Fiddler Whirligig

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Project by Dave Rutan posted 05-29-2012 07:49 PM 2700 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Fiddler Whirligig
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[Legebla ankaŭ en Esperanto]

Back about the time that we moved into our house, I got the idea that I wanted to build a whirligig of a fiddler. At the time I had been taking violin lessons and the idea of a fiddle playing whirligig appealed to me. This is before I had any real tools for doing such projects and the extent of the idea never went beyond a drawing on a piece of notebook paper. That piece of paper was tacked to our kitchen bulletin board right up until it was relegated to the attic.

The idea stayed in my head though until recently I started looking up whirligig how-to’s in our local library via the internet. What I found was a book by Anders Lunde which described what tools to use, what materials to use, and basically how to build simple, mechanical, silhouette whirligigs. I thought the book so helpful that I bought a copy via Amazon.

The book was most helpful in describing how to make the propellers and the base for these wind toys. Going against common sense, instead of building one of Mr. Lunde’s designs, I dove in and designed my own. I actually found what became my basic design during a picture search for ‘fiddler whirligig’. I traced it into autocad and made a few adjustments. I created a cardboard pattern to be sure the joints would work properly and transferred these to wood. The wood for my whirligig is completely recycled from stuff I had around the house. The only things I had to buy was a small tap & die set and some brass rod, nuts, bolts and washers.

All I can say is that the dang thing works. It’s cool to see it set into motion by a light breeze. I have three more in progress as I speak, but I’ll leave them to their time.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

7 comments so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3856 days

#1 posted 05-29-2012 07:55 PM

That’s a cuty well done my little grandson Reuben Jay would love this as we here all do.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 2544 days

#2 posted 05-29-2012 07:58 PM


Welcome to LumberJocks , a world of advise, opinions, and experiences, all shared without judgement.

I love Whirligigs and this is a keeper.

Thanks for sharing. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2496 days

#3 posted 05-29-2012 08:04 PM

Now you have me going out and finding a whirylgig pattern to make this weekend1 Thanks for the inspiration. I need something fun!

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View Danpaddles's profile


573 posts in 2583 days

#4 posted 05-29-2012 08:16 PM

I like that! How have you protected the painted parts from the weather? Mine fades if I leave it out too much. and it does not turn well after a rain, I used nylon bushings, they swell when wet.

I may look at that book-

Thanks! Here is what I came up with- notice any similarity to my avatar?

-- Dan V. in Indy

View RussInMichigan's profile


600 posts in 3052 days

#5 posted 05-29-2012 09:27 PM

Change the camera angle and you’ll have the Fiddler on the Roof!

It looks great! I love to see the animated pieces people make.

View Steve187's profile


34 posts in 2599 days

#6 posted 05-30-2012 12:44 AM

Welcome to LJs!
I like the fiddler.

-- Steve (North Louisiana, near Ruston)

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1760 posts in 2460 days

#7 posted 05-30-2012 11:54 AM


My whirligig’s only been out in the weather about a month, but it’s painted with enamel paint and clear coat spray. I used brass rod, nuts and washers. So far I haven’t noticed any performance issues when wet.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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