Thursday, November 29, 2012

Getting Started on a Spring Pole Lathe......Maybe

I've been wanting to build a spring pole lathe for a couple years now. I've never done any turning but I think it will really open up a whole lot of new possibilities for my woodworking.

I really liked Peter Follansbee's lathe when I saw it at Plimoth last summer so I decided I was going to base mine off that one, just not quite as long; shop space limitations and all. A few months ago I saw an add in the local on-line classifieds for some old beams from a barn that blew down. The price was right so I went and checked it out. Came away with plenty for a lathe. Well, I finally took the time to start dressing the beams today. 4x6 pine for the uprights and feet and poppets, 3x4 oak for the actual lathe bed.

I started today by cutting a piece of the 4x6 pine to a workable length and went at it with a cambered fore plane, another fore plane with the iron ground flat and a square. A whole lotta shavings later, I had a surfaced and squared on all four sides beam. Now for the maybe part of the blog tittle. As I was planing the weathered wood away to expose fresh pine, I also exposed some work of some wood borers of some sort. After I finished planing the beam, I cleaned out all the powdered wood with a screwdriver and air from a compressor. This in no way effects the integrity of the beams; they are way more than beefy enough. My only concern is wether whatever did the damage is still in there somewhere. I saw no evidence of anything living in there so I'm hoping they are long gone. Anyone know from the pictures what did this and what's the chance they're not done with the beams yet?

Probably try to plane another piece tonight and see what that one looks like. Once I get everything surfaced and squared up I'll start on some joinery. That'll be the easy part.

First side after cambered fore plane

The damage

Some more

Wood is solid underneath

Four squared. I like the look of it

Sure does make lots of wood stove starter


Dan Oelke said...

If they will fit in your oven - bake the wood at a low temp overnight. That will kill any buggers.

You can see some guidelines at:

In general woodweb knowledge base has a lot of good stuff on kilns, etc.

Those temps will also help set any sap - not that there probably is much of a problem with that in those older beams that baked in summer sun for years.

Jamie Bacon said...

Thanks for the link and the info Dan. Unfortunately, I think I'd have to break into a Papa Johns to find an oven large enough. I've got 4x6's that'll be 3 and 4 feet long and 3x4's that'll be 5 feet long.

Bert Bleckwenn said...

I would be VERY cautious since you already have infestation evidence.
I purchased a large 24" cherry log 3 years ago that had been slabbed and stored in a dry dairy barn for 10-20 years because of their very wide boards, but there was evidence of past infestation on the outer sap area, but no indication of any powder or recent activity, so thought I was OK. I stored and stickered them, but after about 9 months I saw slight evidence of some powder... cleaned it up and then 3 months later saw powder again, so knew I had a problem. Hoping it was only one board, I band sawed all evidence away, but found the live grubs present. Started to worry more, so processed another board that had evidence of caked powder, but no activity, but banding sawing damaged area I came across more active infestation. Long story short, I band sawed all the boards with ANY evidence resulting in less than 50% good wood and losing all reminents of wide boards... I probably found a dozen grubs across a dozon boards. I still keep an ey on the remaining wood as I have a couple of stashes of really old (40+ years)walnut and cherry that I did not want to risk of infestation... I'm trying to use up the remains of the exposed cherry to minimize my risks in the mean time.

I would either: 1) cut away ANY evidence of any damage and closely inspect for ANY remaining pin holes... any sign of even very small pin holes, keep cutting away!!! or 2) cut your loses in time and wood and discard immediately... think of the risk to your new shop, if they migrated to your floor or other wood stash!

I'm now super cautious about bringing in any wood that has any signs of infestation.

Just my two cents worth based on my painful experience.