There are differences in the way lathes are driven, their potential speed and power, and the way the wood fits in them, but the principles of successful turning remain the same with any lathe.
The spring-pole lathe works with reciprocating circular motion — the foot treadle makes the cutting stroke and the spring pole handles the return. Between the pole and the treadle, the drive cord wraps around the work, passing on the side facing the turner. In a handy bit of mechanical serendipity, the spring-pole lathe matches its drive torque to the size of the work piece. The larger the piece
that you're turning, the larger the diameter where the cord wraps around. This "bigger pulley" costs speed, but it gives you more leverage. On smaller diameter pieces, when you want speed and need less torque, the cord wraps around a "smaller pulley," and the work flies. If the circumference of the work piece is six inches around, then every foot of treadle travel on the cord end gives you two full revolutions. If the circumference is half that, you get four revolutions and twice the speed.
A spring-pole lathe works fast, but not as fast as a wheel-driven lathe. It does, however, have slow speed torque that flywheel lathes can't match without a mess of reduction pulleys. The treadle also gives you great control. You can kick it out for more speed and less power—or set your foot closer to the drive cord end for more torque.
Of course the wood has to go backward as well. You cut on the down stroke with a reciprocating lathe and let the spring do the return. I suppose you need to make some movement to clear the tool on the return stroke, but it's not anything that you think about. It's a tiny movement—if any—that becomes natural after your first five minutes.
The pole of a spring-pole lathe can be just that, but use a dry, springy pole and not a green, limp one. A bow with a roller strung on a doubled bow string makes a more compact drive. The drive cord wraps around the roller, so that as the down stroke of the treadle pulls it, it turns the roller and twists the doubled bowstring like a Spanish windlass, bending the limbs of the bow. I have taken to using a lever-action lathe with two poles mounted underneath the bed. It is compact and portable. I love it, and you can learn how to make one by reading Plan E in the Appendix.
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There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.