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Project by Stonekettle posted 08-26-2014 02:22 AM 1848 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Bobbins – or what I did with an hour of my afternoon.

A spinner at the Alaska State Fair asked if I could duplicate the bobbin for her antique spinning wheel.

That’s it, the original piece, in the back of the picture there. She only had the one – and since the wheel was handmade in Canada long ago, it’s not like she could just order up another from Amazon. These things are hardly stock items in standard sizes, at least for the antique wheels anyway. I’ve got no idea what the original is made from, some kind of softwood, spruce maybe. It’s been broken and glued back together so many times it looks like a jigsaw puzzle on close examination.

I made her two new bobbins. You can see the first finished and laying on top of the rough components for the second one. The new ones are made from maple and have brass bushings so they should last at least as long as the original. The finish is Mahoney’s oil wax.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

5 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4626 days

#1 posted 08-26-2014 04:46 AM

Have to show that to my wife, she is a spinner. Not a rare thing, but not a common thing anymore.

Gadzooks, if I get a lathe, I may have too many projects to do…...............(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View atchison32's profile


153 posts in 4374 days

#2 posted 08-26-2014 12:51 PM


View SpindleMaker's profile


39 posts in 3171 days

#3 posted 08-26-2014 01:53 PM

Way to go! In our Yarn and Fabric shop, we restore and sell antique spinning wheels (and other wood, fiber-processing items). The flyers and bobbins are often missing or unusable. Turning a bobbin seems like a simple task but working with the tolerances needed adds another level of difficulty. I like the idea of the brass bushing. I may steal that one.

-- Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 4366 days

#4 posted 09-16-2014 04:10 PM

Spindlemaker, in this case the bushing required was 7mm ID – which simplified things since 7mm brass tubes are the most common pen barrel size. As a pen turner, I have hundreds in stock so it was a simple matter to bore the hole using a centering jig on the lathe, then inserting the 7mm brass bushing. Then the bobbin can be finish turned on a pen mandrel. Easy.

I’ve done other spindles with larger axle sizes, typically 3/8” for American made wheels. Those I usually use standard aluminum stock from the hardware store. These can also be turned on a pen mandrel using the appropriate sized pen bushings to center and mount the piece.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

120 posts in 3312 days

#5 posted 12-17-2014 04:10 AM

Looks just like this one I just finished working on.

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

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