A Guide to Wood Lathe Gear Spindles
There are various sizes available with the variation being in the specific type of material for which the spindle is made. It can be a bolt on spindle or a belt-driven spindle. The following article will discuss the various types of gear spindles available for use in wood lathes.
Bolt on spindles are self-contained units that can be mounted on to a lathe for use. When they are used, the handle will simply slide forward and backwards on to the spindle. A spindle clamp is required to hold the spindle onto the workpiece. There is also the need for a ring nut that fits snugly onto the bolt. The clamp and nut must be strong enough to hold the bolt securely.
Belt drive spindles are ones that will have a standard tension system for driving the drive gear. They are widely used because of their ease of use and ease of maintenance. They do require frequent adjustment, however.
Note: All gear spindles should be lubricated once or twice a year, preferably with automotive oil. Common problems include worn gears and noisy operations. They can also be very expensive to maintain.
Various names have been given to these devices. Some of the more common names include spindle drive, spindle setters, extension wheel drive, belt drive and chain drive. As you can see, it can be confusing for a beginning woodturner.
On to the extension wheel drive system. This is also known as the spiral spindle. The system is similar to the other two systems, but is able to work on long or slender spindles.
The belt drive system is basically the same except that the spindle is held to the workpiece by way of a chain. A push button control is used to operate the chain in a smooth and controlled manner.