Double Spring Pole Lathe [Part 3]

So, here goes part 3 of my Double Spring Pole Lathe build inspired by the design promoted by Roy Underhill. Yesterday I made significant progress with the frame of the lathe.

  • to start with I took the two top crossbars which form the bed of the lathe, which I had already cut to length at the start of the project, and marked out the tenons using the bottom crossbar as a template. Here’s where dry wedged through tenons really shine – they are really strong when assembled, but so easy to knock apart when needed.



  • Then came the cutting, with my trusty old crosscut saw that my Dad gave me years ago. I do have a newer saw, but it is a piece of junk in comparison to this one!



  • The through tenons cut.



  • Using the width of the wood as a guide I marked out the positions from the top crossbars which form the working bed of the lathe. Overall, the measurements that I am using, apart from obvious ones like this, are being determined on-the-fly based on what would be a comfortable height for me. I would assume that if you buy a modern lathe in a shop that you would mount it on a stand which would place the bed at a suitable working height for yourself correct? This is what I am doing here regarding the position of the bed in the frame, and then working with the dimensions of the wood I am using.



  • Here I have marked out the positions of the mortises by tracing directly around the tenons. You will notice that they are not centred, restuling from a slight miscalculation made when I cut the tenons for the bottom crossbar. Not the prettiest, but not in any way detrimental to the strength of the frame. Just another matter of technique that I have learned to watch out for in the future.



  • Cutting the mortises proved to be much easier this time, due to gaining experience. When I cut the bottom crossbar a while ago I did a less than ideal job of it, but as they say, practice makes perfect. I’m not expecting this lathe to be perfect, I am however expecting it to be a platform for developing joinery and constructions skills, and it is definitely being of benefit there. And, hopefully when I’m finished, I can do some decent wood turning with it too!



  • Here you can see that I’ve cut the holes for the wedges, but do you spot my mistake? I didn’t allow for the thickness of the wood the tenon will go through, which means that the wedge hole is completely hidden inside the leg, ugh! Anyway, I fixed that by simply elongating the hole. I may not be the best solution, but I didn’t see the need to cut two new pieces of timber for this. I’ve covered this mistake, and one other, in this separate post.



  • This photo of trial assembly clearly shows the magnitude of my goof-up!



  • Using the offcuts from cutting the tenons I was able to cut some perfectly sized wedges for the joints. I’m very happy with these, they’re definately the best wedges I’ve cut so far, so much so that I cut extras to replace the wedges I cut for the bottom crossbar!






  • Wow, it’s starting to look good! My dog, Maxie, doesn’t seem to interested though!



  • If you have a look at the original design from Roy Underhill, which is based on a centuries old design, you will notice that one leg is very tall for support the top lever that is part of the overall mechanism. As you look at mine you will see that both legs are the same height. This is not a mistake. I want my lathe to be as storable as possible when not in use, so I decided from the outset to depart a little from authenticity and move towards practicality by making that tall leg in two pieces joined with a solid door hinge, as you can see below.




  • The hinge is mount inbetween the leg and the upright support, as shown in the photo above, so that it can fold flat over the lathe when not in use.



Up Next:

  • I plan to insert a through tennon through both the leg and the upright support, wedged at both ends, to hold the support firmly upright when in use, hence the extension that sticks out when folded flat.
  • I will then need to cut the upright support and the top bar so that it too can fold flat against the upright support when packed away.
  • After that I plan to make an additional headstock about 10cm at most away from the leg so that I can insert in there a separate spindle for the rope to be permanently wrapped around, and then of course I will need to make the moveable tailstock and ‘chucks’ to support the wood inbetween the head and tail stocks.
  • I will also need to find two pieces of suitable greenwood to serve as the spring poles.
  • Finally, I will need to make the treadle, which again will be a departure from authenticity in favour of practicality. I will mount it horizonatally, using another door hinge to mount it permanently on the right hand foot of the lathe.
  • Then, after the lathe itself is finished, I will have to find or make some tools for cutting the wood!
  • Hmmh, have I missed anything from this list?

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