Ingenious foot-powered lathe
Have you ever thought about building your own treadle-powered lathe using an assortment of castoff machine parts, only some of which come from a lathe? Or about using knockdown joinery to construct an extremely sturdy, integral base for it?
But a video blogger with the YouTube handle Chop With Chris did think about it, and – as his video makes clear – he thought very carefully. Click play and you’ll see a fast-motion document of his work – an inspiring mix of machine engineering, woodworking skill and old-world technology. The only power tool in use was the camera.
The clip is long on show and short on tell, and that’s just fine. The photography is smart and detailed enough to carry the message. Enjoy!
The drive mechanism for this foot powered lathe uses old sewing machine parts and a flywheel from a corn auger.
Man that was pretty impressive :)
Amazing, that´s an awesome project
What a brilliant video. Woodturning and exercise combined, so much better than going to the gym !!!!
and the proud poppa takes a well deserved bow.....
beautiful.......both the subject & the presentation !
Wow!!!! A true CRAFTSMAN for sure. Congratulations!!!!!
its funny , i have been slowly getting inspired to go powerless but thought that some power tools were irreplacable but now i see that even the lathe can be converted. its brilliant! now i have to see if i can find all those parts:) a truly inspired video!
I'm impressed. Wonderful from start to finish.
Video jammed after about a minute. Couldn't get it to play. dan
A wise old mechanic said "if it worked before it can work again". How true it is for vintage tools and machinery; also for the parts and pieces. I enjoyed and am inspired by the creative reuse of the old stuff.
Amazing! Kudo's to you...
Not only a brilliant design and an amazing bit of woodworking but a stunningly well done video!
Brilliant! Creative engineering, craftsmanship, and presentation at its best. How much coffee does one have to drink to work that fast?
Impressive, reminds me of Green Woodworking (Mike Abbott), however this lathe is more elaborate than a pole lathe (which I love to use).
Love this! Well done!
Awesome and Inspiring!
The very best part was the bow at the end!
About 30 years ago, my son built his own foot powered lathe, and the flywheel used to even out power strokes was made of concrete, and believe the bearings were made from either iron wood or lignum vitae. He turned some fantastic stuff on his "machine"......
Quel talent ! Une réalisation digne de mention. Bravo monsieur Chris !
BTW, my son's lathe had nothing of steel or iron that could be made of wood
Outstanding job and great presentation. Thanks for sharing..
WoW! This guy should have his own TV show.
You are one of the most talented individual woodworker I’ve ever seen. Thank you for sharing with us.
All I could do was laugh, cry, and give you a thumbs up at the end of the video.
I know treadle lathes have a long history. And I know that, conceptually, there really isn't all that much to a wood lathe, especially if you aren't looking for machinist-like precision. But it's nice to see the two put together -- and he clearly put some good thought into the forces on the machine and bracing it properly. Well done.
Won't keep me from entering the "win a turning kit" contest, though...
:-) and again, :-)
50 years ago I saw a 10 year old boy in Morocco turn chair legs between 2 nails as centres. He had a bow (as in bow and arrow) in his left hand with the cord of the bow wrapped around the leg, a turning tool resting on a wooden bar and his foot pressing down and guiding the tool. as he pushed the bow back and forth the chair leg rotated against the tool then backwards while his right hand withdrew the tool and advanced it for the next rotation. He was very quick and amazingly skilled. Child labour laws hopefully have changed this but the skill and technique was worthy of a Krenov commendation !
This brought back a great memory. When I was a kid I worked at a place that actually had something similar to this. I was walking by it one day and the operator (who obviously had to many beers before work that day) said he had to go to the men's room and asked me how you shut it off.
how does the metal rail guide locks into the table? the video does not show a rabbeted shoulder it drops into or any visible support.
great video. I rarely post a comment this was refreshing to watch
100% terrific craftsmanship. Thank you for sharing your talent and ingenuity.
Let's see a B&W version.
It is a ripper. There are a few plans floating around on how to build a treadle lathe or even pole lathes on the web. The one I actually like the best uses a bicycle freewheel gear and chain as there you can safely stop pedaling which I think from memory is actually on a Fine Woodworking article somewhere.
Thanks for the presentation!
great project, I thought of making something like it out of an old treadle sewing machine. you can pick them up for a song and re purpose it.
This was one of the best woodworking videos I have seen. The workmanship of the lathe was awesome, the handle he turned at the end was inspirational, and the video was very professionally produced. Awesome!
Wow really impressed he got such a big piece of wood spinning with just foot power.
superb in all aspects. thanks
Totally bad ass! Thanks Chris!
the only problem is, without the metal parts from the old lathe and the bearings, tool post steel, welding, metal turnings etc, its just basic carpentry, how about a video on building the nuts and bolts of the project, it seems to me that those are the important parts
Wonderfully entertaining and practical. Great job, I enjoyed it and love the first finished "fire wood" project!
wow, that might be the greatest woodworking video ever
Awesome, worth every second. That was great.
unbelievably cool video, thanks!
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