Giant Wood Lathe(making one)

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by cabe, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. cabe

    cabe Well-Known Member

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    I am an amtr. woodworker, I enjoy using my lathe. Most of the time I gather my wood and quarter the clear wood, turn rough blanks, allow to cure then round out. This gets me much wood free, and I know you all have seen the price of wood. I want to make a big wood lathe for turning columns, and large round wood.You can cure this kind of wood if you are patient, and you must be willing to cut a foot or two from each end.It takes years of dry shade curing , and never letting get wet, but you can get wood free of big checks. I have large bearings, lots of steel, and I am thinking of the lathe bed being from wood, like 8x8 set in concrete. I have an old fire hose (ample)for a drive belt, and I know it will never be for high speeds, but if I could true up logs and round wood, and sand I could really make some unusual projects.I have an old Toyota truck that just seems to never give up, and this might be my power plant. An emegency diconnect would be needed, and some big gouges, but I think steel tubing in half mounted in hickory handles would be good for roughing gouges. Any Ideas and tips would be great.Marty.
     
  2. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    Old metal working lathes can be had fairly cheap. I see them setting out in the weather from time to time. There's not much demand for the big ones especially those with really long beds. It shouldn't be hard to change the gearing to get higher speeds. Might have to juice up the lube system.

    As for driving it, the really old ones ran off overhead belts. I've seen some innovative adaptations. With one of those, you could probably run it with a flat belt off a tractor. I've got one that dates back to the late 1800s, but it doesn't have the bed length you need.
     

  3. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am thinking your going to over horse power it, '

    a few hp motor would do you if you just going to use hand tools,

    the big stuff will need to run very slow and you thus have more torque than you know what to do with,

    if belt slippage is a concern then make the final drive a chain drive, and then on the jack shaft and motor use a group of pulleys or a step pulley, one on jack shaft and one on the motor for some speed adjustment, if you let the motor hang on a hing you will probably have plenty of belt tension,

    and by using electric you will have a easy on and off,

    and depending how you build it you may be able to use the out board end of the head stock for extra large face plate turning,

    I have two large pieces of channel iron and plans for a similar machine,

    you may want to build a I beam hoist over head to help handle the weight of green timber,

    but one can glue up a number of pieces that are hollow and turn columns that way, and they are much more weight manageable and if strength is the problem one can insert a pipe or steel tube for the strength, but even the hollow wood column is amazingly strong.

    there is also a product I think is called PEG, (polyethylene glycol) and if you soak the wood in it it will fill the cells and keep them from collapsing and shrinking you turn it close like you said and then soak and then let it dry, and finish turning,
    http://www.woodworkersjournal.com/ezine/archive/99/qanda.cfm#5
    http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/product_details.cfm?offerings_id=686&filter=peg
     
  4. mohillbilly

    mohillbilly Well-Known Member

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    cabe, 3 questions.

    1. do you have a welder and can you weld ( or a buddy)?
    2. What kind of bearings do have?
    3. Do you want to stay alive running this contraption?

    Answer these and i will help you out!
     
  5. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

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    Turn slow!!!!! Remember a large object at a few hundred rpm can still be doing 60 or more MPH! I have some plans around for various home made lathes if you want I can scan them sometime and send them to you! try rec.crafts.woodturning for some more help or your local AAW club. Long handles will be needed and depending on size of the wood you will need very sturdy shafts and mounts! Just imagine 200 pounds of wood flying free thru your garage! Fine woodworking as a couple of books with plans -- not at home so not sure if this has them or not
    http://www.taunton.com/store/pages/070165.asp
    jood luck Greg
     
  6. cabe

    cabe Well-Known Member

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    We got some great tallent out there, and I appreciate the knowledge represented here. I had a sorm brain the other day, and let me run this one by you all. I have property that fronts over 2000 feet of creek. This creek is about 10 ft. wide, and cuple of feet deep. Why not a water wheel (great wheel concept for turning)for power.. this would mean no electric or gas.I want to use all wood for gears and cogs, I have apple wood, and hickory, and Iron wood. I also want to build a log cabin shop near the creek, and this is where it all can begin, sooo let me rephase that question, and thanks for the patience.In answer to the 3 questions yes , bearings for a steel end finnisher that will accept a 2.0 inch shaft, and yes.I actually have quite a bit of industrial safety training, and I am the production mananger for a steel tubing cut dpt. I know safety, and I guess my question was a bit vague.Now my new question , how to convert enough power from a water wheel to a large wood lathe?Thanks again.Marty
     
  7. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    this is a simple answer some gearing for the Proper speed and a clutch system and either belts, drive line or chain drive,
    or a combination of them.

    with out some details that is an impossible question to answer,

    how fast is the water wheel turning?

    how fast do you want the final drives turing are you going to use a line shaft, belts or what, what do you want to use?

    what do you have access to?

    to drive many tools or just the lath,

    some of the first lathes were foot and tree limb powered, a rope twisted around the piece turned and you stepped on the treadle and the limb was the return spring and you stepped on it the piece being turned, turned forward and when you let up it turned back wards, very simple,

    look up old pictures of shops back at the turn of the century 1900, most old shops were line driven, and there was a power shaft, "LINE", and that drove all the machines in the shop from one power source, all driven by wide flat belts, if it had to turn backward the belt had a twist in it, and they had belt tighteners for clutches and systems to run the belts off the pulleys for a complete stop,
     
  8. cabe

    cabe Well-Known Member

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    All I know now is the wheel will be about 8ft. in diam. and the speed I will have to figure out. I want to mount it on a 2 inch steel shaft between two bearings , and be able to disconnest the gears with a lever. I bet when I get all this going I will be able to power several things maybe not at once but engaging each seperate. I want gearing for more power , but not too complicated, not direct drive thugh. Ill just have to get in the middle of all this , and the better questions will come. I an glad I decided to go this way, a shop on the creek is going to be fun, and much work. I will prob. have it a couple of feet up using large Locust pilings to let any flood water under. I will get more specific as I go , Thanks again this all led to a better Idea. Marty.
     
  9. Bob NH

    Bob NH New Member

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    I just came on this while looking for info on a large lathe, and have some thoughts on the water wheel question by Cabe.

    To power a water wheel you need flow and head (elevation). That is why almost all water wheels are at dams. If there is a lot of fall in the stream, you can sometimes run a pipe from upstream down to where you would have the turbine or wheel.

    One horsepower is 33,000 ft-pounds per minute. So to get one horsepower you would need 400 gallons (3300 pounds) per minute of water at a height of 10 feet, if you could achieve 100 percent efficiency.

    So the first thing you might want to do is transplant some beavers (the ones with fur and flat tails) to build your dam.
     
  10. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    Hey, anyone remember that guy on PBS, that used all hand tools and a foot pedal lathe to turn wood?

    he just used like a bow and string, hooked to a pedal, and it worked rather good.


    WHAT IS THE NAME OF THAT SHOW?
     
  11. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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  12. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Not that I have much to add - but there was also a show (perhaps "This old House" or "New Yankee") which showed a gentleman who made long and large wooden porch columns. From what I could see, it was an older converted metal lathe - and his columns were all glue-laminated beams, which they did show the assembly of. It was amazing how quickly he could turn the "blank" into a finished column.

    As someone has already mentioned, there are lots of old long-bed metal lathes which can be had very cheaply. If your goal is to build a lathe, the home-built would certainly be a great project. If you goal is to build wooden columns, a converted metal lathe would be the ticket.

    cheers,
     
  13. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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