pros and cons for slab style pole lathe?

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

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pros and cons for slab style pole lathe?

Postby robgorrell » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:35 pm

Hi. I am thinking of making lathe 3.0 for my shop. Version one was a completely useless attempt at a treadle lathe. #2 was a pole lathe adapted to the remains of #1, but had too much flex in the frame, even weighted down.

I like the idea of the lathes I have seen here and there on this site and others that are made from a slab with the round legs mortised into the slab. I would like to build a basic pole lathe that I would leave outside behind my shop.

I have recently been given two very heavy fresh sawn oak timbers, about 7 inches wide, 3 inches thick and 9 feet long. Plenty of wood to make a set of heavy poppets and a solid bed with the slot down the middle. I can make the centers.

This type of lathe looks like the slab would be string enough to resist the twisting in use. Am I correct?

I would appreciate and photos, comments or advise on this before I start.

Rob
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Re: pros and cons for slab style pole lathe?

Postby simon » Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:28 pm

Sounds like a good idea. However, oak for the poppets is not so good. The tannin in the wood will corrode the centers unless you make them out of stainless steel. The same for any metal fixings in the construction, ss or at least galvanised. Or do it all with wood and glue.
Make it, mend it, wear it out,
Make it do or do without.
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Re: pros and cons for slab style pole lathe?

Postby gavin » Tue Sep 01, 2015 5:42 pm

You planning to turn bowls or spindles?
If spindles, I'd go for sawn, tanalised softwood beams min 32 mm x 125 mm. Do check for wind before you pay for them. They are cheap enough. That way you can be confident of the dimensions - even if it only lasts a season or two in softwood - before you go on to use your oak.

If bowls, you need some heavy material like oak.
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Re: pros and cons for slab style pole lathe?

Postby Bob_Fleet » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:29 pm

The main advantages of the slab type are;
1) easy to make with easily available timber - cut a log in two down the centre.
2) a lot can be done with a chainsaw.
3) very easy to assemble and take down if you want to move them.

We usually use Sitka for the bed and maybe Birch for the poppets as that's what we have handy in the woodland.
Sitka is light once dried so again easily moved.

Oak is a bit overengineering but if it doesn't have another use then that's what you've got.
Check out some pics at the APT site.

There are previous postings on this site too if you search. Robin Wood posted the first pics.
European tapered tenon/dovetail joints for the legs were also involved somewhere. I never managed them very well so mine has round legs and mortices.
A LINKto a previous posting.

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Re: pros and cons for slab style pole lathe?

Postby robgorrell » Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:24 pm

Hi. Thanks for the replies. I am mainly thinking of using the heavy oak plank because I have it and it was free. I also like the idea of keeping the lathe as simple as possible. I am becoming more of a minimalist in my shop as I get older (and the shop doesn't seem to be getting any bigger).

I had not thought of the oak rusting bolts. I have some nice large planks of hard maple that might make good poppets.

Rob
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