Milling About at Home: Stephen Shursky

Stephen Shursky, a Member of Hanford Mills Museum who has also exhibited at the Dan Rion Memorial Antique Engine Jamboree, on recreating a large flat belt-driven lathe.

“My projects are probably larger than most people’s. I enjoy repairing or restoring antique equipment, but I also like to put it to work.”

Stephen Shursky’s lathe

“I am recreating a large flat belt driven lathe, with a 20″ swing and about nine feet between centers. This is something I have been working towards for years. I cut an ash by the house, sawed it on my antique sawmill, planed the timbers with an antique 20″ planer powered by an antique tractor and flat belt. The lathe bed is two 4x8s and the legs are 4x4s. The legs are assembled with mortise and tenon joints with wood pins.”

“I have some books with antique woodworking equipment I have used for inspiration, like Vintage Woodworking Machinery by Dana M. Batory and American Industrial Machinery Since 1870 by C.H Wendel. I have also been inspired by Hanford Mills which I have been visiting since I attended SUNY Delhi in the late seventies. Also the Hill Sawmill in Duck Harbor, PA, which I first visited in 1980. I grew up in the woods and sawmill working with my Dad, I guess I have sap in my blood.”

“My advice is to have a strong back and proper equipment. Also be able to make parts you don’t have.”  

A wooden fram lathe at Hanford Mills Museum
A wooden frame lathe at Hanford Mills Museum. This lathe has been used for turning posts, columns, ballasters and even rolling pins.