Bob Builds Another BOB

just one photo for now…



Treadle Lathe – Machined Crank Details

Lathe builders in 1805 didn’t know Roger Davis. They’d just have a blacksmith make them a simple crank and be done with it. I didn’t know Roger either when I built my lathe. He saw the blog entry showing the (pathetic) wooden crank I made, in the absence of a blacksmith, and suggested it wouldn’t last long. It didn’t. He then made me one that will never fail. It is solid!

Roger Davis is a fellow Hoosier with the good sense not to move to New York, a frequent visitor to the Sawmill Creek forums, owner of “a very complete machine shop” and self-proclaimed “lack of good sense,” an aerospace engineer by education (Yay Purdue!), former high school teacher (physics, cemistry, algebra), a builder of scientific instrumentation (start to finish) as his paying job, a builder and user of muzzleloaders as one of his hobbies, and variously proficient in gunsmithing, blacksmithing, woodworking hand tools, A&C furniture, cooperage and who knows what else. Bottom line: a generously good guy.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Josh, from the previous post, wanted more information about the machined crank, as did Matt in the comments on the post about Stephen Shepherd’s kit of parts.

Photos and a drawing tell most of what you need to know to make one. If you have the metal working equipment to cut a block of steel, cut a slot in it, drill accurately, and tap some screw holes, you can make one similar. For what it’s worth, the distance between pivots was simply an estimate (a little more than a tenth the diameter of the flywheel) and has worked very well. Roger didn’t specify the size of the cap screws, but they look to be 1/4 by 20 by 1 inch long. The only other thing not shown on the drawing, that’s very visible in the photos, is a dowel pin that retains the crank pin. The retaining pin is probably not needed on this particular crank since Roger built it to such close tolerances that the crank pin probably took several tons of pressure to seat as a “press fit.”

When installing on the flywheel axle, be sure to go back and forth between the two screws, as they each affect the other’s tightness until they are really tight.

This crank has been very solid. I’ve got hours and hours of use on the lathe and ZERO, Nada, NO slippage from the crank. It simply works! Thanks again, Roger.

photo of flywheel crank - 1 photo of flywheel crank - 2 photo of flywheel crank - 3 photo of flywheel crank - 4 drawing of crank arm as always, click any photo for a larger version.


Treadle Lathe Compilation

One of this blog’s followers, Josh Delmonico, compiled a Word document that includes many of the posts for the Treadle Lathe category. The result is a single document that describes building this lathe.

I browsed through it quickly, and found that it covers all of the construction related posts. There are a few posts not included, such as ones published after construction that are related to some of the things made on the lathe. Omitting those is logical for someone wanting to build a lathe. The focus is on the build.

The included web links work too! Josh captured the photos at sizes that fit comfortably. You can see larger versions of most of the photos by clicking through to the actual blog pages and then clicking on the images.

For someone wanting to build a similar lathe, this is a GREAT compilation that gets all the construction related material in one place. Highly recommended.


Download >>>—> Treadle Lathe DOCX (about 8MB)

Update (1/31/2014): Josh updated the document to include the recent post about the machined crank. All build details are now fully up to date.

PS: For those (like me) who don’t have Word or abstain from the MS suite, you can find a variety of DOCX readers with your friend, Google.



Catch Up – December 2013 Completions

The months leading to Christmas have extra security around the shop. Guards are posted to prevent word getting out about possible gifts being created within. Blogging is ignored. All of the gifts made it out in plenty of time, but the blog didn’t write itself, and the wimpy guards wouldn’t write anything, heading for warmer regions the moment this winter’s cold arrived.

I did take a few photos, but am not excited with them. Dark Walnut needs a lot of light to photograph well. I don’t know whether these photos suffer from my capability, getting used to a new camera, or the dearth of real light bulbs.

One might surmise from what I show here that there are four grandchildren, each having 3 parts to their names, one family liking lighter color wood and another liking darker wood. Correct. Each of the grandchildren now have a pencil box, either of Cherry or Walnut, and each supplied with “The World’s Best Pencils” and a sharpener. Each of those boxes uses standard pencil box construction, simple dovetails, sliding lid, solid base.

photo of a pencil box made of cherry with the initials E J E carved in the lid photo of a pencil box made of cherry with the initials M A P carved in the lid photo of a pencil box made of cherry with the initials H E P carved in the lid photo of a pencil box made of cherry with the initials G N P carved in the lid

photo of a walnut walking staffA young woman in our family puts up with a very strange nervous system malady and sometimes appreciates assistance when walking. I thought she needed something better than the mass-produced piece of aluminum tubing she has been using. The walking staff is dual purpose, long for use as a staff, and with a handle for use as a cane. The twisty part is a double helix, similar to one of the symbols of her profession.

photo of a walnut box with an oval rose carved in the lidThe oval rose is one of my favorite classical carvings. I’ve made several of these carvings. The box with the oval rose is about 9″ by 6″ by 2 3/4″ high. The lid is a flip up lid which will stand open at just a bit beyond 90 degrees. No pencils in that box. It traveled with a load of cookies.

Finish on all of the boxes is shellac and wax. All of the Walnut items have additional dark stain, Min-Wax Jacobean. The walking staff has  a polyurethane finish, better for exterior use.

oval-rose-patternUPDATE: In response to Shannon’s comment, I’ve attached the pattern for the oval rose, both as an image and as a PDF.  The pattern is free. The carving sequence is an exercise for the carver.  :)

… and for hints on how to transfer complicated patterns, see the “Ponce on That” section of a recent post.


Treadle Lathe – Parts Update

Any of you who followed my treadle lathe project know that most of it was based on Stephen Shepherd’s drawings of an 1805 Turning Bench. You might also remember that I stalled for a long time while searching for a blacksmith … who apparently fled NY’s wonderful tax system and literally headed for the hills.

I recently heard from another lathe builder who was also looking for certain parts, all the metal bits. Good News…

Just in! Stephen Shepherd has just pulled together a hardware package for people building the lathe. The hardware lets one keep the authentic nature of the machine with fittings that match the original plans (with a very minor size difference here or there). From Stephen’s description, the fittings look great and I see the price as very reasonable.

Highly recommended! see: http://www.fullchisel.com/blog/?p=4425



Acanthus Carving on a WHAT?

Tool tote!

Yes, a tool tote. One project too many found me making numerous trips to the workshop, usually for a few tools per trip. It’s long past time to have a carry tote or tool tote for the projects away from the workshop. One of the very simple projects at Paul Sellers’ Woodworking Masterclass site is a “Carrying Tote.” The purpose of the 2 episode project is to teach the basic dado (housed dado in UK) joint. Hey, I had some lumber of appropriate size. Actually it was a bit wider and I wasn’t in the mood for ripping. So, I used the width I had and it worked out OK. Building the tote itself was easy.

But, it was plain. Plain wood. Ahhhh, the problem was an absence of carvings! Have to fix that…

There was a time that we vacationed away from the shop, and I substituted a pencil and yellow notepad for gouges and wood … making lots of drawings of Acanthus leaves and scrolls.

I borrowed from that collection for these carvings. These are shapes that are actually better in high relief, on wood an inch thick or more. The challenge here was executing them in low relief while still giving the right sense of shape. At the same time, I wanted them incised instead of raised where every knock and bump would produce damage.

The box is made of Radiata Pine from New Zealand, the “white wood” carried by our big orange home center. When I started, I was skeptical about carving this stuff. It actually worked out well, a bit stringy in places, but not too bad. Finish is 3 coats of shellac. No rub out. No wax.