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Tony Stevens - York woodturning group

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Our Demonstations > 2014 Demos

March 2014
Pole Lathe
Demonsration by Tony Stevens

An absolutely fasinating and informative demonstartion by pole lathe turner and historian Tony Stevens.

Tony gave a very interesting insight into the history of pole lathes, and the progression from the oldest form of woodturning to present day machines.
Pole lathes were commonly used for spindle turning, but Tony has researched the methods used for producing bowls on a pole lathe, and has found that this method dates back to around 750BC. Evidence has been found in Scotland that the techniques demonstated have been in Britain since at least the Iron Age if not before.
The tooling used for turning bowls on the pole lathe are completely different from modern day bowl gouges. The rustic looking, almost viscious looking implements are hook like, and have a bevel to either the inside or the outside of the hook. The tools are often presented to the wood in unusual ways and angles when compared to modern lathe tools.
With each push on the foot paddle the workpiece rotates two and a half revolutions, so if one peddles quickly enoungh a speed of about 150 revs per minute can be achived, but as Tony proved it can leave the turner a little out of breath and a bit hot and sweaty.
The Pole lathe used has been made by Tony as part of a round house project based at North Duffield near York. He told the story of how the local school children had been involved in the project and helped in the construction of the round house, with some amusing anecdotes. The demonstartion was thoroughly entertaining with many amusing coments from Tony.
Tony has offered to bring the pole lathe back to the meeting in August when members can have a go themselves.
If you would like to comment on this demo, please click this link Comments

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