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I built this pole lathe back in the summer of ’13, but never posted any pictures. I figure that now is a good time do a blog about it after posting about the class I just took at North House on turning bowls on the pole lathe.

This was built out of old lumber that was laying around from a dock that had been taken down a few years earlier. The wood was sound, but not pretty, however it was free and the cost of the lathe was only around $5-6 dollars since I had to buy the bolts.

I am going to start out with a picture of the lathe in use and then will show you the construction details. Here I am turning a piece of ash into a chisel mallet.


I am not going to go into a lot of detail as the pictures are fairly self explanatory. The basic frame consists of two 4×4 posts and 2×6 rails as bed ways. There is a 2×6 board on the bottom of the post forming a base or foot, and then there are two 2×6 cross braces per post for stability.





The poppet was aligned and hit onto the headstock center to mark the location to drill the hole for the poppet’s center.


The mortise was drilled and then chiseled out for the poppet wedge. For some reason I did not take any photos of the rest of the poppet build.


Here is how the lathe turned out complete with traditional spring pole and cross braces staked into the ground.




One of the first projects I turned after making the lathe was a simple ash mallet for use with carving chisels.



So there you have it. A simple but very functional lathe that can be built for next to nothing if you can salvage the lumber you need. I am thinking of making an extra poppet for bowl turning with the bent center. However I might try turning a bowl with the current configuration and see how it works first.