Water Wheel -- 36"

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Project by WoodMangler posted 12-09-2009 09:58 PM 5320 views 17 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a 36” diameter water wheel that I built this past summer. Next summer it will mounted against the end wall of my 10 X 20 ft. “Grist Mill/Garden Shed” as part of a water feature we are adding to our back yard. Water will spill over the wheel, run down a multi-tiered water fall and into our 10 foot diameter pond. The pond is yet to be built. Water will then be pumped from the pond through a filter box inside the “Grist Mill” then pumped up to once again spill over the water wheel. The wheel is for show only but, I suppose could be coupled to some sort of work load. It turns very freely. A cup of water will turn it and just a drizzle of running water gets it to spinning quite fast.

The wheel is made primarily of Western Red Cedar and Doug fir. I was going to use 100% wood in the construction but opted to mount it on a 1/2” steel axle and ball bearings. The bearings are mounted in wood pillow blocks that I made as steel pillow blocks are prohibitively expensive.

I burned the grain of the cedar to darken it then put multiple coats of hot linseed oil on the entire wheel to seal it.

It was a fun project that took a total of about two week to complete.

This is my first posting of a project so bear with me if I goofed.

-- Idaho WoodMangler

15 comments so far

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 4393 days

#1 posted 12-09-2009 10:08 PM

Cool project….I hope to see the yard with it spinning away.
Thanks for sharing

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23765 posts in 3713 days

#2 posted 12-09-2009 10:17 PM

Hey that is really cool. It looks like a lot of work. I wanted to build one of them someday but we have no place to use it.

Great Project!!!!!!!!!!.................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View DuaneEDMD's profile


115 posts in 3961 days

#3 posted 12-09-2009 10:27 PM

Very cool. Love it.

-- --It's not how long you live, but how you live that makes it a life.--

View kenscraft's profile


37 posts in 3955 days

#4 posted 12-09-2009 10:43 PM

Love the way you made that project and the texture of colors are just great keep up doing what you are good at, and this looks like what you really are good at, so don’t stop.

-- Kenscraft, Caboolture q.l.d....

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3723 days

#5 posted 12-09-2009 11:02 PM

love it ain´t bad at all
now in the name of that earthclima top meeting wee have here in Denmark you have to find aut how much electricity do your waterpump use and then ad a magnet powersystem (as a winmille)to it so done correct you will have some free power


View littlecope's profile


3076 posts in 4110 days

#6 posted 12-09-2009 11:14 PM

Great Job, my Friend!! I think Dennis is onto something there… maybe you could attach a generator, produce power to run the pump, which will pump the water to produce more power, etc… No, I don’t suppose that would work… :)
Welcome to LJ’s!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4769 days

#7 posted 12-09-2009 11:48 PM

Rick wants to build a water wheel for our little pond.. we might be asking for tips, once he gets around to making his.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3723 days

#8 posted 12-09-2009 11:50 PM

littlecope I wasn´t kidden I do think there are some seryosly stoff abaut magnet´power on youtube and on the net there is even a serios campagni in france who has make a car that´s running on compressed air


View littlecope's profile


3076 posts in 4110 days

#9 posted 12-09-2009 11:59 PM

I’m terribly sorry, Dennis, I was not making fun of your idea, I think it is a very good idea…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3969 days

#10 posted 12-10-2009 01:26 PM

Nice design and finish…well done.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4565 days

#11 posted 12-10-2009 02:37 PM

I love it! Nice work…I like the look and material choices. That would look cool in my backyard!


View WoodMangler's profile


2 posts in 3698 days

#12 posted 12-10-2009 03:30 PM

The fun part of this whole project was joining the 16 cheek pieces of each rim and getting them to close together to form a perfect circle. After many dry-fittings to make sure I had it right I opted for biscuit joinery then sucked all the pieces together with a band clamp and a little tweaking with a mallet. I used Titebond III for all gluing. I’ll let you know after a year of water on it how well that idea works. Hopefully the linseed oil sealed it up well enough so the whole thing does not swell up and explode. As the wheel will be idle during the winter months I am thinking an annual coating of linseed oil might be a good preventive treatment. Or, if somebody has a better idea…..

Dennis, I like your idea of the windmill but we have very little wind here.

-- Idaho WoodMangler

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3803 days

#13 posted 12-10-2009 06:56 PM

Really hope it holds up well with the water. Would be a shame if so much work was gone to waste after one season. Do a repost next year. I would love to see how it looks then.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4382 days

#14 posted 12-11-2009 02:24 AM

Very nicely done. You did a great job on this. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View GaryCN's profile


435 posts in 4543 days

#15 posted 10-04-2019 12:04 AM

I just did a similar project but it used 6 segments at 60°, a challenging project for sure. Good job, I also used RS Western Red Cedar.

-- Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

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