Treadle lathes are cool. And mysterious. Occasionally making an appearance on the Woodwright’s Shop where my appetite was whetted, there are no books dealing exclusively with building one. No pick-and-mix componentry like Chris Schwarz offers for workbenches. The internet doesn’t have much on the subject, but what does exist is of good quality…
Bob Easton’s blog was where I began. It is informative on its own, but he also includes links to other sites of great value. Treadle lathes with flywheels seem to be pretty similar, but each contributor adds their own flavour, and their own details that I feel need to be considered. For exampe, the ‘Lathe from a Loft’ article by Roy Underhill suggests attaching the treadle arm directly to the flywheel rather than using a bent axle shaft – handy if, like me, you have no equipment for basic blacksmithing (though St. Roy does suggest you can support your local blacksmith if you go that route). Steve Schmeck (along with Mike Adams) suggests using a 5/8 steel rod so you can attach a Shopsmith drive center.
There are a few things I still need to get my head around:
1) How to attach a pulley to the drive shaft. Underhill suggests gluing stop collars into the sides of the pulley, but I have never glued metal to wood.
2) How to fix a live- or dead-center into the tail stock. These components have a ‘Morse taper’ which means they have a shaft that gets narrower towards the end. The hole in the tailstock needs to not only to match this shape, but have an axis in-line with the drive shaft. Might be tricky and I’m not too sure what sorts of errors can be tolerated on a device like this.
3) Lastly, I know it may be ambitious, but I think I might try to incorporate a grinding wheel onto the drive shaft on the opposite side of the pulley from the drive-center. I am thinking about threading the steel rod for a couple of inches at the end and tightening the wheel between two nuts. I would need to acquire a 5/8 die and stock for this.