The Ravens Warband

Wood Turning

Wooden cups and bowls were an essential part of Anglo-Saxon daily life and were used extensively in food preparation and eating. They were made on a pole lathe.

The lathe uses a springy pole to provide the motive power. Press down on the treddle and the workpiece spins. Release and it spins back. You only cut on the down stroke so you have to get into a rhythm where your foot and hand movements are coordinated. Evidence for the exact form of Anglo-Saxon lathes is very limited. Finds of turned items and waste from turning shows they used pole lathe but the only piece of a lathe found is a tool rest stand found at York. This is the notched piece sticking out under the turner's left arm.
It is vital that the tool is supported from the tool rest to get it to cut properly. Here a cranked tool is being used to cut the inside of a small bowl. A close up of the cut shows the ribbon of waste coming away.
The final product is a small applewood bowl or drinking cup. It needs to dry out for a few weeks before being finished with a coat of beeswax.  


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