Treadle lathe update: Making wood dizzy (now with pics)

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Where I last left off,, I had made a treadle and attached it to the crank wheel I was using to drive the shaft. Now, I have mounted the spindle and turned a wooden pulley, rounding it out in place on the spindle. I also knocked out a tool rest and a tail stock. Just last night, I placed a piece of wood in it and made it go around some. It is slow going because I really don't know what I am doing yet and now it seems I am working out all the failure modes.

  1. The cotton rope I am using as a belt needs to be tightened quite a bit and shreds quite frequently. I ordered a leather treadle sewing machine belt off of ebay and hopefully this will last a bit better.
  2. The treadle I originally made was from some stinky red oak off of a palette I found at work. I resawed the wood which was probably a mistake because it immediately twisted and ended up thinner than I wanted it once I removed the twist. I broke it twice (not on glue joints BTW) before I decided to replace it with some thicker stuff made from SYP. I figured the SYP might handle some of the twisting forces that go on the treadle better. I added a strip of 1/4" plywood to use as a step and also give it some rigidity. It seems to be doing better, no breaks yet.
  3. I had changed to the design to mount the flywheel between two braces rather than cantilevered because the flywheel seemed heavy and I was worried it would bend the drive shaft it was mounted on. This required a more complicated drive mechanism where I attached the treadle to a crank arm which is attached to the drive shaft. Originally I made a plywood disk and screwed it to a taper lock bushing attached to the shaft. I attached the tie rod from the treadle to the disk with a cleavis pin. The plywood fibers must have compressed too easily because the hole in the disk got rounded out pretty bad by all the forces from the pin. I replaced it with a piece of oak and it seems to be holding up better, but I wonder if I will eventually have to replace it with a steel bar. I can now see why Roy went with the cantilevered flywheel. Just this morning the piece of oak detached itself from the bushing. Not sure what that is about yet because I gave up and went to work.
I'm starting to get the rhythm down to keep the wheel turning and it definitely makes me sweat. I still have quite a bit to figure out about turning and sharpening turning tools. I also need to build a shaving horse so I can get the blank somewhat round before it gets on the lathe.


Here is the treadle, tie rod and not sure what I should call the oak board (cam?). This is where 75% of the problems lie. The thread has been working well since I rebuilt it. The biggest problem is connecting the tie rod to the oak board. The pull from the tie rod seems to cause the connecting pin/bolt to rotate, heat up and round out the hole. Eventually something gives. I last had a 1/4" cleavis pin connecting it. It started to bend, then broke in half.


View image in gallery

This is how the treadle is connected to the tie rod. I finally on this and it has worked well. All the washers are because I was stuck buying a longer bolt than I wanted at the BORG.

This is how the oak plate connects to the shaft. That is a taper lock bearing. I got a good deal on 3 of them off of ebay. I had connected it to the plate with 3 #8 screws. Well, I ended up sheering them off. I have replaced them with 1/4" lag screws. You can now see the leather sewing machine belt (this works great). I was a moron and didn't cut it to fit over the idler pulley, but it wasn't even necessary.

And finally a shot of the headstock, tool rest and tailstock. The pillow blocks were bigger than I expected, so I had to add some extensions to mount them. If I had to do it over again, I would re-turn the spindle pulley, but it works to well now.

I have to solve the problem with the tie rod connection to make this usable. It was really humming along when it broke. I think stabilizing the bolt connected to the plate with a nut, lock washer, and washer on each side of the plate, similar to how the treadle is connected would help greatly. The tie rod would connect to the non threaded portion of the bolt. I will probably have to move the treadle over a bit to accommodate it, but that is not necessary a bad thing. I just have to keep the bolt short or to much lever from the tie rod will probably cause it to break.
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Corporate Member
Re: Treadle lathe update: Making wood dizzy

Thanks for the update,just need photos to follow along.
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