Friday, 7 March 2008


As my friend Robin at Treewright has just posted in a previous thread I thought I would promote him EVEN MORE!!! by showing you something he demonstrated to me when we were working together at the Scout Jamboree last summer.

Not everyone has the materials, time or space for their own pole-lathe, but a bow-lathe is a small and simple alternative. Below is a picture of Robin in action using his bow-lathe.

I guess you could say that it is based on the principle of the bow-drill, because you use a bow to rotate your work instead of foot power as used with a pole-lathe.

All you need is a stable base (I used a piece of scaffold board for mine) and two uprights fixed securely to the base. Drill a hole towards the top of each upright and insert a coach screw (or similar) through each, having ground a point onto each bolt to hold your piece of work securely. Use two nuts to secure the bolts in position.

At one end you can incorporate a simple wooden handle to tighten one bolt to hold you work.

and finally fix a piece of wood between the two uprights as a tool rest

Now axe a length of wood into a rough "round", place the bow string around using the same method as with the bow-drill and secure your work between the two bolts.

Now using a couple of bodgers chizels, move the bow backwards and forwards to rotate your work and turn the wood into whatever you require!



I didn't think I had managed to leave a comment. Now I see that you vet them first - think I'll do that on mine.
What happened to your bow lathe from hazel?
Check this link for a real lash up bowl making lathe in the forest -

Fenlander said...

It stops the idiots who leave malicious comments with virus links!

Fenlander said...

I didn't get any pictures of it at the jamboree. I made a free standing one similar to your, that I use now.

Anonymous said...

Thats a great idea! I have been wanting to make a ploe lathe but I don't really have the space sicne I am arenter. I could easily make a bow lathe and store it in my basement, and take it out when i want to use it. Do you only cut on the pull stroke of the bow?

Fenlander said...

It depends what type of chisel you are using as to whether it will cut on the pull and push stroke.