In the video Robin Wood describes his first encounter with George Lailey's work, and has this initial response: "I imagined it would be quite straight forward" and "It can't be that hard, why is no one doing this?" I have to admit, upon seeing Wood's video I thought the exact same thing--how hard could this be? Looking at the lathe, there is nothing too complex in its construction, right? And the tools--they are dead primitive. So why not do it?
I looked on line for plans for a bowl-turning treadle lathe, and some exist, but most plans are for spindle turning lathes. Such a setup is much lighter, as the machine does not have to resist the mass of the spinning bowl as it changes direction. So, I took the basic design elements from the spindle-turning lathe and just overbuilt it. Overbuilding is not hard to do. In fact, I think it is our default mode whenever making anything. Expertise is shown in what you can take away. It is about simplifying, as Robin speaks to.
Anyway, first I sourced the beams. There is an old, dilapidated barn near our home in New Hampshire and I figured the owners would not mind if I repurposed some of the hand-hewn beams lying about.
Leveling the bed
And now, the lathe lives!