Whilst on holiday in Morocco last week, my wife and I visted a few places around the country. On the way to the souq (marketplace) one morning in Marrakech we passed a few (make that a lot) shops selling crafts made from wood and depending on the piece, some of them are making their goods right there in front of you.
I had seen a few machines at the front of shops that I could see were lathes, but so far none of the shopkeepers were using them, until I came across one guy who obviously spotted that he could potentially make a sale if he demonstrated.
Below are a few pictures of his hand powered lathe and a few of the things this guy makes. What he ended up turning was a free little neck charm for my wife, he put it on a piece of string. At one point he swapped the bow with rope on (seen below) to put it around a small wooden drill (more like a bradawl) to drill the hole through the top of the charm for the string, at that point he joked that this was the Moroccan Black & Decker.
I eventually ended up purchasing a set of 12 BBQ skewers from him and even went against all my normal instincts for haggling and just accepted his first price of 50 dirham (about 5 Euros) because to me he had put on a good show also.
I wonder, technically, does this count as just a hand tool?
He goes back and forward with the rope bow and uses his other hand to move the tool, whilst his foot steadies the tool on the rest. All very fast and pretty precise too.
He turned a ring and then cut in under it to release it so that it was loose on the rest of the trinket.
You can see in this last photo the skewers in the foreground and what I think are some chess pieces in the little bowl, as well as some fresh green wood with the bark still on and some turning blanks.
He had loads of other nice things in the shop too, we just didn’t have enough room in our case by then.
-- Rod, London UK