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Forget the hand crank and the bicycle, consider the treadle...  RSS feed

 
                                  
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I see people with these bicycle and hand cranked designs for kitchen products, but they don't appeal to the majority. The hand crank is awkward and the bike is large and ugly.

What about the treadle?
The treadle has been used for running many different types of woodworking tools for some time now. It also powers a very popular brand of classic sewing machines. It is also used to turn certain types of potters wheels, and various other machines have implemented them as a source of power.

The biggest advantage of the treadle is that it has a flywheel which helps keep momentum and distributes the power evenly. Now, no one in their right mind would think a butcher block sized device to power a blender would be necessary. But what about one shaft to power them all? Think of the many devices in your kitchen powered by a motor and you can apply a treadle to them.

blender, juicer, food processor, Meat grinder, coffee grinder, grain grinder, pasta maker, mixer, apple peeler, batch potato peelers, sausage maker, etc.

How about a butcher block with a treadle and flywheel under it, but a gear and steel framework up top that you can attach various devices to and power through the use of the treadle.
I'm sure that if you can power it by hand crank then the leg can do the job.

Some examples of treadle powered devices:







EDITED by Staff: to repair broken YouTube link(s) {Polk}


 
Jordan Lowery
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i recently came up on a old sewing machine with no top, the bottom half has a treadle ( didnt know it had a name) not sure what im going to do with it, but i like the potters wheel idea.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Only kitchen gadget we do is our 3hp monster blender.  I blend the whole avocado with the seed.  (highest soluble fiber of any food = artery scrubber).  I think I am going to have to rely on stored electrical juice for that machine.  Otherwise, it's pretty much just one knife and opposable thumbs that do all the work. 

Back on topic, flywheels are exceptionally cool. 
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Fun idea
In days of yore, grinders were foot powered. 

The spinning wheel is traditionally treadle powered.

I think just about anything could be attached to the belt that runs from the treadle, and the limiting factor would be how much friction the belt could carry. I think that is where the flywheel comes in, to gather up power into the spinning mass of the flywheel, and keep regulate the rate.  Add more gears and more flywheels, more  treadlers as the job to be accomplished grows larger.  (and resistance is added to the belt and what it is turning)

It would not be  a difficult thing to make a little generator that ran from an exercycle or a treadle.  This would be child's play to a mechanical engineer, (whether trained in academia or not).
 
Deb Rebel
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I've been messing with the old flywheel stationary bicycles. (I find one around here on occasion). Usually they are still operational, show up cheap, and have the ghosts of all the clothes that used to hang on them (I swear...heh).

My grandfather had a pedal powered grindwheel and for better sharpening he pedaled it backwards...

My 1898 (advert showing one, is 1902) Wilson Sock Darner is wonderful for applique work, as I can get the needle dropping once about every two seconds so plenty of manipulation time.

Years back spouse and I built a springpole lathe (we had to leave it with someone when we moved the last time) and that had a learning curve, both adjusting/modifying it into working better and learning how to manipulate the pedal for smooth rolling and strokes. It was absolutely LOVELY with good sharp tools, to turn green wood.
 
Sharon Carson
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I made my living custom making clothing using a singer treadle machine years ago. I have a corn sheller here that someone put an electric motor on and a potters wheel made using the motor of an old washing machine I have a spinning wheel and a 5 ft floor loom with peddles to change the weft. I have a collection of hand tools from the farms on both sides of the family. The farms are gone but I saved the tools on my old homestead even though few chose this way of life.
 
Patrick Kniesler
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What about attaching a treadle+flywheel to one of those flexible drive conduits. The end could have a universal attachment.

Either the equipment could move to the treadle, or the treadle could be placed on the floor in front of the kitchen device and the drive conduit snaked up onto the table or counter.

I like the idea of having a treadle hole built into a cabinet.

Edit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexible_shaft
 
Carla Coleman
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Several of my weaving friends have replaced the sewing machine with a shuttle bobbin winder. One man (who learned to weave from his mother) said his first "paid" chore was to wind bobbins for his mother's weaving as soon as he was big enough to reach both the treadle below and the bobbin above. Now he still uses that same treadle bobbin winder for his weaving.

I've never seen a potter's wheel that was powered by a treadle. All of the manual/non-electric wheels I've ever seen had a 'kick-wheel' underneath. I wish I'd known they could be powered by a treadle since I learned to sew and spin with treadle power and wasted way too many hours trying to learn how to throw pots on a wheel!
 
Dave Bennett
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This may offer some ideas.

http://www.lowtechmagazine.com
 
Dave Bennett
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Also:

http://www.notechmagazine.com
 
David Cameron
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I have a treadle grinder/polisher made in 1895. I used this as a silversmith and as a knife-maker for decades. It was perfect for the decade we were off-grid and gives better control than electric grinder/polishers. The leather belts need replacing now but otherwise I expect this machine could go on working for centuries more.
 
William Bronson
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Dave Bennett
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David Cameron wrote:I have a treadle grinder/polisher made in 1895. I used this as a silversmith and as a knife-maker for decades. It was perfect for the decade we were off-grid and gives better control than electric grinder/polishers. The leather belts need replacing now but otherwise I expect this machine could go on working for centuries more.

I have a tredle grinding wheel out in the barn.  I bought it at a yard sale.  It needs to be restored since it's in very rough shape.  Hopefully I can get to it this winter. I have at least 8 knives that I started about 10 years ago.
 
Joel Bercardin
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A lot of permies lean away from higher-tech methods and equipment, opting for more human-powered and, where practical, even “primitive” ones.  I also know from experience that hand tools are typically the first acquisitions made by most organic gardeners and homesteaders.

When they become a necessity (such as, for earning some money, or saving time that may be in short supply), machine tools often eventually make sense.  I know for myself, in my first year on my land I cut my firewood using a Stanley bow saw and an axe.  The next year, with a young daughter, the need to repair buildings, upgrade plumbing, build fencing, tend a chicken flock and a big garden, find paying work, and all that, I reluctantly bought a used chainsaw.  Full disclosure: I’ve been living with 120/240v line current on my place, from regional hydropower.  I’ve got a workshop with power tools that I do value.  (Maybe someday small-scale alternative energy tech will become affordable for my locale.)

But still I admire those who dedicate themselves to living with as little non-human power as possible.  This scroll saw (or fret saw) is a 19th-century treadle-power model, of a type used in much of the world.  It displays the principle that has been applied to numerous machines.  The Shakers, in New England, built cooperative community industries using machines like this, along with hand tools.  In the pic I uploaded you can see the treadle and the linkage to the flywheel, the belt going to the pulley that provides reciprocal up/down action for the saw blade, and the plate-like “table” that can support the work piece.

I know Carla C said she used a treadle sewing machine, and David C has used and preferred a treadle machine for practical purposes.  Are treadle tools currently essential to any Permies member’s lives?  (either for homesteading tasks, or earning money?)

(photo from U.K. Pennyfarthing Tools website  pennyfarthingtools.co.uk/)
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Deb Rebel
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I'm building a spring-pole lathe....
 
André Troylilas
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Not essential, but I need/want a dentist pedal powered lathe to replace my Dremel, and dream of converting my big pillar drill to use a treadle.
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Taryn Hesse
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Hi this is a great post
Ive collected a few treadle sewing machines for free because i thought they were potentially usefull. the idea of putting a treadle under a counter for kitchen appliances is great, maybe brilliant, because the quality of hand powered machines ive bought ranges from crap to excelent at every price range. I suspect that anything with a motor somewhere inside could theoretically be fitted to a band of leather, rubber or maybe even a bike chain? I have found a few excelent hand crank kitchen tools but i miss blenders and slicers which i use for putting up food. The tools in my workshop also have potential too. I would have thought a bike is better because it is less delicate and has a chain instead of a band for more torque with no streching, is that a fair call?  I am intrested in having modern conveniences at home but its nice to have working backups as i have solar power and am often waiting for repair parts or a mechanic or my budget because im not yet so skilled. I often make things MORE broken while trying to fix them. BTW carberators are best looked at by a profi the first few times you have a go at cleaning and re installing them as (oh, the time and money I have wasted). Ive have destroyed a few generators!  I think too that the medium between hand tools and power tools fit the scale of the operation here, except for chainsaws, they are gold. does anyone with a treadle\bike setup in their kitchen or workshop have time to share photos and designs? Are the tools attached to individual foot pedals or an all-to-one to save space? I have softball shoulder injury that i feel from time to time so i would prefer treadle, but is that practical? I really specifically miss my blender over winter is that better fitted with a hand crank or a foot pedal? any problems with the hand powered machines stressing the moving parts and breaking hubs etc..? Is it better to buy older tools or newer tools as the weight, materials and prices are also to consider? I would love any response even one tool at a time as it would save a fair bit of trial and error and winter with my wood oven on is the best time to put up food, renovate and fix stuff and of course also when i have the least electricity to work with.
 
Liz Hoxie
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This is interesting to me since I don't react as fast as most ppl when machines are involved. I had been thinking that the only choices were hand crank and motorized. This would be a good way to go!
 
Cd Greier
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Taryn Hesse, I have the same idea: put a treadle assembly under/alongside my worktop to power abunch of stuff. Because it's  such a chore to set up every time, I'm thinking of keeping my wheat mill and slicer semi-permanently mounted on the shelf under the worktop with a lever-hinge to easily pull the whole lot out to counter height. I considered using my sewing machine treadle but I'm not mechanically inclined to figure out how to change the drive from same direction to right angle, if you know what I mean and it would take up alot of space in my kitchen AND kitchen grease and flour would not be good for the sewing machine! Yep, a narrow treadle to use standing at the counter would be best.
 
Josephine Howland
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I have a vintage singer treadle sewing machine base without the machine.  I'm planning on making it into the sink stand in the restroom in my sewing room.  This thread has me wondering, could I use the treadle to bring water to the sink?  If I have water it will either be from refillable water jugs or I can install a water point as I am over an aquifer with a high water table.  Could this replace the need for an electric pump?  Any mechanical types have ideas?   I'll be installing a composting toilet.  Thanks in advance to any advice on this idea.
 
Cd Greier
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Holey moley, Josephine!  What a great idea! We are looking for ways to make our (unintentionally) off-grid home livable and a treadle-powered water pump could solve a lot of problems. Of course a cast iron hand pump is an option, too.
 
Jami Gaither
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Josephine Howland wrote:Could this replace the need for an electric pump?  Any mechanical types have ideas?


There is a book called the Human Powered Home you might want to reference.  The Amazon preview shows pages 34, 35 & 37 on this topic - maybe you can glean enough from that??  https://www.amazon.com/Human-Powered-Home-Choosing-Muscles-Motors/dp/0865716013/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491190194&sr=8-1&keywords=9780865716018
 
Cd Greier
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Better believe I've got The Human-Powered Home! I just wish I were better at building things LOL.
 
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