Last month I got to visit Roy Underhill’s new school in Pittsboro, N.C. (read about my visit here). One of the coolest parts of the visit was getting to try out his foot-powered table saw and grinder.
I’ve used a spring-pole lathe before while building greenwood chairs, but I’d never used a treadle-powered table saw. It was a humbling experience (crow begins here).
The correct rhythm is slow and steady. As you can hear in the video, it sounds like I’m trying to square dance while smashing cockroaches. Yet, the saw still cut fairly well until the end of the cut.
As I was using the saw, I couldn’t help but ponder its similarities to the Bridge City JointMaker Pro, which uses meat power to make your cuts. The major difference between these two machines is that the treadle saw can do long rips (there’s a crank that a helper monkey turns). The cut on the treadle saw is pretty good, but nothing like the glassy smooth surface left by the JointMaker.
Roy shot this short video. I’m just grateful he didn’t shoot video of me using his grinder. That was humiliating.
– Christopher Schwarz
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