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Goyen Ornamental Wood Lathe



Any woodcarver's dream, this incredible ornamental lathe is a stunning example of the very finest quality workmanship. The extraordinary machine is one of just twelve ever made by the hand of William Goyen, a retired railway engineer from Newton Abbot, England, whose lathes are considered among the most exquisite ever made. A highly important tool in the creation of furniture, it is itself an object of beauty and work of wood cutting art. With the tools accompanying this incredible lathe, a skilled cabinetmaker's only limitation is his or her own imagination.


A remarkable piece of machinery, the lathe is the ultimate carving tool that is capable of producing highly detailed objects of exquisite artistry. Set in motion by the large foot treadle, a complicated set of gears produces the power behind the machine. As the lathe turns, an artisan can use a variety of tools, such as gouges and chisels, to shape the wood. The original, ingeniously designed slide rest allows one to move tools laterally along the lathe, while multiple brass gears in various sizes can change the rate of rotation. Intricate decorative carvings cover the lathe and its tools, enhancing the artistry of this extraordinary machine, which would undoubtedly be any craftsman's prized possession.


Lathes have been used since the time of the ancient Egyptians, who first developed a two-person lathe around 1300 B.C.E. A skilled artisan could create everything from pedestals and legs for the finest furniture to simple household items like candlesticks on a well-designed lathe. Pedal-operated models like this were first introduced in the Middle Ages, replacing the hand-cranked model and freeing a craftsman's hands to hold wood-turning tools. With the advent of the Industrial Age, lathes were motorized, which cut down on working time and cleared the way for assembly-line production.


This ornamental lathe is accompanied by an extensive collection of wood cutting tools, including bits, cutters, gears, and chisels, that allow for an endless array of decorative effects. The tools are contained within a matching Victorian cabinet.


Circa 1880








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