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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.

Dave

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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

Dave

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