Feb 072017

Wandering through the market in Marrakesh we came across two guys in a shop taking turns working on a bow lathe. It is operated by using one hand to draw the bow back and forth, spinning the wood. And then a hand and a foot were used to carefully move the gouge to carve out intricate little designs. It was mesmerizing and I stood and watched for a while. I’ve taken two photos so you can see a close up of how it works.

wood turning in marrakech souk on a bow lathe

close up of bow laithe in use in marrakech souk


  3 Responses to “Bow Lathe, Marrakesh”

  1. I also have a lathe. But actually, I am not good at woodworking. But I’m thinking I will learn it very quickly. I want to work like this boy in the picture.

  2. Bronze age technology in the 21st century. The ancient Egyptians used it (I think). Yet again JP, you’ve got someone to be comfortable with a pretty intimate photograph. How much does this lad earn and how many hours is he sat there? I’m wondering if foot deformities could occur and yet he ‘s wearing a football shirt.

    Your photos have so much documentary potential mato. Testament to your character really. This is superb.

    • I’ve got a theory that the use of the lathe here may be more to do with garnering interest in the shop than really producing items for sale. My best guess at what they were making was handles for kebab skewers.

      They switched back and forth between the two of them fairly regularly.

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