Spring Pole Lathe









I recently stumbled upon a video on the web of a Romanian woman turning drop spindles on a hand bow lathe. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2DX0ExY44g ) The drop spindles (a primitive tool used to spin yarn) were beautiful and the simplicity of the process was too much for me; I had to do it myself. I dont own a lathe and have used one only a handful of times but after a few hours of research I was ready to make one for myself. I decided on a spring pole lathe and drew up some plans. This is an old drawing which shows the concept.


The first obstacle that I came across was the centers. The centers are what holds the work yet allows it to spin freely, Being that I’m a full time traditional woodworker, I don’t have a lot of money; so I boldly decided to just make them out of whatever I had lying around. I found some screws that seemed like the right size and cut the heads around three quarters of the way off. 



Next, I drilled and screwed it in and cut the screw head the rest of the way off. Then I filed it into the desired cone shape.



I have some work left to do, but the lathe is coming along nicely. I have the frame set up and I am waiting for the sapling I cut to dry. Then it’s time to try my hand at turning drop spindles on my new spring pole lathe. Should be a lot of fun.






About Anthony Wilder

I am an artisan woodworker from Grand Rapids, MI. Woodworking is my passion and I do all my work with hand tools. We can learn a lot from past methods and mindsets and I am working towards teaching the lost art of working wood.
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2 Responses to Spring Pole Lathe

  1. waurigemma says:

    Nice lathe. I just built one, myself. If those pikes don’t work, try chucking them into a drill press and using a file set at an angle to grind them down nice and evenly. Good work!

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