Spinning wheel bobbin

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Project by Chase posted 03-12-2010 11:04 PM 4529 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My girlfriend is big into spinning and knitting. She uses a lot of drop spindles but has only one spinning wheel. It is from the 70’s, and belonged to her grandmother. The company that made them only does looms now and she only has one bobbin for it. One bobbin means you can only ever do one thing at a time with it. So I took some measurements off her old one and made a first replica. Below is a picture of what a bobbin in a spinning wheel looks like.

Example bobbin

They come in all shapes and sizes, and the example isn’t the one I am going for but it gives an idea. The two end pieces were done out of oak on my newish mini-lathe. They turned out pretty well considering they are the 4th and 5th things I have ever done on it. On her’s the center piece is a dowel that was hollowed out and has plastic inserts of some sort to act as bushings at the ends. I would have to drill a dowel from both ends, and wasnt super confident with that idea. I ended up going with copper piping because it was about the right size, easy for me to work with, and fit the spacers well. The plastic bushings on mine are nylon spacers I picked up at the hardware store.

I am going to end up making a small fleet of these things before it is all said and done with, so I might attempt a dowel as the center shaft on the next one. That will require much less JB Weld and look a lot better.

-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.

4 comments so far

View Swede's profile


191 posts in 4518 days

#1 posted 03-13-2010 12:22 AM

If you use a dowel that is larger or a piece of wood, drill the hole through the center then put it on your lathe between centers and turn the outside.

You could make it long enough to make several dowels at once this way and cut them off to length.

Think of turning a pen on a mandrel.

BTW nice job for something that is hard if not impossible to buy.

-- Swede -- time to make some sawdust

View Chase's profile


448 posts in 4526 days

#2 posted 03-13-2010 01:28 AM

Well, I have never tried to turn anything down like that, but I could probably manage. The issue was drilling the hole down the center. It is over 4 inches long, so getting a hole through the center would be a little difficult. Maybe not, maybe i just need to try it. I have a bunch of big poplar dowels lying around, maybe i need to give it a whirl.

-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.

View NoSlivers's profile


210 posts in 4589 days

#3 posted 03-16-2010 01:02 AM

You can pick up a jacob’s chuck for your lathe, then drill out the center of the block/dowel easily enough. You’ll need a drill bit or an extension to get you out past the length of your workpiece. Once it’s drilled out, just part it off. My wife spins as well, so it’s likely that your “honey-do” list resembles mine.

-- If you don't have time to do it right, do you have time to do it twice?

View fred43's profile


3 posts in 1417 days

#4 posted 08-17-2018 07:00 PM

Nice work, chase. PVC pipe works well for the center shaft, and it is much lighter than copper. Depending on your glue choice, you might need to score or drill shallow dimples into (but not through) the outside surface for the glue to grab onto. If you don’t like the tan/white look of the PVC, you can stain and even wood faux grain the surface. See:

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