-29-2009 04:51 AM

Are you going to used that galvanized pipe as an axle? This looks like it going to be an interested project, please keep us informed.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3437 days

#2 posted 03-29-2009 06:08 AM

you mean like this? I had the same idea. Looking forward to this series.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3880 days

#3 posted 03-29-2009 04:53 PM

If anyone else is looking for information about these lathes here’s the reply I got when I inquired.


I’ve never built one, so my opinion would be worthless. The go-to people on
this topic are Roy Underhill and Don Weber, both of whom work on these
machines all the time.

Roy’s writings on the topic are here:

Plus he discusses it in his new book.

Don Weber can be reached through his web site:

Sorry I couldn’t be any help.

Christopher Schwarz
Woodworking Magazine

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View badger's profile


62 posts in 3340 days

#4 posted 03-29-2009 10:21 PM

Thank you very much for providing the link above, I’ve been wanting to build a treadle lathe. This is perfect.

As to the original poster, I wish you luck. I’ve built a “spring pole” lathe (using a bungie cord for the pole) and it was easy and fun.

You’re off to a good start.

-- "I'm just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe." -- Jango Fett

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#5 posted 03-31-2009 07:21 AM

I’m going to put yoiu on my buddy list to follow this!! I would like to build a spring pole lathe, but my knees are shot from spending 40 yeears on ladders :-(( Good luck with this project!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View tresselk's profile


28 posts in 3764 days

#6 posted 04-06-2009 04:03 PM

I had started to build one of these before I move a few years ago. Never got back to it though. I am very interested to see your process and end product. Good luck!

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