It is fair to say that besides me watching Roy Underhill use old tools on the Woodwright’s shop, what really got me hooked in the early 80’s was his passion for using foot-powered woodworking equipment. In fact, it led me to buy every one of his books as soon as they came out and then to start dreaming of building a treadle lathe. His lathe made of 2 x 4’s and 2 by 6’s got my imagination going about turning on a primitive lathe. Little did I know that I’d eventually build two foot-powered lathes based on his books, I’d pick up a treadle grinding wheel at a flea market in Springfield, Ohio, and that later I’d start to design and build a treadle scroll saw of my own design around 2007. My first foot-powered machine was the treadle lathe that Roy routinely demonstrated turning with on the show, except that on mine I treated the lathe to some chip carving on the sides and front edges of the 2 by 6’s.

Chip carved treadle lathe

On the portable spring pole lathe, featured in Roy’s books, I pretty much followed the Hulot design to the letter so I could use it for demonstrating at re-enactments. Some were held at the Herkimer Home a Revolutionary War Era site in Upstate New York, the Historic Fort Wayne Site (Fort Wayne, Indiana), and at the Fort Meigs War of 1812 Battlefield site in Perrysburg, Ohio. The amazing thing is that since transitioning to seminarian and then ordained ministry in 2004 and several moves later, I managed to retain these primitive machines simply because they have become part of me as a woodworker. As my wife Barb knows, the electric machines go first if I ever have to downsize the shop.

my spring pole lathe

But while I was living in Upstate New York, I also got the bug to build a foot-powered scroll saw. I looked at what others had done and again such things can motivate one to self expression. That proved to be true in my case. My treadle scroll saw design subsequently evolved over 2007-2015. Here is a picture of how it looked until this last year.

Victorian scroll saw 2007

In 2015, I made a bunch of nice refinements on the scroll saw, especially last summer. If you want to see how over the top I got with my refinements on the treadle scroll saw, you can see it in the Shop Talk section in the March/April 2016 issue of Woodworker’s Journal. http://www.rockler.com/woodworkers-journal-march-april-2016
I am delighted that Joanna Werch Takes of the magazine took an interest in my treadle scroll saw. If you know me pretty well you can imagine that I rolled some Victorian scroll saw designs and even some chip carving into the final product. I am also grateful to my machinist friend Bill who came to my rescue and helped me by redesigning the sprocket hub that now has greatly improved the ability to secure the BMX ratcheting freewheel gear. My awesome scroll saw has been dubbed “A Victorian Scroll Saw.” Check it out! Here is a peak at it.