Hand Tools Archive

Re: related question
Response To:
related question ()

William Duffield
Ergonomically, the pole lathe is different, since you have to be able to stabilize the tool on the tool rest while operating the treadle with your foot. In addition to keeping your upper body stable, you are using more energy with your leg. Using shorter, interrupted cuts also helps to stabilize the upper body. You don't keep the bevel rubbing. Instead, you typically plunge the tool while pushing down on the treadle, and back off in preparation for your next cut while the pole is returning the object. Note that I have tried using a pole lathe, but am not proficient. Trust what Warren teaches you, not what I say.

If your centers are too high, you have to lower the tool rest; if the centers are too low, you have to raise the tool rest. In the former case, your tool is cutting more towards the front of the work. In the latter, more towards the top. I usually adjust the tool rest so with a long tool handle, the handle is resting on top of my hip bone; with a shorter handle, my ulna or wrist is resting on the ho=ip bone.

There are operations you can do on a pole lathe that you can't do on a treadle lathe or powered lathe, taking advantage of the partial rotation and interrupted cut of the pole lathe. Good examples are turning a mug with a handle, a pitcher, or a bowl with two handles. I found these on Reddit, but my Ah! Moment was watching Jarrod Stone-Dahl demonstrate the process.

For the pole, choose a hickory sapling.

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