Sunday, 6 March 2016

Handmade row marker (with a lathe)

Whilst waiting for things to warm up weather wise (it's been quite cold here of late) I decided I'd have a go at making a row marker for the allotment, normally I use two sticks and a bit of string but thought I'd make an upgrade.

Not that there's anything wrong with two sticks and a bit of string.

So after a root around in my wood pile (which is quite large) I found an old pine bed leg and thought that will do nicely, basically my aim was to make a spike (kind of like a dibber) with a reel for the string on the end, easy enough if you have a lathe, but fear not if you don't have a lathe I have also made a row marker without a lathe, which I'll write another post about.

So here's the line marker -

Basic, but functional.
I cut the bed leg down into chunks, rather than put the whole thing on the lathe, using the first section which was already shaped as the spike for the reel.

Wood sorted -

I used this bit to save time.

I marked the centre of the wood -

As you can see it's actually two bits of wood glued together.

And after a short while on the lathe I had my spike, I turned a thin shaft for the reel to sit on, and also drilled out the end so that I could make a cap to hold the reel on with.

Basic shape done - 

Mini jousting anyone ?

Hole drilled for cap -

Probably not the best way to hold this in the lathe.

I used the waste wood from making the spike for the end cap, I made sure the fit was tight enough to hold the reel in place, but not too tight so that I could get it out if needed.

Wood for end cap -

Could have used a smaller bit.

End cap done and in place - 

The cap fits all the way into the spike.
And so onto the reel, using the other part of the bed leg I first cut it into two parts, one part for the reel and the other part to make the peg for the other end of the string.

Wood for reel and peg - 

Plenty big enough for what I need.
Reel almost done -

That knot will cause problems.
Reel spike done -

Not the prettiest thing ever made.
I figured the knot I found whilst making the reel would cause problems, and it did as I was left with a chunk missing from the bottom of it, but it still worked, so I cut a small groove into where the knot was for holding the string, rather than tying it on.

Knot problem sorted -

Similar to cotton reels that have the little slit in them for holding the cotton.

The other chunk of leg was turned into a peg, the idea being you stick the reel end in the ground and the other peg goes at the end of where ever your line finishes.

Wood for peg ready -

Soon to be peg like.
Peg done, I added an eye at the end for the string to attach to -

All done.

Ready for action -

I should have nice straight rows of veg this year.

And that's it, the reel is quite tight so that there's some tension in the line when marking out, this helps keep things straight, I didn't really work out what sizes things should, just worked from eye and made something I know I'll be able to use.

I have added an upholstery pin to the bottom of each peg / spike to protect the wood a little, but to be honest it probably doesn't need them, in my humble opinion it's a good use for and old bed leg, better than chucking it on the fire, I may at some point add a handle to make winding it up easier.

Thanks for reading.

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