The Wonders of Lathe

Rounded urns? Gol Gol Pots? Stair Spindles? Bailna (rolling pins)?  Smoking Pipes Aha!! What makes them , them? How can wood be shaped into rounded, smooth and hollow structures of such beauty? Lo it’s the wonders of a lathe machine. . . Found plentiful in the areas of Liaqatabad, Mehmudabad and others in Karachi, lathe machines and their respective workers can be seen turning away solid wood into creative shapes and forms. 

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Lathe is basically a machine which can turn wood or metal into a rounded form with the help of sharp tools such as pointed or flat chisels. It can be either be a floor model, bench model, manual or the popular ones which run with electricity. The desired piece of solid wood is fixed in the machine which rotates the piece at high speeds. As the wood turns and the tool touches the rotating wood, off comes the undesired wood shavings (pretty much flying off in every direction). As per the hand of the artisan, the wood is shaped as desired. Lathes can also drill and bore into wood, the function which allows a vessel or any wood product to be hollow or empty.

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Here in Karachi, it is easy to find lathe workers. With a bit of design sense and the correct knowledge, you can approach the wood working areas where skilled craftsmen are working on lathes round the clock. . . bargaining is the key my friends, in order to produce what you want, one needs to get the right material and be an expert at bargaining rates and labor.

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It’s quite some hard work, as it takes exactness, precision and diligence to create a well formed product while working at a lathe machine. So next time you purchase such a product here in Karachi or anywhere in Pakistan, think about all the sweat and toil put into that one product you are holding; these small, rounded products are such simple wonders.

One thought on “The Wonders of Lathe

  1. Where are you working? I teach at IVs and would be interested in meeting you for an exchange of ideas regarding industrial design prospects in Karachi, Pakistan. Specially from students perspective. My email is

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