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Williamsburg Treadle Lathe from the Gunsmith Shop

Compact Treadle LatheOn a recent trip to Colonial Williamsburg, I snapped a few photos of this treadle lathe.  Having been to the Anthony Hay shop several times as well as the Joiner’s shop I was surprised to see this lathe.  Usually the Hay shop has a great wheel powered lathe and the Joiners have a massive treadle.

It turns out this model was on loan from the Gunsmith’s shop.  I recognize the eventuality that I will be making a treadle soon.  Maybe it is the hand cranked grinding wheel or possibly my ever increasing collection of hand saws, but it seems only a matter of time until my Jet mini lathe gets replaced by a meat powered version. As an aside, notice the treadle powered grinding wheel in the background.  Maybe that will be my next acquisition??  I really need to seek professional help.

Up until now the issue holding me back is space.  My shop ceiling is just too low for a spring pole lathe.  I would be bumping my head on it all the time.  A treadle lathe suits me better and I have experience working with one at my volunteer job at the Steppingstone Museum.  However, this is like bringing another stationary power tool into the shop.  It has a footprint that demands space.  I foresee a major shop reorganization soon and plan to allow for some space for a turning corner.  This lathe from the Gunsmith shop seems like a great option.  I like the variable speed option of the geared headstock.  I always thought variable speed on a treadle lathe meant, pedal harder, but it looks like this model has added in some more oomph to help things along.

At any rate, I have many things to do between now and when I start building my own treadle, but in the meantime you can expect to see some further musings from me about which design and how I intend to integrate it into my humble little shop.

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