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A New Design

November 29, 2015


I’ve been finishing up one wheel, writing with several spinners whose names are next on my list, and during spare moments I’ve been trying to get a jump start on Christmas presents.  Last year I made both daughters new wheels but they only received the plans on Christmas.  The wheels came weeks later.  This year is different!  Both girls love to use their drop spindles.  I felt that it might be possible to make a hybrid Olympic by replacing the bobbin and flyer with a quill and shaving quite a bit of weight off the main machine by only using one big wheel and treadle.  As a way to be even more efficient I decided to take a very early wheel that had been collecting dust and use it as a test bed for all the new ideas.  This wheel was crafted from a variety of woods.  One of my favorites was canary wood.  I haven’t ever used it since.  When I started sawing and sanding the old wheel the wonderful smell of this wood triggered all the vivid memories of making wheels back at that point of my life.  What a pleasure for me!

This wheel is not finished yet but I really wanted to give it to Rebekah as an early present so we could share the process with all you good spinners.  I reached the preliminary test stage just about exactly the time she and her husband showed up at the house yesterday evening.  She latched hold of it in a heartbeat and took it with her before I had the chance to finish it!  You can see that the screws in the hubs are not covered as well as a few other components too.  I just wanted to see if it worked before I went any further.  In this first photo you can see a wooden hood over the sharp end of the spindle.  It is at a dangerous level for humans and pets so this is an important safety.


The other side of the wheels shows off the frame and inner workings.  I’ve often regretted having to cover this woodwork up and this way I don’t have to!  The lighter colored walnut resting on the main frame is the spindle support assembly (coining these terms as I go along).  Pulling a knob out allows the entire assembly to be easily removed for travel or extra safety. For several reasons I won’t get into I was able to use a VERY small drive wheel with this design.  The result is the fastest wheel I have ever made.  Hopefully some of this technology will trickle up to the regular wheels in the future.

So far, after a very brief test period, the results point to a fun new addition to our offerings.  I will use these ideas as a base for building Amy’s wheel next and it will be fun to see how it turns out.  So, any of you out there ever use a machine like this?  Tips and advice are always welcome!






From → Gary's Thoughts

  1. I love to use my Turkish spindles but have never used a spindle on a wheel. Intriguing; I’d love to try it someday!

  2. Janet permalink

    Wow! It’s beautiful. The walnut wood in photo 2 looks like a graceful bird. Maybe you could post a short video someday demonstrating how to spin on this. I for one would love to see it.

  3. Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth permalink

    This is glorious – I adore the beauty of your ordinary* wheels, but I use a spike attachment on my Majacraft wheel much of the time, and I would find this one extremely usable. And the speed would be very handy.

    *for a given value of ‘ordinary’

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