Summer Update - Woodwright’s School Visit


Hello, I am back from my holidays and I had a great time while on my travels. We made several stops along the trip in Minneapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsboro, Roanoke Island (where we got married), Washington D.C. and then the long drive back up to the great white north. We stopped  at several museums along the way and had a great time out on the town in all this cities. While in Pittsboro, I was attending a class at The Woodwright’s School with Roy Underhill, which was a christmas gift from my wife. The class, which consisted of six students, spending five days working on building a spring pole lathe, as featured in Popular Woodworking magazine August 2016. The course was great. Roy is just like he is on tv, fun to be around and very funny. I have watched the show from the time I can remember and it was awesome to spend the time working with him in this class. The days flew by, and at the end you didn’t really want to leave, but I guess we do have to sleep after all. Roy has an open school, where he encourages people to stop in on the class, you can just come in off the street to watch and say hi. I found this added to the class, quite different from what you would normally expect. The spring pole lathe project is also interesting because of all the different tools and methods used in the construction of the Lathe. There is bench work, using a morticing machine, metal working with a treadle lathe, using a drawknife and many other interesting aspects. As we finished our lathes, we went out on the sidewalk and demonstrated the lathe for the passers by, which draws a lot of attention from the townsfolk, and was a fun experience. Over all I would highly recommend the course to anyone interested in woodworking. And how well does the spring pole lathe preform? Very well, I found it works well in my initial turnings, well surpassing my expectations. I have spent a bit of time working on a few small items for around the shop including tool handles, a bowl turning attachment, as well as some spindles for practice. I found the lathe works with more ease then I had expected, plus you have great speed control, allowing for very precise work. I am using Ashley Iles spring pole lathe turning tools, which seem to work very well. They are high carbon steel, which is easy to sharpen, and I found holds an edge for a very long time. I have been using kiln dried wood scraps that have been kicking around, which turn quite well. The green wood I tried at the school turns far easier, but I’m not going let that stop me from using dried wood on the spring pole lathe. I’m a fan of the lathes style and I am not sure what kind of, or if any kind of finish I might apply to it. I have a few ideas, but noting is decided upon. Also while at the school up above is Ed Lebetkin’s tool store, where you can find good user tools for a reasonable price. I picked up a few items I needed, including what thus far seem like really nice holdfasts made by a local North Carolina blacksmith. Ed is a very nice friendly man as well, and it was nice to get a chance to meet him while I was there as well. If you plan a trip to The Woodwright’s School, or the Pittsboro area, I highly recommend (about as highly as I can recommend), you stay at 458 West bed and breakfast. They will make you feel at home, and start your day with a good meal and a smile. Say hi to Houston for me. 


In the next couple of weeks look for postings about finishing the table with shellac and starting assembly, as well I have finished reassembling my Foley Automatic Filer. There will be a section on this website dealing with Foley Filers and Retoothing machines. After completion of the table, the next project will be my drill press and getting ready for building the new workbench.

© Shane Larson 2018