Full Chisel Blog

May 5, 2012

Cast Iron Foot Powered Treadle Wheel for a Watchmaker’s Lathe

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Turning,Workbench — Stephen Shepherd @ 6:07 pm

I first used one of these when I built my first 1805 Turning Bench* [a foot powered treadle lathe with a bench attached], I had borrowed one of these from a friend and powered the lathe until I finished the wooden wheel, crank, pitman and treadle.

* Plans available from Tools For Working Wood.

Then today a friend called me and said he spotted one in a local antique store.  I have purchased from this guy before and he has fine stuff at a little higher than I like.  My friend described the wheel, I filled in the details to his amazement.  I then talked to the owner and bought the wheel as my friend said he couldn’t afford to buy it right now.

Happy to have one and will build a small bench and mount my watchmaker’s lathe and put it to use.



  1. 558,228 – Treadle – Claes A. Svensson, April 14, 1896.

    Comment by Jeff Burks — May 5, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

  2. Sweet. Keep us informed on the bench build. I’d love to have something like that to turn violin pegs.

    Comment by Berl Mendenhall — May 5, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

  3. Hey, I got one of those too. Thought about using it to make a lathe. I would be interested to see yours when it is finished.

    Comment by Mark Schreiber — May 6, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  4. Not entirely on subject but I found a pretty nice, relatively fine-grained old hand-cranked grindstone, maybe 15″ in diameter with a wrought-iron axle and crank out in a pile of rubble stone in my barn I was sorting today, and was looking around about how to make a frame for it. Seems like most of them have water boxes, but some don’t. So I was wondering if you thought the water box was a good idea (I’d use it for axes and putting a new bevel on chisels and plane irons, but it seems like I’d have to get pretty excited to actually burn a tool, even dry given the hand crank). Do you know of any useful plans or photos online or in a book and have any thoughts about what makes a useful frame?

    Cheers, Brian

    Comment by Brian Anderson — May 6, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

  5. I can tell you how to make your frame. Call me at 304 466 3960 or 304 660 5544

    Comment by Jim Costa — May 6, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  6. Brian, I found this the other day:


    You can see the whole construction at around the 2 minute mark.

    Comment by Federico Mena Quintero — May 7, 2012 @ 10:41 am

  7. Very Cool. You just helped identify the flywheel I have. Picked it up in Manitoulin Island. Has the same markings, slightly different pedal assembly and linkages. I plan on using it to drive an appalachian power hammer. Any idea where I can pick up belts for it? Could I use the linked belts? Any help would be appreciated I figure I may need at least a 48 inch belt.

    Comment by Mark Reeves — September 18, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  8. Mark,
    Here is a link for round leather belting. http://www.mcmaster.com/#round-belts/=jd0a6d


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — September 19, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  9. Hey I have this, wow it has been in my garage for about 20 years, it is the
    same one. I did pump it once, sure can get up some speed. Man this is a small
    world. Bob

    Comment by Bob Jones — September 25, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

  10. Please contact me, I have this wheel for sale. lescol1@aol.com

    Comment by Bob Jones — September 28, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  11. Yes, I have a good friend who collects antique tools, he has a clock makers bench [watch makers] and is in need
    of a swing treadle [like the one pictured in the blog], the lathe is an ole German piece and he would like
    the cast iron treadle to match. Is there anything available out there that you know about, a price would be
    nice also…Thank you your kind consideration….George

    Comment by George Ferreira — December 6, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  12. I’d like to buy one if anyone wants to sell theirs.

    Comment by Michael.H — January 5, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

  13. I have almost completed restoring a Rosberg Watchmakers bench and am looking for just such a fly wheel. If any knows where I can get one I would be so greatful! Thank you! Geoff gmboeckel@comcast.net

    Comment by Geoff — August 1, 2013 @ 6:56 am

  14. I have one. How much are they worth? What do they sell for atthe antique store?

    Comment by Tim Forsythe — May 27, 2014 @ 3:53 pm

  15. I have one that I would like to sell.

    Comment by M Noella Rosenthal — June 28, 2014 @ 8:16 pm

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