Treadle lathe rope and other tweaks

I almost didn’t notice the torque of the treadle lathe was, over time, slowly dropping off. Something wasn’t quite right: it was taking more effort to turn stock to diameter and the wood was starting to jam without the tools being all that dull. I checked the rope and found it to be as loose as spaghetti on a fork – click on the photos below to see what I mean (the second photo is the ‘after’ shot):

The re-sewing of the rope made a world of difference! The gouges are happily eating through wood again. I am still considering the upgrade to a leather belt. A few other notable problems that have been shot include:

  • Excessive wobble/vibration – the grinding wheel had been slightly knocked off-centre disrupting the balance of the rotating shaft.
  • Loose treadle hinges – the pin was protruding and needed hammering back in.
  • Minor rope slippage can be remedied by rubbing in a little cello rosin – improves rope/wheel cohesion between complete re-tightenings.
  • The bearings worked a little loose in the wooden uprights, but I just tightened them by hammering small wooden shims around them.

Any part of the lathe can be easily fixed and I feel that little tweaks here and there will make it run smoothly for a long, long time.

[***See the completed treadle lathe in this video, and read the entire build series through this link***]

3 thoughts on “Treadle lathe rope and other tweaks

  1. It’s been a while since you completed your lathe. I just discovered your work while surfing YouTube this morning. As you know, I stopped working on my own lathe some time ago. Other interests took me down another path.

    Yet, I WILL get back to it. Just read all of your lathe build articles and found many helpful tips (adapters, chucks, etc.) THANKS for all the details!

    Finally, a question: Does your headstock include a thrust bearing, or did you just make it with simple bearings and stop collars?

    All the best, Happy turning.

    • Hi Bob. I’m glad you enjoyed the articles!

      I did not use thrust bearings (I’m still not too sure what they are…) so only regular bearings and stop collars were used. Given that there is a grinding wheel on one end I think this is a good set-up, but I do need to adjust and tighten the collars every now again. I also need to be careful when tapping the blank onto the drive centre because it may loosen the hardware over time. I get around this by drilling a hole in the blank and chiselling notches where the drive teeth go. I don’t mind the extra steps if it means the machine will run longer without repair.

      Thanks again for your work too – your blog was where my lathe build began.

  2. OK. Thanks for the quick answer. I haven’t yet decided on headstock hardware, and your experience adds fuel to the decision process. (which is still simmering on a back burner)

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