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IMG_20200616_213454053.jpg.e0dc77635231112507c9de5c95493977.jpgHi folks, it's been awhile. I've still been throwing pots and being a potter. Recently I made a leach style treadle wheel and I love it. It was made with less expensive materials, pine instead of hardwood, and a couple other decisions I made that kept cost down. I'm thinking I might be able to make a Leach style Treadle Wheel for about $1000, unfinished. Maybe $1200 painted. Do the wise sages of this ceramics board have any idea if there would be any sort of market for this? 

Here's my thought. I've always wanted one of these wheels, and my buddy came across some abandoned homemade versions that were all piecemeal and rusted. But I salvaged them and learned how to build the wheel, and it works really well. I finally have my dream wheel, and I didn't have to spend $2500 on it. Maybe there would be more treadlers if the wheel was more affordable? 

I'd love advice if you are in a helpful and loving spirit. Thanks all!

Edited by phill
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1 hour ago, phill said:

IMG_20200616_213454053.jpg.e0dc77635231112507c9de5c95493977.jpgHi folks, it's been awhile. I've still been throwing pots and being a potter. Recently I made a leach style treadle wheel and I love it. It was made with less expensive materials, pine instead of hardwood, and a couple other decisions I made that kept cost down. I'm thinking I might be able to make a Leach style Treadle Wheel for about $1000, unfinished. Maybe $1200 painted. Do the wise sages of this ceramics board have any idea if there would be any sort of market for this? 

Here's my thought. I've always wanted one of these wheels, and my buddy came across some abandoned homemade versions that were all piecemeal and rusted. But I salvaged them and learned how to build the wheel, and it works really well. I finally have my dream wheel, and I didn't have to spend $2500 on it. Maybe there would be more treadlers if the wheel was more affordable? 

I'd love advice if you are in a helpful and loving spirit. Thanks all!

Might need to change the name, since the leach family still sell them ;)

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3 hours ago, phill said:

Hi folks, it's been awhile. I've still been throwing pots and being a potter. Recently I made a leach style treadle wheel and I love it. It was made with less expensive materials, pine instead of hardwood, and a couple other decisions I made that kept cost down. I'm thinking I might be able to make a Leach style Treadle Wheel for about $1000, unfinished. Maybe $1200 painted. Do the wise sages of this ceramics board have any idea if there would be any sort of market for this? 

Here's my thought. I've always wanted one of these wheels, and my buddy came across some abandoned homemade versions that were all piecemeal and rusted. But I salvaged them and learned how to build the wheel, and it works really well. I finally have my dream wheel, and I didn't have to spend $2500 on it. Maybe there would be more treadlers if the wheel was more affordable? 

I'd love advice if you are in a helpful and loving spirit. Thanks all!

Lots of leach wheel plans out there  on the internet, plus I had heard one of his kids at the university of Wisconsin was trying to set up with Amish craftsman to build these in the states as well. Nice wheel, I think if I made one I would really have to go old school and hardwood and clear finish the hardwood just for show.

Edited by Bill Kielb
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Nice work Phill!

Looks like plans are available (Simon's webpage); might be interesting/worthwhile to inquire regarding naming, particularly if copying the design...

Does the layout have to be flipped to turn clock wise?

I'd like to go with a bearing over the leather strap, and more metal/composite over wood, and easily reversible ...am liking the (electric) foot pedal more tho'!

 

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Treadle wheels are amazing pieces of machinery, but they only appeal to a very, very small group of potters. Compared to electric wheels, they are big and bulky, physically demanding, and they slow down the throwing process. One must be of a particular mindset about making pots to use one. Most people learn on electric wheels, because that's what most community studios have (they can fit a lot more electric wheels in a studio than kick or treadle wheels), and folks tend to stick with what they know. So I don't think there's much of a market for them. I think most people who want one are happy to build their own.

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12 hours ago, liambesaw said:

Might need to change the name, since the leach family still sell them ;)

Thank you for the concern! Sorry for the confusion, I listed this with the Leach name so folks would know the type of wheel I am talking about. I would not name it with their name. And I have modified their design to my own liking.  Thanks for the input!

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11 hours ago, Bill Kielb said:

Lots of leach wheel plans out there  on the internet, plus I had heard one of his kids at the university of Wisconsin was trying to set up with Amish craftsman to build these in the states as well. Nice wheel, I think if I made one I would really have to go old school and hardwood and clear finish the hardwood just for show.

Yes, you are correct! There are some halfway decent plans out there, and one of the grandson's names is Simon Leach that you are talking about. He is having an Amish craftsman make them and they are beautiful, and they are also $2500 just for the kit, plus crating and shipping charges. I think he is out of PA though.

What I've found is that although hardwood is beautiful, it is not necessary to make a nice, beautiful, strong, and well-functioning wheel. I guess that is where I was thinking there may be a possible market. I think Neil might be right about those who want to use one will probably just build it themselves or buy a hardwood one. 

Thank you so much for your input! This is helping me think through much more!

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3 hours ago, Hulk said:

Nice work Phill!

Looks like plans are available (Simon's webpage); might be interesting/worthwhile to inquire regarding naming, particularly if copying the design...

Does the layout have to be flipped to turn clock wise?

I'd like to go with a bearing over the leather strap, and more metal/composite over wood, and easily reversible ...am liking the (electric) foot pedal more tho'!

 

Thank you! 

I think you're right, naming it a "Leach" wheel would probably get me in some sort of trouble. 

No, the layout doesn't have to be flipped to have the wheel spin the other direction. I can crank it counter or clockwise both with my left leg. I think the idea is that if you throw in a counter clockwise manner you'd probably want your right leg to be stable. Maybe less body stress? If you wanted it clockwise, you'd just want to build the wheel flipped like you said so your kick leg is your right leg.

It would be interesting to make an all-metal treadle that you could unbolt to move through doors. Or at least if welded up make it less wide than any potential doorways.

It sounds like you've been contemplating making one! Also thanks for your input, it is much appreciated.

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3 hours ago, neilestrick said:

Treadle wheels are amazing pieces of machinery, but they only appeal to a very, very small group of potters. Compared to electric wheels, they are big and bulky, physically demanding, and they slow down the throwing process. One must be of a particular mindset about making pots to use one. Most people learn on electric wheels, because that's what most community studios have (they can fit a lot more electric wheels in a studio than kick or treadle wheels), and folks tend to stick with what they know. So I don't think there's much of a market for them. I think most people who want one are happy to build their own.

Yeah, and I think you nailed it with, "most people who want one are happy to build their own." That's what I did! Hahahaha

Thanks Neil for your input. Maybe I'll just have to see if anyone ends up asking me about mine. 

Thanks all! Your wisdom is much appreciated! 

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  • 6 months later...
On 6/17/2020 at 9:57 AM, Hulk said:

Does the layout have to be flipped to turn clock wise?

The  treadle wheels are bidirectional depending  on their initial motion.  For example  I am left handed and  throw counter-clokwise but  choose to trim clockwise. If you perfer to kick with the other leg  the treadle wheel would need to be  assembled with the treadle bar on the  opposite side but could still rotate counter-clockwise and clockwise.

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On 6/17/2020 at 1:44 AM, Bill Kielb said:

... I think if I made one I would really have to go old school and hardwood and clear finish the hardwood just for show.

I choose black locust because it is a strong, dense wood and very durable in regard to moisture decay resistance. It is heavier than most oaks and rivals hickory in strength. I  cut the tree and air dried the  rough sawn boards for several years. Black locust tends to dull blades faster than  other hardwoods such as maple or oak but I believe the results are worth the extra effort.

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