Pole lathe at Pennsic

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

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Pole lathe at Pennsic

Postby Darrell » Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:09 pm

Last week we were at the Pennsic War, a big SCA event in Pennsylvania USA. It's a Medieval themed camping event with an attendance of over ten thousand people (google images for Pennsic to see a bit of what goes on) so a pole lathe is a perfect thing to play with. I brought my lathe, turning chisels, and my spoon carving knives so that I could knock out some treen from the firewood pile.

Our camp site was on a main road, so I set up right on the edge by the road, so that I could engage, entertain, and educate passers-by. This worked very well, as any time I was turning I had a small audience. They were nearly all non-woodworkers, and thus were completely amazed at what one could accomplish with a pole lathe. A few of them gave the lathe a try and some took measurements and pictures. There may be some new turners out there soon!

I turned a half dozen chair legs, which were pressed into service to make a pair of stools. The seats were slabs of firewood, and were quite rough, as I did not bring a plane or adze with me for smoothing lumber. Some visiting SCA royalty used them and were very impressed by the story of how and when they were built (today, out of firewood, using that thing over there). I had to build a tapered reamer to enlarge the seat holes for the stool legs, because the only auger bit I had was a mere 5/8 inch diameter. Next year, I will bring a bigger auger bit! I also turned a pair of ring mandrels for my daughter and a fellow camp-mate.

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Darrell
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Re: Pole lathe at Pennsic

Postby Steve Martin » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:28 am

Good job. Like your attitude and approach. Keep up the good work.
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Re: Pole lathe at Pennsic

Postby Kevin Downing » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:28 am

Darrell,
Did you make the tapered reamer at the show? Is the metal sharpened? How much does it protrude past the wood? Or does it matter.
Nice lathe! Was that a bit of a drive to get to Pennsylvania? Near Pittsburgh? Its a large state when you have to drive across it.
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Re: Pole lathe at Pennsic

Postby Darrell » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:48 pm

Hi Kevin

The reamer used a bit of broken hacksaw blade for the cutter. I just used the toothed side as the cutting edge, which worked adequately. Everyone was impressed with the lathe, despite it being a modern design in a medieval setting. They were entirely agog over how I just made up a tool to do the job (the reamer).

If it was a straight drive it would have been about four and a half hours. Add the border crossing, stop for gas, restroom break, lunch, and food shopping. Turns into a 6 hour journey.

Hope to see you at the Bodgers Ball in May.
Darrell
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