Spinning Wheel From Scratch

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Project by farmerdude posted 11-04-2015 09:21 PM 2577 views 8 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last spring my cousin said she wanted to spin her own yarn, and would I make her a spinning wheel? Sure, I’ll give it a shot. My father found a pattern in Workbench magazine, March-April 1983 issue. I did not keep track of the time I have in this project, I worked on it in spurts over the summer and fall. It is made from Poplar, and Elm. Most of this was turned on my lathe. It’s the first time I’ve turned spindles. I found it to be quite a job to get all the spokes and other pieces turned to match. I didn’t have any thick wood on hand so most of the parts were glued up. I made the wheel, then fine tuned it on the lathe by gluing it to a piece of plywood using a glue/paper joint. To finish the last side of the wheel i made the plywood smaller and used a press fit to keep it on the lathe.

If you get all the spokes the same length, and you drill all the holes the same depth, the wheel won’t wobble like it is out of round.

I found a few things in the pattern that did not work for me so I changed things slightly. I had, or made, all the hardware and various other parts so I didn’t have to buy anything. The washers and some parts of the treadle are made of leather.

Looking back I thought I had taken more pictures, but I guess not. Here are a couple more.!!

This last picture is ( I forget the name) what I call the yarn fetching tool.

All in all it was a fun project even with the occasional frustration. All comments and questions welcome. Good or bad, tell me what you think. Thanks for looking.

-- Jeff in central Me.

41 comments so far

View Hammerthumb's profile


2939 posts in 2332 days

#1 posted 11-04-2015 09:57 PM

That is a really cool project! Thanks for showing.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View waho6o9's profile


8636 posts in 2934 days

#2 posted 11-04-2015 10:53 PM

Congrats on completing an intense project!

View Redoak49's profile


3923 posts in 2345 days

#3 posted 11-04-2015 10:56 PM

I am very impressed with your spinning wheel. Making the spokes and large wheel to run true must have been difficult. Somebody should be very happy with it.

View farmerdude's profile


657 posts in 2396 days

#4 posted 11-04-2015 11:02 PM

Hammerthumb and waho6o9 , Thank you both.

Redoak49, Thank you, it did try my patience but turned out alright.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View BusterB's profile


1970 posts in 2365 days

#5 posted 11-04-2015 11:06 PM

Jeff…on the cool stuff-o-meter..that’s pegging at least a 12 on the 1 to 10 scale. WOW!!! That is an awesome project. In your honor oh great one, I am tossing my lathe out yonder door and vow to never touch it again. Oh BTW, the two seasons mentioned add up to what? Three weeks in Maine? That’s awesome. Some day I can say….I know that farmerdude!!!!

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View farmerdude's profile


657 posts in 2396 days

#6 posted 11-04-2015 11:28 PM

BusterB, stay calm dude, DO NOT HURT THE LATHE! I don’t want to hear about any tool tossing down there. Believe it or not, summer and fall are longer than you might think. We just get more weather swings during that time than you do. Thanks for the comments, and behave yourself, or I’ll have to come down there.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View BurlyBob's profile


6175 posts in 2622 days

#7 posted 11-05-2015 01:10 AM

Jeff, that is a fantastic project. Absolutely heirloom quality. I’m thinking your cousin owes you a cashmere sweater.

View Rockbuster's profile


499 posts in 2965 days

#8 posted 11-05-2015 01:12 AM

This is a project that I have always wanted to try, where did you say that those plans are available?, You sure did a beautiful job on yours

-- Rockbuster,Ft. Wayne,In It is far better to remain silent, and appear the fool, than it is to open ones mouth, and remove all doubt.

View farmerdude's profile


657 posts in 2396 days

#9 posted 11-05-2015 01:36 AM

BurlyBob, thank you. and I agree on the sweater. If it takes her as long to make it as I did on the build I will freeze.

Rockbuster, thanks, the plans were in an old magazine, Workbench, issue is March – April 1983. Something my father had around.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18544 posts in 4033 days

#10 posted 11-05-2015 07:17 AM

Nice work. Is she using it yet?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Colin's profile


174 posts in 1720 days

#11 posted 11-05-2015 07:33 AM

Farmerdude! she’s a real honey (I love the mix of modern (perspex) and Trad. (wood/leather) A friend of mine in the Hebrides finished a spinning wheel his Dad started (but died before completion) it turned out ok but the wheel was a bit wonky – Very dificult, you’ve done a fine job – hats off Dude! it’s going on my fave list

-- Live Forever...............or Die Trying

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3223 days

#12 posted 11-05-2015 01:57 PM

Jeff that is a fine piece of work. Congratulations and what a wonderful gift.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View majuvla's profile


14353 posts in 3224 days

#13 posted 11-05-2015 02:03 PM

Outstanding turning work. You are amaizingly skilled in that. This is a nice piece of textile tool history.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View drewpy's profile


872 posts in 1714 days

#14 posted 11-05-2015 03:03 PM

Very impressive. Strong work, Jeff. I’m glad I took a look.

-- Drew -- "The greatest wealth is health".

View johnstoneb's profile


3099 posts in 2529 days

#15 posted 11-05-2015 04:49 PM

Great looking spinning wheel. I have had plans for that spinning wheel for about 40 years. didn’t have the tools or skill set when I got the plans. I was just thinking about getting those plans out when your project is posted. I have a couple projects ahead but definitely put this on the calendar. Thanks for the inspiration.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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