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Long Range Thinking

January 13, 2014

griffin start

First of all, before I talk about things with no pictures, I thought I’d show the latest on the griffin.  I’ve learned enough as a carver now to know I need to start with a big chunk of wood and keep removing slowly and thoughtfully.  That’s why this griffin head looks pretty blocky at the moment.  The wing shapes are the start of the new footman rods.  They are much bigger and bolder than any I have ever done so it will be interesting to see them develop.  Now for some strategy planning….

I took a long drive along Hood Canal yesterday and it was one of those times when I was driving alone.  I decided to redeem the time by developing a couple new wheel ideas and the ideas kept coming.  I eventually had to stop and dig out some paper and a calculator to check some figures out.  What we have currently is a very sound design that now features all the adjustments I have been experimenting with for the past year.  And there is plenty of surfaces for me to use for art.  I love working on these wheels and yet I know there is no perfect wheel that does everything.  For quite a while I have been haunted by one spinner’s comments about the speed of this design.  Marie spins FAST and there is no way she will ever buy this model even though she would like to.  So, a faster wheel is being considered.  There are others who want to more easily move the wheels from place to place so a smaller wheel is also a goal.  I realized that both of these are things are possible while still retaining a very similar look and spinning feel to the current model.  But since they represent the ends of my spectrum they would need to become more special purpose machines rather than the full featured model.  For instance the little wheel would not need the orifice height adjustment as it will be a lower wheel.  Amy has found she really likes this feature in our current model because it allows her to very comfortably spin while watching TV from our recliner!  This feature will be missing and there will only be a minimum of space for art.  So I’ll focus on beautiful wood and clean graceful shapes.  Instead of our usual 14″ big wheels, I think I can make this wheel with 10″ wheels.  Huge space and weight gain here!

On the other end of the spectrum is the need for speed so the big wheels will necessarily get bigger while the drive wheel gets smaller.  Plus there  can be cut-outs near the center of the big wheels to keep the weight down since it is pointless to use this surface to contact the drive wheel- too slow!  Also the speed control mechanism can be pared down to a high range only thus saving weight and cost.

With these thoughts in mind and our business being called Olympic Spinning Wheels, I had another train of thought:  model names.  Since the Olympic mountains are close by and have been a huge inspiration over my many years as a painter, I thought it would be fun to call the little wheel the “Foothills.”  Our standard model can now be called the “Timberline” and the fast big wheel can be called “the Summit”.   I just kinda like this.

If anyone has suggestions or warnings about this course, please feel free to respond.  After all I am planning these for you!

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From → Gary's Thoughts

4 Comments
  1. It all sounds good to me!

  2. Janet permalink

    Many years ago when I took some woodcarving classes my instructor said to envision the object inside the wood and then carve away the excess. Looks like you’ve mastered the technique. Love the griffin head. It looks just like the drawing. I look forward to the day when you begin work on my own wheel.
    I like your ideas. Amazing what we can come up with when alone with our thoughts. It’s nice to give people options to suit their spinning needs. Big wheels, small wheels, fast wheels…..goodness, can wheels with fold-up treadles for travel be far behind???

  3. Thanks for the comment, Janet! I worked into the evening on the griffin head yesterday and am just about to put a picture on Facebook for fun. Take a peek in a little while ;)

  4. Janet permalink

    I saw the picture on facebook and it’s beautiful. you do amazing work

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