Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Underhill Pole Lathe Complete!

Well, Eden and I finished the pole lathe. I am pretty excited to be able to begin turning. I have to date about 45 minutes experience now. I am definitely a beginner but it is possible to turn out a half way decent spindle with less than an hour experience. We built the 17th century German design rediscovered by Roy Underhill. I have tweaked and fiddled for quite a while trying to get maximum performance out of it. Having no prior experience at a lathe before, I confess that I am not totally sure what I can expect to get out of it. It works well... it's more efficient than I thought it would be.

Below is a video I haphazardly shot yesterday. I show the design features and then demonstrate (ie. learn) turning a spindle. If you have done turning before this video is not for you! (Honestly, the video was put together as a request from my out-of-state family who wanted to see it.) Any tips, advice, critiques are appreciated! After all, I don't really even know what I am doing here!

Now I have a birthday gift that requires turning due in a few weeks so I better get practicing!


  1. Great job on the lathe Joshua! I can't wait to get mine done and try my hand at turning. I'll be THRILLED if my first effort comes out anywhere near good as yours.

  2. Thanks, Jamie! I'm watching your blog, bro. Can't wait to see your work. We'll have to share tips as we learn at the same time.

  3. Hi! Do you have plans for this lathe? even rough ones? Or did you make it by eyeballing the picture? What size wood did you use?

  4. I made it from the plans in Underhill's Working Wood with Wedge and Edge. There is a chapter in there all about it. It's all 2x lumber. Thanks for your interest!