Archive for September, 2012

Treadle Lathe – Head End – molto scorrevole!

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

phot of leg with two inset bearing blocksMore spinning things! There are lots of little step-by-step things since the last time. Summarized, two axles are now running on ball bearings and held in an assembly of two legs. Simple.

The left leg holds two bearing blocks. Both are set in only as deep as they need be. The flywheel axle and the headstock spindle do not run completely through the left leg. There’s a single bearing for the flywheel axle. photo of spindleThe headstock spindle has two bearings. Leftmost is a thrust bearing which absorbs lateral pressure on the spindle. Immediately next to it is a ball bearing for the radial load.

The flywheel axle is 1/2″ steel rod, common stuff from the home center. The headstock spindle is also common 5/8″ steel rod. I used that size because it is the same as a ShopSmith spindle and several parts are available for that size spindle (see the post 2 previous to this for actual part numbers).

photo of assembled legs, flywheel and spindleThe right leg, of course, has through holes for both the flywheel axle and the headstock spindle. The bearing for the flywheel axle is on the inside / left face of this leg, making both flywheel bearings close to the wheel itself. The headstock spindle bearing is on the outside / right face of the leg.

The legs are bolted together with 3 carriage bolts, each running thorough a spacer block, two through the feet and the third just below the rails. It’s solid!

Last, there’s a crank piece made of walnut. Remember, the blacksmith moved away, and I don’t have enough metal working skills to bend cranks in 1/2″ steel rod. So, I used a block of walnut, and pinned it to the flywheel axle and the crank stub with pins made from 8-penny nails.

And… yes, that’s a pile of sandpaper (YIKES!) in one of those photos. Hate the stuff. But the wood needed it.

Result: Il meccanismo è molto scorrevole! (|en| is your friend)

Treadle Lathe – Puppet / Tailstock

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

In yesteryear they called it a “puppet.” Today, we call it a tailstock. Same purpose, different names.

Earlier I mentioned that I’m aiming for a more modern interpretation. It is in jest that I forgo the old world costumes, and in practicality that I seek a smooth running contrivance.

a short digression … There was a time that I imagined having the “village blacksmith” fashion some parts for this lathe. A strange thing happened on the way to see the smith. I discovered he left long ago. The quaint little village I live in is intentionally quaint. I came here over 30 years ago as a convenient place to live while I pursued employment in the corporate, private, free-enterprise world. I didn’t move here because it is a quaint little village. Yet, about that time a town council was elected with the purpose of keeping the place little and quaint. There is no development here. No new people arrive (or are welcome) to help share a constantly increasing tax burden. Long story short, the smithie was one of the first to recognize the peril of perpetually increasing taxes and he left. Word has it he’s in Cody Wyoming where there’s plenty of smithing to be done and people who actually appreciate industrious private enterprise.

photo of puppet and partsSo, “here ya go, Shannon.” Shannon asked in a comment to a previous post about my intentions for the spinning parts. Let’s do the tailstock/puppet first. Many replicas of old time lathes want to use a large screw with a sharpened point as the tail center. I wanted a bit less drag and smoke! Live centers all seem to be attached to tapered fixtures. How would I support one of those? Some time ago, “TrialAndError” briefly mentioned using a “morse taper socket” in the lathe he built. It wasn’t until a photo of drilling the puppetweek or so ago that I searched for such a thing on eBay and discovered they really exist.

(drop back one post to see a list of parts)

The morse taper socket I bought is simply a 1″ diameter chunk of stainless steel machined with a #2 morse taper hole, and then hardened. It is 4 inches long and includes a closed slot machined crosswise near one end. I assume this slot is used in applications where the socket moves within a quill. ¬†Beware when buying this piece. photo of completed puppetYou can find them in the $30-$50 range on eBay, or for $9.70 at Amazon. Shop around.

Drilling the 1″ hole through my puppet was a task best done on a saw bench. It is low enough to allow the right ergonomics of a very long auger in a hand brace. The short swing of the hand brace made for slow boring, but also made it easy to check constantly for accuracy.

The result is a very tight fit, requiring a block of wood and rubber faced mallet to drive the socket into the puppet. If, I find it moves under turning pressure, I’ll add a pin through that slot.

Treadle Lathe – Parts

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

These are the parts not commonly found at your nearby home centers. We’ll see more of them in subsequent posts.

photo of 5 parts

(click to enlarge)

Some of these are available from several sources. I include links in the “Source” column for where I found the ones I’m using. Shop around. For example, that MT socket is listed by several sellers on eBay for $30-50, and I found it at Amazon for less than $10

Part number
Source (mouse over for links)
1/2" sealed
5/8" sealed
51102 thust bearing -
#2 Morse Taper SocketSSH-4 2 Morse Taper - 1" Hard Solid SocketVictor Machinery Exchange, via Amazon
Drive spur - 5/8" spindleShopsmith Drive SpureBay - bandsaw-tire-warehouse
Live center - #2MTShopsmith Live CentereBay - bandsaw-tire-warehouse
Headstock Adapter - 5/8" to 1" 8tpiPSI L5818 Headstock Spindle AdapterAmazon
Live center - #2MTPSI LCENTLT2 No. 2MT Heavy Duty Live CenterAmazon
Drive belt - 2 strips of 2" by 72" leather4773-00 Latigo stripsTandy Leather Factory

Treadle Lathe – Bearing Blocks

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

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.

Treadle Lathe – Mount the Wheel

Friday, September 7th, 2012

photo of flange, axle and wheelOne of the hard parts of preparing the flywheel was done a long time ago, before cutting it round. The wheel rotates on a 1/2 inch axle. I drilled the center hole and then used that hole as the pivot point for cutting the perimeter on the band saw. Nice! Guaranteed center for the axle.

Here, we see the axle mounted. I used the ever popular plumbing flange on both sides of the wheel. The purpose of this flange is to connect the wheel mass to the axle. That is done with a simple 9/64″ hole drilled through the axle and a common “8 penny” nail through a pair of holes already in the flange. Simple. Snug. Done! (Oh well, almost. The axle will be cut to length later.)

Yes, there’s a matching flange on the other side of the wheel. No pin through it; all we need is one. The real purpose of that flange is to provide a bearing surface for the washers that will keep the wheel centered between the uprights. You’ll see those later.

Treadle Lathe – Resume Building

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Building a treadle lathe started a long time ago, when the shop was too cold for epoxy to cure on a boat I was building. A lot of water has passed under our boats since then. Other activities, swimming, language learning, travel, and various forms of woodcarving have also happened. drawing of latheSo, why back to the lathe now? Simple, some of the woodcarving I want to do is on various turned objects.

Quick recap: Plans are abundant. Making choices depends on intended use and can lead to analysis paralysis. My intended use does not include dragging the thing around to festivals, to shows, or any form of re-enactment. Out with the period costumes, and actually out with some of the other period authenticity. photo of dry fitted major partsThe lathe is intended for practical use and I’ll certainly be using modern parts such as ball bearings, chucks and live centers.

My choice of structure most closely resembles Stephen Shepherd’s 1805 “Moses T” lathe, but without the bench behind the ways. Mine is also heavier in certain areas, mainly the uprights and feet.

photo of tail stock being mortisedThe last we saw of the build had the bigger parts mostly complete, the uprights, feet, wheel and rough tail stock. All of it has been set aside in the shop and has shown no signs of checking, splitting, warping etc. Not bad for construction grade lumber. The photo of assembled parts is showing only a dry fit. Nothing is fastened to anything else. … and what looks like a piece of lumber much longer than the lathe is really a french cleat attached to the wall behind the lathe.

Recent work includes getting the tail stock to fit between the ways. That was basic tenon cutting. After that, I hacked out a through mortise that will later house a wedge.

Next up: A bevy of smaller parts for the treadle, or getting that wheel mounted between the uprights? hmmmmmm…