Make and Use A Touch-Wood Pole Lathe

1–3 January

Many people will now be familiar with the pole lathe through revival of the craft in recent years. Broadly speaking there are two types:

the spindle lathe (bodgers lathe)

the bowl lathe (for hollow turning)

There are many variations on each type, incorporating traditional design and the personal innovations of the turner; rightly so as the lore of this craft often demands that the turner is resourceful and makes his/her own equipment. The Touch-Wood (multipurpose) lathe has been developed in this spirit over the past 25 years; it allows both spindle and hollow turning using the adjustable tool rest; it is heavy and has very little in the way of metal fixings. The bed and stocks are formed from a 3” thick slabs of hardwood (oak or ash) and the legs are cleft from an oak log. The legs are fitted by gravity; it’s a “sliding dovetail” joint. The adjustable centre has a forged vice type pin, rather than the clunky crank, which is widely seen on other lathes. The only other metal parts are the hinges and adjustment for for the treadle. The whole lathe (except the pole) will pack down into the back of a hatchback car.

The course programme:-

Day 1 and 2

Following introductions and a safety briefing on the first day, the lathe beds will be marked out and mortices cut for the sliding dovetails. Then the lathe legs will be cleft and shaped from oak logs. Once the bench is set up in this way, the attention for the rest of the first day will be on starting to cut the shapes of the head and tail stocks, as well as the adjustable tool rest; these three items will have to be morticed for the gripping wedges, and finally the wedges cut from 1’ hardwood boards. The remainder of the second day can then be spent making the treadle and also setting the lathe up for use.

Day 3

The final day is an opportunity to explore the use of the newly made lathe, with plenty of tools, materials and coaching/advice to use this multipurpose lathe for spindle and hollow turning. Suitable chisels and hook tools will be available to buy if needed.

BOOKING AND PAYMENT OPTIONS: Contact Judith Adams 01952 432769 or email

FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Richard Thomason 01952 432769/07964 934556

Special offer for our members: 20% off all course fees! Please contact Judith on the details above to get your discount.


More information & booking details (partner site →)


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