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How to Make a Spring Pole Lathe for Bowl Turning, Part 2

Appreciation for skills and the interpretation of the elements of design expression, inspires understanding and the desire to acquire these essentials of good craftsmanship. Let us seek opportunities to share and to exchange skills with others, especially craftsmen of other races and countries.

Lester Griswold, Handicraft, 1931

I leveled the bed of the lathe as well as I could with an axe, then flipped it over and started to drill the holes for the legs. The largest twist bit that I own is only 1 1/4 inches, so I dug out an 1 1/2 hole hog bit from my days in construction. It fit the brace nicely and the jaws held on to it, it was a bit of work to bore these holes, the bit didn't want to clear the chips that well and my shoulder joints were screaming at the end of each hole. The bit worked and made a nice clean hole. I drilled the holes about 4 inches+- deep, I drilled until the bit was buried in the log and the brace's nose was hitting the bark.


The legs I split out of the rest of the tree and roughly shaped with an axe. I have no idea what length I cut them to I was doing everything by eye. One of the rules in making this lathe is not to measure anything, except maybe with my out stretched arms, or my fingers or my hand. In this photo you can see that I am rounded the tenon with my little double bit cruising axe. You make the tenon square, cut off those corners to make an octagon and then continue cutting the facets until it is round.


Four holes drilled, here again, I used my eye to adjust the angle of splay using the bit and brace for the visual reference. I drove the first leg home with a sledge hammer, then used that as a reference for the next leg hole and so on for the others. You hammer the legs with the sledge until the leg stops ringing, that means you've driven it as far as you can. You'll be surprised at how sturdy these legs are.


Four legs made, tenons cut and driven home. If this lathe doesn't work out, I'll cut the legs down to have nice bench.

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