by Stephen Shepherd
Stephen Shepherd is a maker of traditional pattern woodworking tools and a writer on early woodworking technique. His passion for this subject has inspired him to design, build and develop a set of plans for a reproduction 1805 turning lathe, with a small workbench area conveniently built into the lathe bed.
While it is easy to dismiss a foot-powered tool as inefficient in the modern age, foot powered lathes give you a wonderful mix of safety, control, and exercise. Turning speeds are lower, but with sharp tools you will turn as fast as with an electric lathe. The speed is infinitely variable and the lathe can even go backwards, which is a help for finishing. Finally, it�s a simple way to get a little exercise. Treadle turners find that they sit comfortably on a stool and find their rhythm in turning. The work can go very fast.
Part of the thrill is working on a lathe of your own construction. Stephen, who has constructed many lathes over the years, is quick to point out that with the treadle lathe, unlike a high speed gadget, tolerances do not have to be perfect, and there is a wide margin for working with the materials at hand. The plans are detailed and measured and are well within the capability of a careful woodworker, with the exception of some metal axle components which may have to be farmed out.
The Shepherd Treadle Lathe Plans include complete construction plans, a parts list, material requirements and an extensive narrative overview of the project. 8 sheets, 11" by 17" plus 4 pages of instructions.
Publisher: Full Chisel Press