Treadle stroke and speed question.

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Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby robgorrell » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:42 am

I have been trying to figure out the better technique for treadling. I find myself in a habit of making quick strokes of about half the possible length, but if I really lift my foot and get a long stroke I of course get more rpms in a given stroke. But I can't tell which is more tiring to me as the motor. What do you all prefer?

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Re: Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby Steve Martin » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:57 am

Depends on how late in the day it is, the later it gets the shorter the stroke. It's easiest for me to get a youngster to do the pumping, that way I get many more revolutions! Have a great week-end!
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Re: Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby jrccaim » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:20 am

Very good question. I speak only for myself, of course. I let the wood tell me. When I start turning there is a difficult interval there where I adjust to the wood and for that matter the tool. Eventually the wood, the tool, and I get in sync, and it's downhill from there. My ultimate test is: if I'm getting shavings, as opposed to sawdust, I'm doing it right. The longer the shavings the righter I am doing it. Of course our power lathe brethren have all kinds of formulas as to cutting speeds in meters per second or whatever. I find these totally useless on a pole lathe. (I do use these formulas when I am turning metal on a power lathe, however.) We cannot possibly duplicate the continous feed of a motor, or even a treadle lathe. So you speed up, slow down, feel the wood.

Mike Abbot in his book has a very useful rule. Treadle at your heartbeat rate (pulse rate) if you can feel it. If you can't feel it go buy a blood pressure gizmo from Wal-Mart (or for that matter a stethoscope) and see what it is. Remember to breathe at the same rate. Great cardio exercise. Why buy a treadmill? use a pole lathe :) You do not want to be too impatient; there is a tendency (for me, anyway) to treadle fast and get the *** thing over with. No no. Keep the shavings going. Slow steady push rather than a stomp. Now and then you run into a hard patch and might want to speed up. Slow down on the soft patches. And that's all I wrote! -- erm, no, thought of something else...
PS. I take the stroke all the way to the floor. No use wasting leg power. Just me again. But I hate to waste downward momentum, and it takes leg energy to halt the stroke short of the floor.
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Re: Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby gavin » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:01 am

jrccaim wrote: I take the stroke all the way to the floor. No use wasting leg power. Just me again. But I hate to waste downward momentum, and it takes leg energy to halt the stroke short of the floor.

Valid point.
If you have a hard surface for the treadle to hit e.g. concrete floor or wooden block, it will reflect some of the downward energy back up. You'll notice the same thing with a blacksmith and his/ her anvil and hammer.
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Re: Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby robin wood » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:12 am

having watched lots of folks working over the years I can tell you without exception those short stappy strokes are the sign of a beginner, my guess is your pole is too small and weak too. Good turners use bigger poles and long smooth strokes.
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Re: Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby robgorrell » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:01 pm

OK. Thanks. I hope to spend some time at the lathe this weekend and I will work on longer slower strokes,
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Re: Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby Robin Fawcett » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:10 am

Mike Abbott says if you can co-ordinate your treadle rate, your breathing and your heartbeat you will get the full holistic benefit from this activity - I'll drink to that and have always held it in mind...
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Re: Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby robin wood » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:17 am

get some dance music on your treadle rhythm will look after itself and your production rate will go up this is the sort of thing that's normally playing in my workshop at the moment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gujB7A5ycew
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Re: Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby Steve Martin » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:14 am

I usually play a tune in my head called "Rocky Top". But the rythym of the music Robin gave is good, I just prefer a more "country" sound.
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Re: Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby jrccaim » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:15 am

Lot of good suggestions on previous posts, thanks to all for sharing them. I personally do not play music when I treadle. Not because I hate music. It is because musicians do not operate pole lathes. So they play at speeds that seem right to them. No criticism at all for musicians. They have their job; turners have a different job. Old Beethoven had an idea. Use this newfangled thing, the metronome. Beethoven was the first (as far as I can tell) to put metronome markings on his music. Metronomes are not expensive and if you cannot sense your heartbeat (and do not wish to purchase a blood pressure gadget) by all means purchase a metronome. Nowadays I am sure you can find electronic metronomes, or program your IThing or even your laptop to do it, but even the mechanical ones are cheap. Set it to 60-65 beats per minute (BPM). Treadle to that beat. However I will point out that just as important as the rate, you have to breathe in and out at the same rate. If you ever studied Karate you will know immediately what I mean. If you haven't why then inhale on the return stroke and exhale on the pushdown. You will last a lot longer that way. Time your in/ex- halations to coincide with the strokes. Pay as much attention to your breathing as you do to the turning. Muscle power, after all.

Failure to do this will not be fatal. You will still get some turning done. But it will cost you (or your leg!) a lot more that if you got heartbeat and breathing down right. BTW as you treadle your heartbeat will rise. This is good. You (or the taxpayer) would pay real money for a Physical Therapy program designed for just that purpose. Do it for free with a pole lathe :) but you might want to increase the beat up to 70 BPM or even 80 as you get into it. A cardio "stress test" gets you up to around 120-140 BPM as I recall. You probably want to avoid those rates; no more that 90. It does depend on your age; an 18-year old could easily take 90 BPM or even 100 (if in good shape!). Not me. But I am no physiotherapist. Consult as necessary with an expert. But never start out "cold" at 80! Work up to it.
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Re: Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby Brian Williamson » Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:38 am

robin wood wrote:Good turners use bigger poles and long smooth strokes.


The length of pole is a critical factor.Long poles will naturally lend themselves to slower rythms. My current pole is just under 16' and I'd happily use longer. Also, it operates at a very shallow angle, with the butt attached about four feet off the ground on a large post and the A-frame holding it up being tall.

If you think of guitar strings, the slow vibration (low notes) comes from the unfretted (full length), heavy strings. The fast vibration (high notes) comes from fretted (shortened) thin strings. A short pole is always trying to chivvy you into a quicker rythm.

Find the longest pole you can and experiment. You can always cut it down.

I've never timed my stroke or tried to link it to my heart rate or breathing. I just know I like a slow rythm.

The other advantage of a long pole is that you can set it up to pull a longer piece of string and hence get more turns per stroke.

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Re: Treadle stroke and speed question.

Postby jrccaim » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:38 am

Brian Williamson wrote:
robin wood wrote:Good turners use bigger poles and long smooth strokes.


The length of pole is a critical factor.Long poles will naturally lend themselves to slower rythms. My current pole is just under 16' and I'd happily use longer. Also, it operates at a very shallow angle, with the butt attached about four feet off the ground on a large post and the A-frame holding it up being tall.
...

Brian.


Ooh, excellent point, Brian. Since the pivot point is fixed (or should be) the longer the radius the longer the arc. Twice pi times the radius is the length of the circumference, and see, all that schools geometry is good for something :) I have always understood this but never thought it out till you wrote. Of course! [In an Italian clockmaking board that I follow, there is a wonderful "smiley" of someone striking their head, as in "duh!" or possibly ""idiot!" Picture me hitting my head.] Long poles lead to slow steady strokes.
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