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on the Pole Lathe

I'm also working on some woodturning projects on the pole lathe, using mostly greenwood, but also experimenting with turning things from the legs of old tables.   Here is a first look at a lump of applewood that I hoped to make a bowl from, roughly shaped with an axe, and starting to take shape on the lathe. 


A couple of practise items I turned: a small trinket bowl and a ring stand, which show the lovely grain in the applewood..


A friend gave me a knotty Yew log, to see if I wanted to make something from it.  I decided to try making a little dish on the lathe.  Yew is toxic, so it had to be a trinket dish e.g. for coins, not for food.  Here it is in the making, and the finished article.  Yew is very hard to cut, but it has a lovely grain pattern.  


And a few more - another 4-inch yew bowl, and a smaller applewood pin tray; then a 7-inch figured oak platter, and a 5-inch bowl made from a 200-year-old barn door.

Hand Spinning Tools

Belt Distaff

My daughter does hand spinning, using a drop-spindle.  She asked if I could make her a belt distaff. 


"A what?" I hear you shout.  Quite.   Well, it's one of these: 


A device for holding the carded wool roving (or flax for that matter) while you spin.  Simple distaffs are hand held, but a belt distaff is one mounted on a long pole that the spinner sticks into her belt at the back, with the shaped part at the top. 


This was used in medieval times, when the spinner could not afford to keep putting down the roving while spinning, for example to tend to cooking pots, or to shoo a fox away from her sheep.


Here is a prototype one I made: I turned the distaff on the pole lathe using a piece of nice old beech from the leg of a table orphan.  I grafted this onto a blackthorne stick shaft, cut from our hedgerow, stripped, shaped, smoothed and waxed.


Drop Spindle


My daughter needed a special drop spindle for a friend, and I thought it would look nice made from a piece of English Cherry.  Here is it being turned on the pole lathe; note the special crooked bowl-turning hook, made by Ben Orford.


Below that, the whorl being polished and finished, and finally the crucial test run.  Yep, it works just fine.   The grain pattern looks very pretty with the colour enriched by the beeswax polish.


A Knitting Nancy is one of the oldest forms of loom knitting, with records showing that these hand-help simple dolls often called "knitting Nancy" were used for a form of French knitting as long as 400 years ago.   I made a couple on the lathe, out of a piece of fallen applewood branch.   Don't you love that rich grain pattern?

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