Doing it wrong or just building new muscles?

discussion of the niceties of turning on a bow, bungee or pole lathe.

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Doing it wrong or just building new muscles?

Postby robgorrell » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:12 pm

Hi. I have been making an effort to use my bungy cord lathe and am running into some pretty good pain. I think I just over did it for a couple days, but wanted to check with you experienced turners.

First, I know I need to switch legs more and am working on that. That said, I have been using my left leg more, and have ended up with pain deep inside the front of my left hip joint area, toward the groin region. The leg muscles are sore as expected, but the deeper pain felt different. It went away after a couple days away from the lathe.

I wonder if it related to my posture while pedeling. The lathe centers are a bit below "nipple high" and I am able to rest some of my weight on the tool rest. I am trying to stay square to the late but end of sliding around.

I also have a problem with my treadle. The pedeling part it fastened to a piece of plywood, about 2' x 2' that I stand on. I have a wood floor under it and when I get going it slides around, usually back away from the lathe, so I have to stop often and shove it back under the lathe. I guess I need to put something rough on the underside of the plywood to hold it still.

Any suggestions for changes I can make before I settle into some bad habits?

Rob
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Re: Doing it wrong or just building new muscles?

Postby woodness sake » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:33 pm

As far as centers height, address the lathe as you would when you are turning. Face left and with your shoulders square to rhe lathe bed and parellel to the ground. Place your right hand flat on your belly with your forearm parallel to the ground. Your elbow should be resting on top of your tool rest which should be a little below the centers. As far as pain, you will need to work up to the muscle fitness necessary over time. You may have simply overdone it as happens when people first engage in any physical activity.
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Re: Doing it wrong or just building new muscles?

Postby gavin » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:32 am

robgorrell wrote:I also have a problem with my treadle. The pedeling part it fastened to a piece of plywood, about 2' x 2' that I stand on. I have a wood floor under it and when I get going it slides around, usually back away from the lathe, so I have to stop often and shove it back under the lathe. I guess I need to put something rough on the underside of the plywood to hold it still.

I'd put a metal spike thru the treadle into the floor or into a large block of wood that you will secure so it won't move. Weight will may be enough to secure - but you may prefer to brace it to the walls.
Here is Rob Wood's set up. Note the right leg is on blocks so the left leg can pass beyond the right leg. Rob's floor is covered in shavings. I prefer to have a hard floor to provide reflected energy from the treadle stroke - much as a blacksmith's anvil provides bounce back for the hammer blow.
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I prefer to have the back end of treadle higher than Rob did in 2006 when these images were taken.
Like this - the treadle plank is fixed with a metal pin approx 10 mm diameter ( here the pin is a failed poppet head crank ) into a hole not visible from this angle into the face of a massive block of oak:
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Re: Doing it wrong or just building new muscles?

Postby SeanHellman » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:58 pm

Pain, unfortunately can be quite normal. You need to nip it in the bud, before ending up with long term problems, but you know this. Get some kind of rubber under the treadle so it is fixed, this will help you concentrate on the real issues.
All I can offer is that you become self aware of how you stand and move. Analyse your movements and how your body is. It can be hard at first to tell the difference between muscles that are hurting because they are have not been used before, and a body that is hurting because you are using it wrong. This will take time, just do not overdo it and take plenty of rests and of course stretches.
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Re: Doing it wrong or just building new muscles?

Postby robgorrell » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:34 pm

Thanks for the photos Gavin. I see some big difference between those setups and mine. I have been placing the hinged end of the treadle about straight below the bed. When I step down on the triangular pedal my foot goes forward more than I feel like it should. In fact it sort of feels like the pedal is moving away and I feel the force moving from the mid-foot out to an extended toes feel.

The way the photos look to mee it seems that the raised and extended back treadles give a more verticle leg motion. Is that true? It looks more comfortable.

As for the raised platform that Rob Wood is using, does he always power with the left leg or does he have to stop and move the block when he changes legs?

One more question? I had tried the single narrow board treadle like shown initially, but it swerved all over the place when I used it. So I went to a wider setup with two hinges to hold it still. Does the single treadle settle down with experience?

I will switch my setup this weekend and try again. I'll try to remember to take some photos.
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Re: Doing it wrong or just building new muscles?

Postby gavin » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:58 pm

robgorrell wrote:The way the photos look to mee it seems that the raised and extended back treadles give a more verticle leg motion. Is that true? It looks more comfortable.


Yes.
robgorrell wrote:
As for the raised platform that Rob Wood is using, does he always power with the left leg or does he have to stop and move the block when he changes legs?

I think he uses left leg for power strok only and does not change leg; his tool rest is not reversible. So he could not change leg - unless he changed his tool rest.
robgorrell wrote:
I had tried the single narrow board treadle like shown initially, but it swerved all over the place when I used it. So I went to a wider setup with two hinges to hold it still. Does the single treadle settle down with experience?


The swerve you describe is normal. It will go with experience but it will place a load on your knee. You could insert a brace of some kind under the lathe, parallel to the lathe bed, fixed to the right-hand leg of the lathe and the other end to the treadle. A split-treadle could also work and solve the lateral twist you experience.
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Re: Doing it wrong or just building new muscles?

Postby jrccaim » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:58 am

First of all all the comments are right on. Second, pole lathes -- and muscle-powered tools in general -- are a highly personalized thing. For instance I like my centers about waist-high, maybe a bit above and no good reason for that except that I can't turn at any other height. So you have to work that out. Third, by all means put rubber under the treadle too keep it from slipping. Each time it slips you have to readjust your rhythm and that is bad. And there is a fourth thing. I don't know what your physical condition is (nor indeed is it any of my business) but a pole lathe is a whole lot of physical effort. It is probably easily equivalent to running a couple miles. Now seasoned joggers do this every day. Or weightlifters, or whatever. But if you are not in this category please take it easy. At the first sign of discomfort, stop. I repeat, stop. Do time yourself. If you did five minutes the first day, try for six the next day, and so on. Work your way up. Also learn to use both legs to treadle. Switch off. This will equalize the muscle stress.

From a biochemist friend, I also learned a secret of avoiding muscle ache. Drink lots of water. The water flushes out Lactic acid, a by-product of exercise. Be sure you are hydrated before you go on. How much hydration? Ar the very least, one litre per day. The US Marines recommend three times that. They are not joking. Joking is is forbidden :) in the USMC. This is in addition to any water you get from food, cuppas, and other stuff. Pure undiluted water. I am currently on the litre and working my way up to two.
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Re: Doing it wrong or just building new muscles?

Postby Bob_Fleet » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:17 pm

The two issues
Wobbling - as suggested something under the board to give it some friction. If it moves then so does the angle of the cord on the workpiece so you'll also get fraying if it moves the wrong way.
Muscle pain. I work on the premise that it's your thigh muscles that do the work if you walk all day.
Your stance at the lathe will change which muscles you use and if you start facing the lathe with your foot pointing to it - at right angles, then you are likely to use your calf muscles and flex your ankle. Pretty sore in not a lot of time.
I ask folk to stand with their foot on the pedal facing 'inwards' at about 45 degrees. Probably also not facing the lathe but angled. This makes you want to use your thigh muscles to lift your leg.
Remember that your leg is heavy so you don't have to press down as hard as you think but can almost drop it as a dead weight.
Once you get the feel of using them you can change your position and still use the thigh muscles. Remember the walking all day?
Watching an experienced user, it looks the same as a beginner - facing the lathe - but they'll have got into the habit of using different muscles.
Keep changing leg as you know.
Enjoy.
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