German Style Spring Pole Lathe

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Project by AJVperiodfurniture posted 178 days ago 1640 views 4 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I based this lathe off of one of Roy Underhill’s. It is built of old and new cypress. The poles are just saplings i cut down. For the string i am using sash cord, but i want to try leather wire. The cotton sash cord wears very quickly. The easy part was building it. Using it is a different story. if anyone has tips for turning on a pole lathe i would appreciate it.

-- AJV Period Furniture

12 comments so far

View murch's profile


1135 posts in 1248 days

#1 posted 178 days ago

Very nice. Would a long coil-spring work better than a sapling & cord?

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View AJVperiodfurniture's profile


10 posts in 191 days

#2 posted 178 days ago

Probably so, but i wanted to keep with tradition as much as possible.

-- AJV Period Furniture

View GerardoArg1's profile


642 posts in 618 days

#3 posted 178 days ago

Beatiful. Love this.

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View Oldtool's profile


1775 posts in 815 days

#4 posted 178 days ago

Nice build, looks like it would be fun to use.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Underdog's profile


513 posts in 659 days

#5 posted 178 days ago

How to use it?

Practice, sharp tools, and good technique. And build up your leg muscles. See Robin Wood’s YouTube vids for examples of how effective one can be.

Nice build. It should be a great conversation piece if nothing else.

View Paul Maurer's profile

Paul Maurer

126 posts in 178 days

#6 posted 178 days ago

AJV, I used a strip of leather off an old shamy (like you dry your car with) for my lathe.
A spring pole lathe is a great (and safe) into to turning. The only difference besides power source is the spring returning your turning. For more speed and more turns per step, reduce the diameter where the cord contacts the piece.
and you may need a stiffer spring pole for a faster return.
Fir spring pole lathe in Denver (Englewood), Free to good LJ home

-- Psalm 62: 11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12 and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work

View Tim's profile


1237 posts in 585 days

#7 posted 178 days ago

Very nice AJV. Is that spring pole providing enough spring? It looks on the thin side. All I can say is people say you get used to the reciprocal motion and cutting only on the down stroke after a while.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5339 posts in 2209 days

#8 posted 178 days ago

I have never tried one of these pole lathes, though I feel I would like it. I like the simplicity of these very old lathes , and your one looks (very) or much more modern and practical in design.However if you have any interest in woodturning this is how the old bodgers used to do it, and thankfully there are groups dedicated to keeping this art alive. I love this. LOng may it continue.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View jdh122's profile


351 posts in 1441 days

#9 posted 178 days ago

Building one of these is on my list of project. Looks like you did a great job. I have no tips on using it, other than the fact that green wood is easier than dried, but you knew that already…

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View NormG's profile


4088 posts in 1628 days

#10 posted 178 days ago

Great work you did on this lathe

-- Norman

View luv2learn's profile


1670 posts in 927 days

#11 posted 177 days ago

Kudos to you for going Old School. I am anxious to see how your turning skills progress.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View BloodAndSalt's profile


8 posts in 382 days

#12 posted 177 days ago

Nice. Let me know how it goes. My turning tools finally arrived in the mail, so I’m trying to figure out the same.

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