Spinning Wheel


Several months ago, John Switzer of Black Bear Forge posted a picture on Instagram of his wife’s spinning wheel. The rim of the wheel was made of two pieces and laminated together but the laminations were coming apart. He asked for advice on repairing it and had many suggestions including mine. The wheel was a gift and has sentimental value, which you can’t put a price tag on. My advice was simply to leave the original wheel alone and make a new one that would be usable and offered to attempt to make one.

I had no idea if I would be able to make it or not, but John agreed to send me the wheel and let me give it a try. It is 24″ in diameter with five irregular spokes, made from quarter sawn white oak and has an orange shellac finish.

You can see how the laminated sections are coming apart. You can also see the dowel that holds the spokes in place. 
The sections coming apart are on the same side. There are so many things that could cause this; not enough glue, old glue, wood movement–it’s difficult to determine. 
The hub in the center is a unique challenge. It’s glued to the face of the spokes and matches on both sides. Of course, it has a hole for the axle and a drive hole. You can also see where the spokes meet, giving a clue as to how they come together. 

There are some interesting challenges with working in the round. I’m looking forward to learning some new things and working out the process.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. meanmna says:

    This looks like it would be a cool design for a flywheel treadle lathe.


    1. Eric Key says:

      You’re right, it would be an interesting design for a treadle lathe.


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