Thursday, 21 October 2010

Hand Lathe - Update

Well, Ive been playing the hand lathe and a couple of modifications were needed, i removed the screw and bolt i was using as the centers as they were just too narrow and were digging into the wood i was trying to turn, so i removed them and replaced with some M8 thread rod, the ends of which i filed down to a blunt dome shape, i also cranked the rod over to give me a handle so i could tighten the centre into the blank without having to use another other tool as i was having to do when tightening up the screw, i also turned myself a nice handle to place on the end of the thread rod, as pictured below.


The other mod i made was to remove the hazel wand i was using and replace it with a bungee type arrangement, this means that the entire lathe is now in one piece and can be clamped to just about any surface, the uprights are held in place by nothing more than friction fit in the two holes i augered into the bed.

With the modifications i made the thing is working brilliantly, and as previously posted, it's not as tiring as you might think to use it, after all you are only doing half the work, the bungee is doing the other half, it's probably good for a cardio vascular work out though.

So am i using it, oh yes, and i love it, it's very much a steep learning curve, but i have been given some very valuable pointers from people who know what they are talking about.  Ive decided that I'm going to use this lathe as a design tool, use it, see how it can be improved and them when i have a tool that I'm happy with, i shall build another one using some materials that are more suited, but at the moment this is working just fine and dandy. 

The hand lathe was never designed to be used for making bowls and the like, in fact from what i understand from talking to people, you can't turn a bowl on one of these, I've not tried it yet and most probably wont, as all i want to do on this lathe is make simple things like spurtles and garden dibbers, see picture below, yes i know it's not a cleaved piece of wood and it still has the pith in the middle, but it's all i had available to me at the time.

The one thing that has really got up my nose with this project, is the number of people who just "dont get it", by that i mean, they dont or wont understand that the lathe is a hand powered one not a treadle or pole lathe, but a hand powered lathe.

I know they all mean well, when they say, "add a longer string and a pole and use use your foot to power it", but that's not the idea behind it, the idea was to make a hand powered lathe, and as Ive pointed out to people who have commented on the video's i placed on my You Tube channel about this project, if i had wanted a pole lathe, i would have built one in the first place, as i posted in my entry earlier this month, the idea and inspiration for this came from watching a video on You Tube that was posted by Treewright on a bow lathe, i wonder if he had the same type of comments about that, as i did about this one.

This hand lathe is a bit of fun, i use it to make simple things and hopefully i will be using it for demonstrations of country crafts at locals shows and school fetes, and the dibber and spurtles i make on it, might just provide a few pennies for some ale now and again.