Rev Jim's Chip Carved Treadle Lathe

  • Advertise with us
Project by Rev. Jim Paulson posted 12-10-2009 01:29 AM 14826 views 12 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Back in 2002 I decided to make a treadle lathe. By then I had acquired all of Roy Underhill’s books and had studied them pretty well. I had been a fan of his PBS program, the Woodwright’s shop, since it came on the air. I had always admired his commitment to use hand tools and his use of a homemade treadle lathe. I used common lumber to make it such as 2×6’s and 2×4’s. When I finally decided to do this, I had already learned how to do chip carving through a class by Wayne Barton.

Here is my rendition of the treadle lathe featured on the Woodwright’s Shop and in Roy’s books. For me it was an accomplishment to make all the parts work as well as to achieve something that was beautiful to look at. I especially am referring to the problems that come with getting holes to be all aligned and compensating when wood moved here and there. My lathe features thrust ball bearings and even an idler. Instead of a rope pulley, I found a leather shop to make me a leather belt. By the time the carving was done, stained and the polyurethane dry it looked like more than a piece of woodworking equipment for me. Hence, my son’s comment to me when he first saw it,”Dad you made a machine into a work of art”.

Hope you enjoy these pics.




22 comments so far

View Tony Ennis's profile

Tony Ennis

139 posts in 4211 days

#1 posted 12-10-2009 01:55 AM

That’s very nice. Show us something you turned on it!

-- Tony

View Attila 's profile


41 posts in 4358 days

#2 posted 12-10-2009 01:57 AM

I am speachless…. It’s amazing! Thanks for posting it.

-- [email protected]

View oicurn2it2's profile


146 posts in 4913 days

#3 posted 12-10-2009 01:57 AM

WOW ,allways wanted to build one , mabey some month

-- "when you think youre going to slow, slow down just a little bit more" .... Pop's

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5236 days

#4 posted 12-10-2009 02:07 AM

just amazing!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View toyguy's profile


1758 posts in 4912 days

#5 posted 12-10-2009 02:14 AM

That is really cool….. I can appreciate the time and work that has gone into this machine…......

” A Tip of the Hat ” to you sir.

For myself, I don’t think I want to trade the General in yet !!!!!

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View Rev. Jim Paulson's profile

Rev. Jim Paulson

120 posts in 4351 days

#6 posted 12-10-2009 02:52 AM

Brian and Tony, I do a fair amount of turning like you all. Tony, your chess set is pretty cool too. My thing is making Windsor chair legs and when I need to crank them out I use electricity—oh well shame on me. But seriously, when I’m doing demonstrations or goofing around I use a foot powered lathe. One of my eccentricities, I guess.


View hunter71's profile


3553 posts in 4262 days

#7 posted 12-10-2009 03:19 AM

Cool, mine are 110 volt models.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20775 posts in 4751 days

#8 posted 12-10-2009 04:48 AM

Your son is right and Roy would be proud of you!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5293 days

#9 posted 12-10-2009 05:20 AM

That’s really amazing.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Tony Ennis's profile

Tony Ennis

139 posts in 4211 days

#10 posted 12-10-2009 05:25 AM

If I had a treadle lathe I would use it. I like the relative quiet. I don’t use my router anymore because I got tired of the roar.

I did not make the chess sets – I made the board. ;-)

If I had a wood lathe, I’d consider it. I’d like to carve the knights.

-- Tony

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26186 posts in 4180 days

#11 posted 12-10-2009 05:42 AM

That is really neat! I’ll bet it feels good to use a machine that you have built.
My old boss said that You appreciate it more if you make it yourself. He was referring to doing government work in the toolroom and yes we did appreciate it morre!!!!!!!!!!!!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 4266 days

#12 posted 12-10-2009 07:19 AM

Very much a work of art. I need something that you can plug into an outlet thou…

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4652 days

#13 posted 12-10-2009 07:26 AM

Wonderful lathe fantastic job.


View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4539 days

#14 posted 12-10-2009 08:44 AM

I’m IMPRESSED, WOW!!! It’s also infinitely variable speed!! Good work, BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

#15 posted 12-10-2009 09:49 AM

this is not a wood working machine it is a thing of beauty cant wait to see what other tools you have built

-- i wonder if obama stood in a wind storm with them big ears of his would he start spinning like a drill bit

showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics