Springy woods

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Springy woods

Postby Matt » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:43 am

Building a workbench combined with a pole lathe. I'm thinking I'd like to build a leaf spring of sorts on one leg of the table to provide the reciprocal motion. What are some light, springy woods that are also fairly tough and can withstand some use and possibly abuse? Keep in mind I am in North America, so my woods of choice will have to reflect that.
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Re: Springy woods

Postby gavin » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:21 am

Hickory for you - we in UK like ash for a pole. Both are springy.
I'd experiment. Attempt different species. Also the profile of the pole will affect its springiness. I like them 20 feet long and 40 to 50 mm at the butt.

I am not clear what your design is, but if your pole is short, or under your turning axis, you may struggle. Should this be your first lathe, I really would build one with a long pole. Even it is temporary, you'll learn a lot quicker by turning on an effective lathe, rather than by trying to learn pole-lathe turning AND lathe construction at the same time.

Do you have either or both of Mike Abbotts Green Woodwork or Living Wood? If not, get them. They will be a great help.
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Re: Springy woods

Postby Matt » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:46 am

My design is a variation on one detailed by Roy Underhill in a book that he wrote that I own. In the original design, the spring is a dowel at the bottom of the frame that is tied to an overhead rocker arm, which then extends out towards the headstock where the drive cord runs down and wraps around the workpiece.

Here is a link to some photos of the original, the one I am making will be an integral part of my workbench.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/49622
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Re: Springy woods

Postby Steve Martin » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:49 am

Matt, Welcome! Glad to see you started with Roy's book. On one of his shows, which you can get through PBS or YouTube, he shows a lathe from the wood shop at Old Salem's Single Men's House. It is a German design and uses 2 horizontal poles on the front of the legs. I live in Rockwell, NC, and would be glad to talk with you more. I you like send me a PM. Good Luck!
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Re: Springy woods

Postby gavin » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:39 am

Yeah, I built one like this:
Image
Here is mine:

IMG_0654 (Small).jpg
IMG_0654 (Small).jpg (44.95 KiB) Viewed 2935 times


I found the treadle movement very restricted - I was using my ankle and shin muscles and not my thigh and bum muscles like you can on a lathe where the bottom of the bed is higher than the top of your thigh. The great advantage of the design is its small foot print. So if you are short of space - or head room they sure will work.

The spring pole is best from a grown sapling. I tried dowel for my spring pole, but it broke along short grain. So go visit the woods and come home with a selection of saplings to spring your lathe.

If you have the choice and the luxury of space, I'd build a 'thigh under ' lathe, as you can put in more power and treadle for longer.
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