Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Human Power

CME Handworks Inc

I'm going to make an assumption here- if you read my blog then you're probably into hand tools and if you're into hand tools then you're probably like me and spend some time browsing the Internet looking for things like vintage planes and hand drills, old hand saws, and treadle lathes....basically the cool old tools Roy Underhill used for all those years. Well a few weeks before Christmas I stumbled into the e-bay store of CME Handworks Inc. in Palos Heights, IL. USA.

Chris and Mary Yonker run CME Handworks where Chris manufactures beautiful hand tools. From wooden bodied scrapers and mallets to bow saws and treadle lathes. It was the treadle lathe that really caught my eye and was the item I was searching for that brought me to their web page in the first place. I've always kept my eye out for a foot powered lathe and finding a decent antique lathe is like finding a needle in a hay-stack. They don't come up too often.

Chris has come up with a design that is both aesthetically pleasing and completely user friendly.You'll see what I'm talking about when you visit their store. It's easy for him to ship via UPS (they even offer free shipping to 48 continental United States) and for the customer to re-assemble it is a breeze. How do I know? Well Santa must have saw me searching the web site and brought me one for Christmas!
The lathe is made from 1 3/4" Poplar with a hard maple tool rest and Bubinga handles.
It's relatively small footprint is perfect for any wood shop at only 42" Tall, 34" Long and 24" Wide. It has 18" between centers with over 5" from center to top of bedway. The lathe was shipped in two separate boxes and included a set of detailed, easy to follow instructions and as mentioned was a walk in the park to re-assemble. All that was needed was an adjustable wrench and an 5/32 Hex Key. The entire process took only a half hour.
Now I'm not a wood turner and I shouldn't comment too much on the performance - yet...but I'm planning on putting some miles on this thing over the next few months and incorporating some turned elements into my furniture design.

I'll be posting some more detailed information on the lathe as I get into it but I suggest you stop in at the CME Handworks eBay store and check them out. If you're like me and have dreamed of owning a foot powered lathe than this may be just the thing for you.