treadle hammer

Treadle Hammer

What is a treadle


A treadle is a type of lever or gear that uses an individual's stepping action to create mechanical motion. Treadles are used in a variety of products such as sewing machines, blacksmith hammers, and water pumps. These machines typically do not use any electricity so they may be useful in developing nations around the world, or for environmentally-conscious individuals who choose to not use fossil fuels.

A treadle harnesses the kinetic, or motion, energy from the movement of the pedal or wheel. This is transferred into mechanical energy that turns a gear, pumps water, pounds a hammer, or powers a sewing machine. Often, users can regulate a machine's speed simply by regulating the motion of their feet.

Treadles may take several different forms. They may involve foot pedals that a person forces down with either one or both feet. There are also wheels that an individual may kick into motion, such as the one on a standard pottery wheel. A third type of treadle is like the one on a manual-powered sewing machine, where the user's feet rock a pedal back and forth over a center axle. Each of these systems turn gear shafts or drive wheels that, in turn, power the machines they are attached to.

Treadle Hammer

A common type of foot-powered machine is the treadle hammer, often used by blacksmiths to pound heated metal into shapes. These hammers typically provide consistent force for this process. Usually, the foot pedal is pumped by the blacksmith, and the energy is transferred to a gear that forces the straight hammer up and down.

power hacksaw

Power Hacksaw

This started out as references for building a treadle hacksaw, but I couldn't find anything. So the next best thing is a power hacksaw. I saw one at Pyromania in Lafayette, Louisiana where I first decided that blacksmithing was something I wanted to learn and play with.

Treadle Torch

gas saver

Gas Saver

Gas saver mounted on a
stand with the candle light lit

A treadle torch basically uses a "gas saver" attached to a stand with a foot petal hooked to the cut-off lever of the gas saver. For those who've yet to see one of these devices, a gas saver is a thingamabob that is connected between the oxygen and acetylene bottles and your torch. If you hang your torch on the cutoff lever it cuts off the gas, extinguishing the torch flame. The device has a small candle-like flame burning continuously so that relighting the torch is done by lifting the torch off the cut-off lever and using the flame to relight it. Saves a tremendous amount of time and frustration if you're heating with the torch, doing something, heating with the torch, etc.

    Gee Mom, look what else I've found!

"We all do better when we all do better."
       - Paul Wellstone, US Senator from Minnesota (1944-2002)

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