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A Big Show and Tell

October 6, 2013

After what seems like a very long time all the various elements of the Narnia wheel are coming together.  I borrowed the flyer, bobbin, and hub caps from the swan wheel just for today and scrounged some spacers from spare parts.  But here are some photos that will give you a glimpse of where this project has been headed all these weeks.  The first photo is an overview showing where all the parts fit.  A lot has changed lately.  A main adjustment was elevating little reepicheep to the handle.  He is such an interesting personality it seemed wrong to relegate him to an obscure place, and there was more of a chance for damage down between the treadles and the spinner’s legs. He is secured by a magnet so he can pe positioned to look in any direction.  Below the flyer and bobbin and above the lamppost you can see a brass ring.  This actually is an old key that has become the handle for an orifice hook.  It’s a perfect little addition to this story and a perfect place to put it in its own little holder.

Narnia wheel1

The second photo shows where a lot of new ideas have developed.  When I started working on the wheel, the lion head was as far as I could think.  But I realized that from the back side this was not an interesting section of the wheel.  I did some brain surgery, removed the entire back of the head and created a flat area for a little book.  I felt that this was a place for me to let Marcia have some very important input.  She was assigned the project of selecting four of her favorite quotes from the books and I would put them on the open pages for her to see every time she spins.  Then after the little wooden book was made I realized that a map of Narnia could be painted on the available flat area.  I am very happy with this entire space now as there is so much to consider and enjoy.

Narnia wheel2

The third photo is presented just for fun.  I like all views of the mouse in his coracle and you can see the little book and its pages too.

Narnia wheel3

The fourth picture is a view of the wardrobe door area.  The top knob can be unscrewed to remove the door if the lamp post batteries wear down.  The button at the bottom is the way to illuminate the lamp.  The other buttons are hole covers.  What is fun for me is that I didn’t realize Marcia loved, collected, and used vintage buttons in her own creations.  So she relates to these very happily.  In this photo you can see the orifice hook well too.

Narnia wheel4

The fifth picture is from a very low point of view and shows off Aslan pretty well.  At first I was a little disappointed with the position of his head but now I actually prefer it this way.  The looking down over all the wheel and being the lead part of the wheel gives a sense of being king of his world.  I like that very much.  The head is carved of wood and epoxy putty makes up the outer shell.  Various coats of finish using metallic powders in varnish create a look almost exactly like bronze.  I like this a lot too.  So now its time to refine and test and make the remaining few parts.  Even though this wheel is so complex, it is not as heavy as some I have made.  And even at this early stage of finish it treadles very smoothly!

Narnia wheel5


From → Gary's Thoughts

  1. Susan Dietrich permalink

    I love what you have done. Wish I had enough money to buy it no matter how long it takes. Then I could spin on that magnificent wheel!

    • Thank you Susan, This one is a commission piece so it already has a home. I’ll be happy to build one for you though!

  2. Terry permalink

    I love this wheel so much! I have to say that the Lamp Post is maybe my favorite part! I wish it was coming home to live with me too ;) What quotes did you use?

    • I guess Marcia wouldn’t mind if I shared them. They are:
      “Once there were four children…”
      “No-one is told any story but their own.”
      “There is a deeper magic still…”
      “Let’s go on to Narnia.”

      I’m glad you like this wheel. there’s still work to do!

  3. Mary Lou Hassell permalink

    Absolutely stunning!

  4. Such a beautiful wheel! I am totally blown away by your attention to detail, and creativity! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Tagati permalink


    I just luv the way you utilized the flat space to include a map and a book with quotes (being a major bibliophile!). And to be able to see those quotes whilst spinning is just the cream on the cake.

    Luv the red feather!

    Isn’t synchronicity wonderful! Those buttons and old key are just fab!!! And I totally adore the bronze finish.


  6. sue permalink

    This is beautiful! I wonder if there is some way you could use the energy of the spinning to power the lamppost? Like a bicycle light? That would be cool, I think. How much would something like this cost?

    • Hi Sue,
      I’m glad you like this wheel. we actually had seriously thought about your idea as we designed it. There are several considerations…The first is that anything rubbing on the big wheel will require more effort by the spinner and could be a source of unwanted noise as well. But the main reason we let the idea drop is that you could only enjoy the light while spinning and its effect would mostly by obscured by the spinner’s ankles and feet as well as the treadles as they go up and down. We wanted to make something that along with spinning well would simply be a delight to look at. The LED light in the lamp post uses very little power so it should last for thirty hours of continuous use. And the batteries are easy to change out. We’ve taken it around town and shown a number of people and none of them were spinners. But they loved the C.S. Lewis books and this interpretation of them. I never exactly repeat myself so the cost of each wheel is based on the wood choices and the overall level of complexity. I underestimated the time necessary on this project but some of this was due to all the new untried features that required a lot of head scratching before any woodwork was done. It sold for $2500. I’ll make you one along this line if you want! Gary

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