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Final Nemo Photos

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We have been working hard to get Nemo ready to ship.  Yesterday we braved a snowy/ rainy/ cold day to take a few final photos and produce a DVD for the spinner.  We thought of photographing this wheel against the steel bunker doors but it just seemed too bleak and stark.  So, with Alexander’s castle as a back drop, here is the finished wheel. One nice addition is seen between the bobbin and the handle.  It is a little “holster” that carries the orifice hook.

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These black background photos are fun so here is another for fun.  Above the treadle you can see what used to be the cap from a chain link fence post.  I thought of leaving these dull grey but then realize I could do a sort of globe effect just to add another dimension.  It also adds a touch of color and ties in with the wing style footman rods.

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None of the other photos shows the little pocket watch nestled in its cradle above the treadles.  This way a spinner can keep track of the time if desired while spinning.  I will send along a small chain if she wants to attach the watch to the wheel.  Just a way to add a personal touch if Kit wishes.  I guess that’s it for this project.  I love this wheel and will miss its massive personality around the house.  Kit also owns the Sherlock Holmes wheel so they should make fine companions.  Thanks for looking!

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Spinning Wheel Logger

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Years ago when I was young and strong I worked a couple of season for the Forest Service in Alaska and later worked a bit in the woods doing other jobs.  I look back happy to have those memories and yet I am glad that my job now is to build spinning wheels.  I get so much pleasure making beautiful things that add a bit of joy to spinners’ lives as they in turn make beautiful things that amaze people like me.

But I still get out in the woods.  Maxine and I take walks with our dog regularly at a local park.  Even though our loop is the same, every walk is different, depending on the weather, season, or what changes storms have brought.  One of the big madrona trees took a hit from a strong wind and dropped a huge branch right off the trail.  I noticed so much wonderful gnarly twists and shapes.  Just what I have been hoping to find since I posted a few photos of a wheel I am building that features a marriage of regular lumber and this wild and crazy natural stuff.  I managed to secure a permit to harvest the wood and this is my first “logging truck” load of wood.  Now to wait for these beauties to season!

On another note, I have been encouraged to remind readers that this is the last day I will be taking deposits on commission work.  Quite a number of people have secured places on my work list so I will be a busy guy for many months.  If you have a dream wheel that needs making, please let me know. Just a gentle reminder.  Thanks for following my posts!

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Meet Nemo

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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.

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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!

 

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Steampunk Happens

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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!

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Steampunk Time!

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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.

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Final Egypt Photo and Some News

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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.

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Back to Egypt

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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!

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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!

 

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