Wood Turning - Aerobic Exercise at its Most Productive
Lathes have been around since at least the days of the early Egyptians and pictures of wood turning have been found on the walls of pyramids. Long before the days of electric motors or even water wheels these lathes had to be powered by limb and muscle.
The first lathes were a "cut and pause" situation. Wood was mounted between two points called centers and was rotated by use of a string wrapped one or more times around the wood. A helper would pull one end of the string and it would move the wood toward the wood turner. As it came forward he would make his cut but the helper would then come literally to the end of his rope and need to pull it back. While the wood reversed the turner would pause in his cutting.
Variations in the theme of wood pulling arose as at first a bow was used to hold the ends of the rope. This kept it under constant tension and made life a little easier for the helper who moved the bow back and forth in some what the same way as he might a saw. Some wood turners became so versatile as to manage the bow with one hand and hold the tool to cut with the other. In some areas of India and elsewhere this method of turning is still used.
The English chair bodgers who made spindles for chair making would purchase the right to cut the wood on a certain area of land and set up shop there until the purchased trees were gone. To power their lathes they employed a similar system with the rope around the wood but in this case one end was attached to a whippy sapling and the other to a stick at this feet. As he pushed down on the stick the rope turned the wood towards him and he cut. After the stick hit the ground he released the pressure and the sapling pulled the rope back up and the wood reversed while the turner rested. Pole lathes like this were brought into the shop by fastening a sapling to the wall or ceiling. There was a lot of exercise in turning by this method.
Also about this time that the great wheel came into use in England and Europe. Simply put, this was a large fly wheel turned usually by an apprentice. It powered a belt that in turn powered the lathe. This was a great innovation as the wood always turned in the same direction and cutting could proceed without interruption except for sharpening the tools. The apprentice received his training and a good bit of exercise.
No one is sure who invented the treadle lathe or for that matter the treadle drive but sketches have been found of such a lathe in the works of Leonardo DaVinci and have been used to make a replica which works quite well. Certainly treadle lathes were used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The crankshaft enabled a fly wheel to be driven by one's foot in much the same manner as the old bow lathe, however like the great wheel lathes the wood turned always in the same direction and more work could be accomplished. On the other hand, an apprentice to move the treadle would have been in the turner's way so it was now the master who received the aerobic benefit of turning wood.
The electric motor has removed the aerobic benefit of treadle turning but a renewed interest in the history of wood turning and of craft in general has begun to bring this back in a small measure. Some turners are now making their own treadle lathes in the manner of their fore fathers in the craft. One can see them not only at the historic villages but also at country fairs and craft shows. It does tend to get the old heart pumping to see the shavings fly in the old manner, not to mention the aerobic activity and heart pumping action of a steady treadle making the wood go round.
Related Tags: exercise, art, technique, craft, woodturning, lathe, wood turnng, treadle lathe, green wood turning
Darrell Feltmate is a juried wood turner whose web site, http://aroundthewoods.com , contains detailed information about wood turning for the novice or experienced turner as well as a collection of turnings for your viewing pleasure. You too can learn to turn wood, here is the place to start. Wondering what it looks like? Follow the page links for a free video. http://aroundthewoods.com You can easily ask your questions about wood turning at his blog at http://roundopinions.blogspot.com as well as comment on any thing related to the web site, this article or other aspects of wood turning, art and craft.Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
Recent articles in this category:
- Home Wall Art: Get Value For Your Money
If you have a beautiful home, it is only natural that you may want to decorate it so as to make it m
- Bejeweled by Mens Ring Tiffany
Tiffany & Co. is one of the largest jewelry companies in the USA that has expanded the market in mos
- Inexpensive Ideas in Making Wedding Centerpieces
One practical way to cut down the wedding expenses is to consider do-it-yourself ideas. There are se
- Preserve Moments With Picture Frames
Of course we don't want our memories to suffer the brink of oblivion that is why we always try hard
- For Home Decor, Try Wall Art Prints
In order to make a smaller room look and feel bigger, many home interior decorators will use large w
- How to Choose the Right Gift For Your Bridal Party
Your wedding day will likely be shared with friends and family members who mean the world to you. A
- Beautiful Baby Shower Napkins
There are many thoughtful and creative things that you can make for your soon-to-be bride friend. Sh
- Learn How To Decorate Your Living Space With Abstract Wall Art
Abstract wall art can offer you different ways to decorate or redecorate and express yourself. A lot
- Adding Class to Your Home With Wall Art Painting
Since mankind's dawn the wall art painting has been a desired form of decorations. Early cave dwelli
- Use Fine Art Oil Painting To Decorate Your Living Space
There are many good things towards buying fine art oil paintings for your home. For example: If one
Most viewed articles in this category:
- Homemade Baby Gifts and Instructions Ideas
A baby shower is a wonderful event that is filled with joy and happiness. Getting a perfect and un
- Enter Photo Competitions
A great morale booster is to win or even place in a highly regarded competition. Many professional p
- Why I Love Melt And Pour Soap Making
I love making soap using the melt and pour soap making method. In my experience it's the easiest way
- How To Do Metal Detecting In Dry Sand?
In general, larger searchcoils will give better depth with larger targets and better ground coverage
- How to Face Paint: 5 Things You Must Know Before Getting Started
Learning how to face paint can be easy and lots of fun once you know how. It's a great way to have f
- Tips For Metal Detecting
A pulsing current is applied to the coil, which then induces a magnetic field shown in blue. When th
- Christmas Soap Making
Since Christmas is almost here, what could be a better gift than Christmas themed hand made soap to
- Why Choose a Wine Gift Basket?
A wine gift basket is probably one of the most beautiful gifts that a person is likely to receive.
- Create A Metal Detecting Book
Are you purchasing a detector to use occasionally at a lake or beach? Or do you now find yourself wi
- Simple Face Painting Designs: Where Can I Find Them?
If you're looking for simple face painting designs, you're not alone. Trying to find simple face pai