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W. W. Oliver Treadle Lathe

A heavy iron wood lathe, unmarked, but attributed to W.W. Oliver, in Buffalo, New York. The lathe is 40 1/2" wide (table length), and 45" high (from floor to centers). The 24 1/2" cast iron stepped flywheel has three 1 1/4" wide pulley faces. A new 1 1/4" drive belt is installed. The headstock has a three stepped pulley with 2", 3 1/2" and 5" diameter faces. The spindle is bored for ease of center removal and threaded in a still common size of 1" 8tpi, making modern faceplates and chucks readily available. However, the spindle taper is non-standard. A new spur center, turned down to the appropriate taper, is included. Maximum distance between centers is just under 22". The swing is 8" over bed and just over 6" over the tool rest. The iron is in very good condition, with no breaks or welds in the intricate castings. The bearings are in good shape and this is the smoothest running treadle lathe we have had.

While this lathe is a bit heavy for picking up and hauling to craft fairs, the heavy flywheel and frame are a necessity for a good running lathe. Light flywheels tend to stop when the tool hits the wood and heavy flywheels in light weight, often homemade wooden, frames cause the lathe to vibrate, if not jump up and down when the turning gets rough.

front view with new drive belt

closer view of lathe

components of the tool rest The tool rest blade is 3 5/8" wide on a 2" long, 3/4" diameter post.

Scroll chuck by D.E. Whiton, W. Stafford, CT. Whiton's scroll chucks of several designs were popular both in the U.S. and abroad. The chuck can be tightened by hand, using the large knurled wheel, and will grip either inward or outward. Note: the stepped jaws are for gripping outward and are not reversible. Maximum outward expansion is about 4" and inside 2". The chuck body is 3" in diameter.

gripping a spindle tenon in the scroll chuck

turning heavier work between centers

the accessories The Whiton scroll chuck, an original 60 degree center, and a new 4 blade spur. The new mt2 spur has had its shank turned down to the non-standard taper of the lathe spindle and ram.

A large and decorative cast iron treadle The 15" long treadle attaches to the crankshaft by means of a crank hook. This is a safety feature that prevents many broken toes. Once the heavy flywheel is turning, it doesn't instantly stop if a foot is inadvertantly placed under the treadle.

the tailstock The ram extends to 3" and ejects the center when fully withdrawn. The screw and clamping lever work fine. The ram socket has a taper smaller than mt2. Any modern mt2 center can easily be turned down to the correct taper, using the original center to set up the lathe. However, a live center should have a removable bearing so it can be chucked in the metal lathe. A local machine shop may be able to turn it with the bearing in place, but that is beyond my limited experience.

the crank bearing The 1 1/8" crankshaft rides in bearing journals suspended from the cast iron standards by adjustable bolts.

Price: sold Buyer must pick up or arrange shipping. 3rd party delivery may be arranged in the eastern U.S. or the lathe can be stored indefinitely for buyer pickup.

Items reserved by email will be held 10 days and shipped upon receipt of your check. Please wait to mail your check until you receive email confirmation of your reservation.

Contact: Richard Van Vleck - Email:

© 2006, American Artifacts, Taneytown, Maryland.