Very Basic Polelathe!

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

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Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby Vicky » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:40 am

Not a serious pole lathe post but…
I came across this swiss book written in german which is about teaching kids to use a knife safely and has some whittling projects etc so I was interested. I can't read or understand german - not clever in the languages department (failed O level French twice and only the clever kids at my school did German) but always in search of new / interesting whittling projects to keep kids busy I followed some links and ended up at the authors youtube videos. I have no idea what he's saying and he's not the most charismatic individual, but this has to be the most basic pole lathe I've seen (and with a very annoying squeak!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Mz6qVBT1tY&feature=share&list=UUKqoiG45T1OkQkUEq5dEMzA
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby jrccaim » Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:32 am

I have got to hand it to Herr Taschenmesserbuch (which means BTW pocketknife-book). As basic as you can get. The annoying squeak is simply lack of oil. His centers are simple nails (Nageln); on those he puts filed centers and did not oil anything. He tightens up the work with a piece of (red-colored) rope. Uses kernmantel rope for turning. My thought is that it will not last long. No matter. No screw-in centers for this gent. I think, for the record, that Herr Taschennmesserbuch is Swiss. Long live Switzerland! I am impressed! Look at his pole -- a simple branch from a nearby tree. This is probably how pole lathes got started in the first place; you are watching a real live archeological reconstruction. Tool rather rather modern, though. Commercial ladyfinger gouge. Still, who am I to carp? It works. And very well indeed, within limits of course.

Thank you Vicky for posting this; I am all in favor of minimalist stuff and this is about as minimalist as you can be. I just said I wasn't going to carp. But myself I would have not used nails. I would put the filed centers directly into the wood. I'd need a drill bit slightly undersize and tap them in. This is in fact what I do. I put veg oil on the centers to avoid squeaks. I have "dead" centers; they do not turn. Mr Taschemesserbuch has, effectively, two "live" centers and this is a plus; but he didn't oil them so they squeak, which is a minus. Steel-on-steel does that. I must try his live center idea. But it involves center-drilling a rod. The actual filing to a point is tedious but not difficult. Use a battery-powered or mains-powered drill. Put it in a vice. Spin it up. Apply file. Make it 60 deg. Make a 60 deg. template out of piece of beer can, which you cut with scissors. Use a realtively coarse file at first. Then switch to a smooth file. Polish with wet-and-dry. Presto, a center.

I must say that to accurately drill a rod along axis, which you have filed to a point is very difficult; I could not do it by hand. With great difficulty I could do it it on a pillar drill. I use my Taig lathe, accurate to a "thou" (.001") or .025 mm. I don't know from the video how Mr. T did it. I find using the Taig a little (or a lot) like cheating. But I also cut my 60 deg centers on it. Sigh, we live in a machine age. That is why I recommend dead centers for strict constructionists. Do not need even a Taiwan lathe to file up dead centers.All you need is a DIY electric drill. And you do not even need that; with patience you can file it by hand. I draw the limit there :)
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby Vicky » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:47 pm

Thanks 'jrccaim' - I thought you would understand and explain all!! 8)
He is Swiss and his book on using pocket knives is in association with Victorinox - I ordered the book - I'll just look at the pictures and ask my cousin to translate the crucial bits when I see him at Christmas.
The two part centres did seem very complicated for a very basic design - the lathe looks about as reliable as the camp furniture my Girl Guides make, which usually falls apart before the end of camp usually with their dinner on it! :roll: Interesting though.
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby jrccaim » Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:09 am

Aha, a book in the offing. OK, if you do get the book and really get stuck post it here; I will do my best to translate it. I suspect Google translate might do a better job. My German is quite rusty, although once I spoke it reasonably well. I am a great admirer of Victorinox and in fact own two of them. One never leaves my pocket, a great big 6cm monster with a saw. I use the saw as often as the knife.

I spent the entire morning center-drilling (that is drilling along the axis of a rod) in order to make bearings for a piece of clockwork I am making. I am using precision tools. The Taig lathe is capable of .001" or .02 mm. It is still a hard job. I do not think you can do this by hand at all, unless, of course, you are Superman or Wonder Woman as the case may be. Even with a pillar drill it is quite difficult. You need V-blocks to line up your drill. As to finding the centre of a say 10mm rod, that in istelf is an interesting (if frustrating) exercise in geometry. No. I stand by my recommendation, make dead centers and drill them into the wood. I will eventually make Herr Taschemesserbuch's centers. They are appealing because they reduce friction, and friction is an enemy.

I see by your post that you are involved with Girl Guides. Having been associated, nay immersed, in Boy Scouts until I was past adult age, I will say that I will go way out of my way to help another Scout. Post it or PM me as may be the case.
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby mstibs » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:26 pm

German native here, I'll chime in if something isn't clear.
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby Vicky » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:57 pm

So I get the book in the post at the same time as my mum made a surprise visit for the week (so I had to clean the house in rather a rush which isn't fun) Anyway I'd forgotten that she could read German a bit so we have been sitting 'reading' the book together - I think she rather enjoyed the challenge.

The book is called 'Werken mit dem Taschenmesser: 26 Schnitzanleitungen vom Klangstab bis zum Segelboot' by Felix Immler (it's on Amazon UK) and it has some different projects, good pictures and is very well presented.

The guy Felix who wrote the book has a website which has some cool kids stuff on it so I emailed him to say that I thought it was good and would like to make use of it. He told me that his publisher was trying to find a UK or USA publisher who would translate the book and that the UK Scouts were interested.

Well today I have just received another email from him saying that his book has been rejected on the grounds that no one wants to publish a book here in the UK or the USA showing children using knives and that if he can re do it as an adult book they would be interested. He sent me the whole string of emails from the publishing people explaining their problem! He is very puzzled by their / our attitude.

This is the gist of it…
"We showed the book to a wide range of publishers at Frankfurt. The book was liked, but there was an overwhelming reaction against pictures of children with knives - particularly from American publishers. A craft book using Swiss Army Knives that is not specifically for children might have a wider market. We had this reaction from everyone we showed the book to - I wonder if this has been commented on with the German edition? We would be interested in helping with a craft book for adults but I am afraid the problem with children and knives seems difficult.
Please let me know if you would be interested in an update of our Swiss Army Knife book."


Anyway this is what Felix the author of the book is asking…
Do you have an idea.... or is it really impossible to publish a book containing in England or USA? Do you know a publishiner who is interested in a topic like that? In Switzerland, each child have a own pocket knife and there is no crime with pocket knives? (his English is obviously better than my German)

Ok so I know that this is a bit on the edge of the 'green woodworking' thing but some people on this forum do work with young people, like me. I just wondered what you think? (post had drifted a bit from the original topic and is prob. in the wrong place now!)
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby mstibs » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:34 pm

In Germany it's just like in Switzerland. Children (at least the boys) growing up in rural areas have their own pocket knives. They get taught its usage by an adult and if they cut themselves they learned something. 8) (I remember someone telling me that in the US children won't learn eating w/ fork and knive before the age of 10-12 ... 3 y/o is the average in my family.) My neighbours 6 y/o daughter Laura came to my workshop this afternoon. I sat her on the shave horse (not for the 1st time) and she made something nondescript what she called a magic wand. But she liked it. Of course she was under my severe supervision all the time. If supervision by adults is available, there is no problem running whittling and greenwood courses for children here in Germany.
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Saxons. Were good wood-turners, they had to be because they were poor potters...from "A Short History of Woodturning with the Pole-lathe" by Brian G. Howarth; My bilingual (de/en) Blog: http://mstibs.wordpress.com
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby gavin » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:35 pm

Vicky,
This thread has now moved to safety perception and children.

The jewish Swedish teacher Otto Salomon advocated use of knives in the 19th century refer The sloyd system of wood working et al, but the English educationalists of the time felt that was unsafe and preferred tools like chisels where both hands were needed to use the tool. I think the US publishers' reluctance reflects the regrettable risk awareness of their culture.

Perhaps the publishers could be persuaded to translate to English on the grounds this could be a vastly profitable and mould-breaking title. After all, Harry Potter was rejected by many publishers before it made millions.
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby jrccaim » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:15 am

Vicky wrote:...
[i]"We showed the book to a wide range of publishers at Frankfurt. The book was liked, but there was an overwhelming reaction against pictures of children with knives - particularly from American publishers. A craft book using Swiss Army Knives that is not specifically for children might have a wider market....

Anyway this is what Felix the author of the book is asking…
Do you have an idea.... or is it really impossible to publish a book containing in England or USA? Do you know a publishiner who is interested in a topic like that? In Switzerland, each child have a own pocket knife and there is no crime with pocket knives? (his English is obviously better than my German)...

Ok so I know that this is a bit on the edge of the 'green woodworking' thing but some people on this forum do work with young people, like me. I just wondered what you think? (post had drifted a bit from the original topic and is prob. in the wrong place now!)
Vicky


We live in a nanny culture. Perhaps the UK is worse than the USA. Irrelevant. Unelected bureaucrats decide what is safe and what is not, and they have never used any edged tool beyond fingernail clippers. Grrrr. However, it is not impossible to publish this book in English. Or any other language. You would have to publish it with a specialty publisher, the kind wot publishes survival, homesteading, alternative living and such fringe stuff. I resent the word fringe;sensible seems a lot more appropriate. A trip to Amazon is indicated. The big guys won't touch it. Too controversial. A sad comment but true. Un-politically correct. Grrr squared. Myself I read [i]Backwoods Home[/l] magazine. See http://www.backwoodshome.com/. Great mag. They might be interested in a series of articles based on the book. You know, "Pocketknife Crafts" part I, part II, ... Unfortunately BHM does not do Swiss German.Or even Hoch Deutsch. The articles must be in English. Finally there is self-publishing. Easy these days. Marketing the self-published book is another matter.

My advice to Mr Pocket-knife book, and probably the wrong place: build some web pages. Then you might get a clientele ready for your book.

Myself I learned to use a knife, age 8. I have yet to cut myself with pocketknife. I work, in the summer, with kids from the Russian Village where I live. The very young ones -- often 6 and under -- learn to use the drawknife. Almost impossible to cut yourself with a drawknife. Boys, girls, matters not. At age 9 and up I make them do their own knives out of hacksaw blades. They are entranced. I also insist they sharpen these self-made knives. On the stone, we count strokes. Odin, dva, tri, chetirye , pyat. Then I teach them how to count in say Japanese (I can count to ten in quite a few languages). Ichi, ni, san, shi... and again they are fascinated. Takes the boredom out of sharpening.
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby bulldawg_65 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:31 pm

You could self publish either bound on paper or as an e-book. Just brainstorming here.
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby jrccaim » Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:16 am

bulldawg_65 wrote:You could self publish either bound on paper or as an e-book. Just brainstorming here.


Yes indeed and good brainstorm, bulladawg. Problem is getting people to read the book. An e-book is an internet thing. To get people to read it takes some doing. You can get an idea of this by viewing YouTube at random. Some young lady in a Bikini (or less) will get a million views. Roger Smith, watchmaker extraordinary on the Isle of Man (google on him), gets 5000 views as of this date. I find Mr Smith's watchmaking videos fascinating. But obviously I am a minority. And so are people who want to show you how to use a pocketknife. And so are people who even have a pocketknife! I suspect all this is irrrelevant. I doubt Herr Taschemesserbuch knows, or cares, about Bodger's Board. But if he is reading this, my advice is again to to have an Internet presence. Make some more videos. Slap them up on YouTube, and put in a pointer to the book. Get a web page. Put in pointers to your videos. Put in links to the book. This is just marketing, an activity I hate. But if your object is to get people to read your book then that's what you have to do. Exploit the survivalist/minimalist/homestead market. Small but it exists. You will not be a best-seller but at least you might sell some books, e- or paper.
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby mstibs » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:47 am

Website: http://www.taschenmesserbuch.ch/
Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/Taschenmesserbuch
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Werken-mit-dem-Taschenmesser/256534451082545
Promotional Comic: http://www.taschenmesserbuch.ch/Werken_mit_dem_Taschenmesser/COMIC.html
Promotional Song: http://www.taschenmesserbuch.ch/Werken_mit_dem_Taschenmesser/SONG.html Versions in de-de, de-ch and both as de-xx-karaoke as MP3 downloads ... yeah, there's a difference between German and Switzerland-German which is a heavy slang (Edit: my own slang, Saxon, is heavy as well. :mrgreen: ). On his website are also workshops, work sheets (e.g. with crossword) and diplomas. Quite a nice web marketing he does. But it's all in German. Didn't find any English version of the website.
Best!
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Last edited by mstibs on Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Saxons. Were good wood-turners, they had to be because they were poor potters...from "A Short History of Woodturning with the Pole-lathe" by Brian G. Howarth; My bilingual (de/en) Blog: http://mstibs.wordpress.com
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby Vicky » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:09 pm

Hi, yes I think his website stuff is quite good, I like the comic strip stuff and am going to translate that and use it if I can, he seems to do all the right things,(except for me it's all in German but that's my problem!)
Felix has emailed me a couple of times and is just puzzled why he can't find an english language publisher. I think he needs to keep trying - we just bought a copy of this book which is pretty basic (i.e.. no good projects, nothing new) has the educational justification for the activity and is published in the UK. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fascination-Earth-Whittling-Claire-Warden/dp/1906116121/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1354449883&sr=8-17

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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby jrccaim » Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:32 am

Thank you mstibs (vielen Dank!) for all those links. I will peruse them later but on the whole they look appealing. Awful lot of material there. Glad he has a web presence.

Vicky: If you get stuck with the German pm me. I will try to help, although my German is rusty beyond belief. Big thing with Guides: find projects suitable for the Guide age range; I recall from a distant past ages 11-14. Same thing for Scouts in that age range. Most important thing, to my mind, is that it can be finished in about one hour. In the age range we are talking about that is imperative. Boys or girls matters not. A few things I have found useful are toy swords and knives. Sometimes I feel like a crass armament maker. I live in a traditional Russian backwater village as I have posted before. The boys go for the armament. Surprisingly enough the girls do too! I suppose we have Harry Potter to blame :) but a magic wand would not be out of place. Make them find the feather! However I have found birch twig brooms a good seller with the girls. They use them to sweep their tree-houses :) I find a shaving horse and drawknife indispensable with children. It is anatomically impossible to cut yourself with a drawknife. Unless, of course, you close your fingers about it. Even small children have better sense than that.

Anyway reading this thread makes me think we need a place for young people somewhere, probably in Beginner's Corner. Must think about that.
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Re: Very Basic Polelathe!

Postby gavin » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:26 am

jrccaim wrote: we need a place for young people somewhere, probably in Beginner's Corner. Must think about that.

Great idea!
What shall we call that section for starting-off people?

    easy projects
    My first project
    your first project
    your first 7 projects
    Greenwood projects for dummies
    Dummies Guide to Greenwood ... ?

More ideas please!
- let's not be age-ist. 'Cos people can be sensitive to an idea that projects are age-related - better to be more inclusive.
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