Treadle Lathe – Bearing Blocks

Other people who have added modern bearings to their wooden treadle lathes report the bearings eventually moving around and becoming wobbly. photo of bearing blocks and some toolsThe solution is housing the bearing in something harder than the typical softwood we use for the lathe frames. Let’s see now… oak, ash, … ah, there’s some walnut left from a gun stock project. There’s enough walnut for the bearing blocks and for a few other small parts. Perfect.

There are a total of 4 bearings, two 1/2″ for the flywheel and two 5/8″ for the headstock. One of the 5/8″ bearings is a thrust bearing that will absorb the headstock’s lateral movement. They have outside diameters of 1 and 1/8″ and 1 and 3/8″. Forstner bits in a hand brace do the job. I drilled several holes through a block that’s a bit more than twice as thick as the bearings. Then, I sliced the block into the correct thickness. It’s a simple resawing task, but the work pieces were too small to handle well for manual resawing. So, I relented to using the band saw. After that, saw to size with a Japanese pull saw. Yes, I’m leaving them square. It’s easier than making them round.

By the way, I can’t say enough good things about my Czeck Edge marking knife. It’s really hard to mark dark woods for sawing. Pencil lines disappear. Pen lines are too fat. The marking knife makes perfect lines that are both precise and very visible.

P.S. I’ll be remaking the block for the thrust bearing. I’ve decided to double up on that one by placing the thrust bearing and a regular bearing sandwiched together. It’s a simple matter of more boring boring.

3 Responses to “Treadle Lathe – Bearing Blocks”

  1. Ralph Boumenot Says:

    Why walnut Bob? I would think that it would be too soft and would deform real quick. Is it QS/rift cut?

  2. Bob Says:

    Nice work on the things you’ve been building lately. I especially like the box.

    You might be right, Ralph, about walnut not lasting as long as something harder. Yet, I have some very nice walnut and welcome a few color accents. It is indeed QS, left over from a fine piece used for a gun stock.

    If it wears too quickly, I can easily replace it with oak or ash. Lots of that stuff in the shop.

  3. Ralph Boumenot Says:

    Hi Bob,
    I did a little research on walnut and it turns out it is a hard and dense wood. I don’t use it much at all and I assumed it was maybe a tad harder than EYP.