wooden lathe

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Project by woodtag777 posted 07-31-2009 05:25 PM 6217 views 29 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So, I have been wanting a lathe for about 4 years, I saw one made out of wood. This got my dander up so i started planning and waiting for the $ for some good oak. My lovely wife bought me the wood i needed to build it for my b-day present. Ta-Da!!! 2 weeks work and here it is. I am using old files and chisels as turning tools. Work pretty good, what a work out though. its been hot here lately, and I sweat all over. I am tickled pink about it, want to built another one with a few changes. (always a work in progress)

23 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3674 days

#1 posted 07-31-2009 05:34 PM

this is great, I always wanted to make one of those. still need to figure out the mechanism for rotation though.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View GaryD's profile


623 posts in 3395 days

#2 posted 07-31-2009 05:38 PM

Hey great job. Looks like a treadle lathe. I have seen these also on some of the woodwrking shows and wondered if they work okay. Again great job. One quick question where did you get the mechanics that go between the pedal and the large sproket/wheel?

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3911 days

#3 posted 07-31-2009 05:53 PM

COOL!!!!!! Please keep us poster on your progress work?

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

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4272 days

#4 posted 07-31-2009 06:08 PM

Very nice lathe. Did you work from a plan or is it your original idea? Great job. Fun isn’t it?

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View ChrisN's profile


259 posts in 3798 days

#5 posted 07-31-2009 06:12 PM

Great Job!!! Where do you think your spindle RPM comes out?

-- Chris N, Westford, MA - "If you won't eat something from your fridge that turned green...why would you eat something that started out that way?"

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3506 days

#6 posted 07-31-2009 06:53 PM

Thats great. Very nice job. That will keep you in shape. :-)

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3409 days

#7 posted 07-31-2009 07:30 PM

It looks real sturdy. I was seriously considering trying to build something like this for years until I found a cheap lathe and gave up on the idea. I’m sure you get more satisfaction from a completed project when you make it with this lathe rather than a cheap stamped steel chinese made lathe. Yes, my lathe works, but it’s not the same and I bet you would agree. If I do ever tackle one of these, it will probably be of the spring pole variety, rather than treadle powered but we’ll see. Thanks for posting this.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View woodpeckerbill's profile


205 posts in 3299 days

#8 posted 07-31-2009 07:36 PM

My very first lathe was a treadle lathe that my granddaddy built. Worked great! That was in 1958. Hope you get many years of use from yours. Looks really good. Bill

View jackass's profile


350 posts in 3738 days

#9 posted 07-31-2009 07:41 PM

Hi woodtag 777,
I have a keen interest in anyone who can come up with something really wanted and has the desire to DIY. I just acquired a lathe from an estate, something I always wanted and got it with tools for a cool $100.00. Very happy, but not the same satisfaction you’re enjoying. I envy your desire, happy turning.
Jackass (Jack Keefe)

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3590 days

#10 posted 07-31-2009 08:29 PM

Very nice. The picture is perfect with the empty electrical box on the wall, I guess you won’t need to wire to that one :)

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View mcoyfrog's profile


4145 posts in 3620 days

#11 posted 07-31-2009 09:00 PM

WOW thats awesome, i’ve seen these before but never had the motivation to make it, very well done..

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View Hunterastin's profile


52 posts in 3316 days

#12 posted 07-31-2009 11:07 PM

thats an awsome project, did u have plans for it?

View Hyperhutch's profile


63 posts in 3275 days

#13 posted 08-01-2009 12:05 AM

VERY COOL! I can’t wait to see a pile of shavings under it. :)

However, use great care when choosing to “repurpose” tools for turning. In particular, files are attractive as a tool option because of their hardness, yet they are very brittle. I would stay away from them especially if you are a beginning turner, as most turners get nasty catches when they first start out (which could result in a snapped file).


-- I hope the volume of shavings one creates is directly related to the probablility of one's success, cuz if so I've got it made!!

View BeachedBones's profile


201 posts in 3427 days

#14 posted 08-01-2009 12:26 AM

Nothing says “woodworking” more than a manual powered wood tool used to work wood. Very nice job.

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

View Hyperhutch's profile


63 posts in 3275 days

#15 posted 08-01-2009 02:55 AM

LOL, oops. I kinda forgot it’s a treadle lathe. So my comment about not using files isn’t so critical.


-- I hope the volume of shavings one creates is directly related to the probablility of one's success, cuz if so I've got it made!!

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