Skip to content

Meet Nemo

nemo1

I’ve got a ways to go but felt it might be fun to show off the latest with the steampunk wheel. Kit has officially named it Nemo.  This project has taken me to the limit on many things but it has been a joy to make. Each feature could be a blog post of its own and for details I will wait for the final photos when everything is finished. There is a lot of copper, screws, leather, brass, and , of course with steampunk, the obligatory octopus tentacles.

nemo2

In this photo, starting at the top and going down, you can see the handle embellished with leather and copper tacks, and a copper panel over the sides.  Then comes the tentacles. Below these you can see the speed changing assembly made from a machine used to hand load shotgun shells, a key plate, and some copper fittings.  Below that is the ’51 Chevy tail light which functions beautifully! There are other features not visible in these photos but I’ll showcase them next time.  The good news is that it treadles just fine even before any fine tuning has been done.  After testing it will be ready for steampunk spinning adventures!

 

.

.

.

 

 

Steampunk Happens

steampunk

I’m actually developing two wheels right now but one is beginning to leave the planning and figuring stage and has entered the wood and glue stage.  The frame has come a long way and yet a lot remains to be done.  I’ve been wrestling with how to marry a spinning wheel with parking light from a ’51 Chevy.  When finished this will light up and in case the wheel decides to race across the carpet, it will at least see where it is going.  The frame is flanked by the two treadles.  They are the result of another strange marriage – that of cherry wood and pieces of a vintage pudding pan. Oh, and some roofing nails put on just for grins. I get a kick out of how these are coming. Kinda like giant sandals for walking on snow!  Tomorrow I will decide between using a vintage juice squeezer and a brass ashtray for the ends of the treadle axles.  What fun!

A note to those of you who missed the last post.  I won’t be taking deposits for new orders as of the first of March.  If you want to place an order please check out the last blog post for details.  Thanks so much!

.

.

 

Steampunk Time!

steampunk

I’ve been eager to start this wheel, especially since I’ve been collecting odd little pieces of metal for months. And this wheel represents quite a challenge as I need to make these pieces more than embellishments. They need to perform functions whenever possible.  At the top, to the right of the orange handled scissors, are two copper shapes that will cover the handle. These came from the bottom of a vintage pudding pan of all things!  And from the top part of this pan will emerge toe shrouds for the treadles!   There are car parts, fence parts, a soap dish, and even elements from a device used to load shotgun shells.  Ah, what fun!  I’ll show more photos as things progress. Stay tuned.

.

.

 

Final Egypt Photo and Some News

egypt

The Egypt wheel is in the finishing stages.  Some touch up varnish, paint and a few bobbins and it will be ready to test. The color on the treadle is not really yellow – it is a rich cherry color.  My camera is getting older, just like me. With this thought in mind, I feel it is important to make an adjustment in the way I produce wheels.  For the last few years I have been building wheels on commission almost exclusively.  It has been a wonderful ride and I have learned so much from all you spinners who have trusted me with your dreams.  Right now I have orders that will likely keep me busy for almost a year and a half.  It has been  the closest thing to job security I’ve ever had!  I’ll be getting pretty close to seventy years old about then, give or take a year or two.  The only down side is that I need to work almost every day so that I can keep with a schedule and make my spinners happy. Also, the orders do keep coming in and I have felt it just isn’t right to keep people waiting so long after they have put down a deposit. As of the first of March, I won’t be taking deposits on new orders.  If you want a special wheel based on your dream, you can contact me and get your deposit to me before the beginning of March. If this is too soon for you to commit to a wheel,  please email me any time and I will add your name to my new  wish list of all those who would like to have a wheel. This does not  create a contract like I have with spinners now.  When a time comes for me to consider your wheel, we can talk.   None of this is to suggest I’m retiring.  I will still head to the shop every morning and do it with joy and excitement.  But I may not head there quite as quickly.  There may be some detours along the way. Enough said.  Thanks so much for all your support.

.

.

 

 

 

Back to Egypt

wp_20170114_13_34_22_pro-2

Finally this wheel is ready to show even though it still has no flyer assembly, knobs and such.  It has been a delightful project and, as usual, I had a chance to learn about the art of people who carved and painted many years before I came along.  It is an honor to borrow their ideas and craft a wheel that might have felt at home in their world. The lion figurehead is based on the goddess Sekhmet, who had a lion’s head and a woman’s body.  The little bird head at the other end of the handle is patterned after the same sort of carving on headdresses worn by royal women. The main wheels echo the feeling of the elaborate necklaces these people wore.  In the center of each hub I sculpted a scarab beetle.  I still have a bit of refining to do and some more art to add but it is coming along!

wp_20170114_13_34_51_pro

Another view of the wheel. The lion head was meant to resemble carved stone but fortunately is much lighter than stone!  The red wood elements are made from padouk, which is an African hardwood.  Perhaps the ancient Egyptians got their hands on some of this wonderful wood too through trading with inland people.  It will mellow and darken a bit in time. Lomoar sent me some of her special stones to use on this wheel.  You can see how I have used them in the toe end of the treadles.  I’ll use more on knobs and other places I hope.  That’s about it for this time.  I’ll post photos of the final wheel just as soon as I can locate a local sand dune or pyramid.  Kinda hard to find in Port Townsend in January!

 

.

.

 

New Things

egyptian1

Its been a busy Christmas time for us and a wonderful time with family.  During spare moments I have squeezed in as much wheel work as possible.  Here is the beginning of a new wheel.  The theme is Egyptian.  It represents an opportunity to do a bit of study in an art style fairly unfamiliar to me.  My son-in-law gave me a wonderful three blade carving knife and it inspired me to tackle the chip carving you see on the wing shapes on the front leg.

egyptian2

Here is a close up of the front foot.  This should be a striking wheel.  Stay tuned for more reports!

chess

This is one of my Christmas projects.  Kirk, my son-in-law, gave me the knife and I gave him a chess board I made for him.  Round pieces of Peruvian walnut and hard eastern maple are sandwiched between panes of glass.  Sapelle (a wood akin to mahogany) creates the surrounding frame.  I don’t think he’s tried it yet but it is pretty to look at nonetheless.  I guess that’s all from this end.  I hope you all are enjoying these winter days and I am wishing each of you a Happy New Year!

 

`

`

 

Something Old and Something New

saphira1

One of my early wheels has completed her extreme make over and was shipped today.  I have learned so much over the years building these wheels.  I deeply appreciate you spinners who have commissioned and inspired me.  You have caused me to stretch and grow.  A remodel project like this is a very personal chance to compare the man I was with who I am now.  (Still crazy after all these years!)

saphira3

Here is the other side.  This wheel has a grace and elegance about it that only came about because it was built onto an existing foundation.  The placement of the dragon and the brace above the front leg are things I would not have done otherwise.  I hope Kelly really enjoys her new wheel.

wildflower

Christmas is fast approaching and my daughters know what to expect.  Another wheel from the old man.  For me, it is a great opportunity to explore new ideas.  Rebekah had wanted a kick spindle and I spent a lot of time building one.  It is quite handsome but I just am not happy with the way it performs.  The need to split your attention between the hands and the kicking just seems uncomfortable to me.  And the speed is pretty slow as well.  Since the speed directly corresponds to the kicking, there is no other way to accelerate it without kicking madly.  And Rebekah was not comfortable with the way the spindle pointed off to the side.  So, we brainstormed and came up with a new little wheel.  It is a bit smaller than the Foothills from last year and there are some distinct differences.  The Foothills has a speed changer but no ability to change the orifice position.  This one has no speed changer but the flyer does rotate from a spinning position to a straight up position.  The flyer can be removed and replaced with a spindle in this upright position .  Rebekah thinks that she will like this arrangement.  I still have to  make the spindle before we can test the idea.  We will let you know if it proves successful and if you have thoughts or ideas for it, I will love to hear from you.  Tentatively this wheel has been named the Wildflower.

This is the weekend Amy promises to get busy on rebuilding our website. Sorry for the delay.  In the meantime if anyone wants to contact me, please email me at olympic.wheelmaker@gmail.com.  Thanks for reading and if you don’t hear from me again soon, I hope each of you has a wonderful Christmas and a great holiday season!

.

.