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margerydi

Treadle Versus Electric Wheel - Any Advice Please?

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Does anyone have experience of using a treadle wheel? Is it much harder than an electric wheel, especially for someone without that much experience? I am a hobby potter, and my electric wheel (bought used) has died. I can't afford to replace it, and no-one seems to know how to fix it, but someone is selling an old treadle wheel locally. Would I get the hang of it quite quickly, or would it be quite a challenge? Thank you!

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Treadles wheels can be very soothing but I think it may be physically taxing because of standing constantly. I would take your dead wheel to an appliance repair shop. It is either a fuse, switch, motor, and pedal. Some repairmen are really amazing.

Marcia

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Thanks Marcia - I've tried all the avenues with my electric wheel, but because it's old and complicated I can only get if fixed by shipping it to a specialist repair shop, which will cost a fortune before he even finds out if it's fixable!! I was drawn to the idea of a treadle wheel because there is less to go wrong. I wonder if you can sit on a stool to use them? Have you used one yourself? Thanks!

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Yes, they work well. Once you get comfortable with the wheel, it can do even more magic than the electric ones.

 

I didn't like the treadle wheel because your leg is constantly moving. The ones I threw on also didn't have a heavy enough flywheel.

I preferred a regular, flywheel kick wheel.

 

The advantage is fine control at slower speeds. Teaches efficiency in your motions. Beginners will make better pieces on a kick wheel. Alas, I fell to the lazy comfort of electric motors.

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Often by the time you figure the space needed for a kick or treadle wheel, the expense of upgrading a kick with a motor at some time, and the effort involved in the use, buy another electric wheel used or otherwise. What brand is the one you had die? Could you post a pic? Why can't the offending part be sent out for repairs? 

 

Just thoughts, not to offend,

best,

Pres

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call me old school but i love treadle wheels.    some have stool built in.  not  sure how well it will work as a beginner wheel.... but i think you would get the hang of it.....   my vote is get the treadle those are a rare find.    electric wheels come up used all the time......

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Thanks! (And no offence every taken!) I'm in the UK, so this might mean the availability of electric versus manual wheels is different. The electric wheel I have is an Alsager, about 20 years old. I bought it second hand off a mad old woman, but it was quite expensive (for me, anyway). I've been told the problem is the alternator, and although I think someone who knows something about mechanics and electrics could probably just strip out the insides and rewire it, that's not something I could even begin to manage to do. I've asked everyone I can think of (pottery wheel repair people / washing maching repair people etc) and no one will help. Occasionally it works - long enough for me to make a batch of pots, only for it to go haywire again before I can turn them. The idea of a treadle wheel appeals because I think there's not much that can go wrong with it. It's interesting that some people have been positive about using them. Although I can buy one quite cheaply it'll cost a fair bit to transport it, and I don't want to make another expensive mistake.

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Forty five years ago I learned on a Klopenstein treadle wheel.  As mentioned above you can get tired, and it is unlikely at my age that I would try it again.  If you are young and agile, go for it, you can always move on as finances improve.

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I us an Estrin wheel. It is a kick wheel with an electric motor that you step on to speed up the wheel. Works well for me but is all I have ever used. My dislike for it is trying to stop it takes a bit.

Might have to try a new well one day .

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Electric and treadle wheels are two different animals. If you're used to an electric, the treadle will feel quite different. The process may also affect your work, for better or worse, as the process is different. Personally, I couldn't throw the way I do on a treadle because the speed isn't there. It would definitely slow down my production rate. But I know folks who use treadles and they love them. I would't make any investment until I tried it out for a while.

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I've used a kick wheel, but not (yet) a treadle.

 

The thing that appeals about the treadles I've seen is that you can stand, and you can swap legs.  I was banned by my physio from using the kick wheel as I was getting problems on one side.

 

Treadles seem rare, the nearest I've seen one for sale was 100 miles away.  I'd say go for it.

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Thank you everyone. I'm going out to look at the treadle wheel on Friday, and if it seems in good working condition I'm going to go for it. It is really interesting seeing everyone's different experiences, and I think there are enough positive comments for me to take a chance on it. Although I only do ceramics as a hobby, I'd be heartbroken not to be able to throw any more.

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Some day I hope to own a treadle. Only to go with the kick and electrics. I would think from a hobby position a wheel is a wheel. Since its a hobby; price is a factor. My first wheel was a Lockerbie that I rehabbed ($100 for wheel, hours and hours of labor, oil, grease and paint $125 total). The treadle may be a third of the cost used versus an electric. You will be able to make pots once you get used to it. I only throw up to 3lbs on the Lockerbie. I prefer an electric wheel for reasons already mentioned. There is a meditative realm from kicking that may be similar to treadling. I have a stronger attachment to pieces I have kicked. Good luck and enjoy the hunt for a wheel.

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Hi again - just wanted to add that I have bought the treadle wheel, cleaned it up and painted it, and I love it! Takes a bit of getting used to, but now I love the slower pace and better control. Thank you very much for all the advice, which really helped my decision.

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