Newbie type question about turning screw threads

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Forum topic by Abter posted 02-08-2018 04:45 PM 800 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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79 posts in 1479 days

02-08-2018 04:45 PM

I am repairing an old spinning wheel my daughter bought at an estate sale (I wish she would stop doing this…its her third one in a year ;) It is in darn good shape for a 19th century wheel which obviously has a lot of miles on it, but it still apparently needs some of Dads humble woodworking skills.

The only relevant part that is missing is a wooden screw that adjusts the tension on the heart of the spinning mechanism (known as the Mother-of-All). The “nut” part is there and in fine shape, but the screw is gone. Hence this question, which is probably an easy one or has an answer obvious to one and all…except me.

I am not quite sure how to measure the pitch of the screw. I plan using calipers to measure the small inside diameter of the female hole (aka the “nut”), as well as the large diameter to get the screw thread depth I need. I would rather not result to my usual approach: make a prototype that will be turn out too large, make the next prototype which will no doubt be too small, and iterate until it is either close enough or I get frustrated and start over.

I don’t have the nut in front of me, but the hole is about 1” or 1.25” dia. Enough room to measure things at least.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

-- "Many men fish all their lives without ever realizing that it is not the fish they are after." {often mis-quoted as by H.D. Thoreau}

7 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


2891 posts in 2986 days

#1 posted 02-08-2018 08:53 PM

I have not used either of these kits but if end up having to make new complete parts might be worth a look. Do shop around for best price if decide to go this route.

You might like this kit if they have your size thread. Need a router with ths set. Have second video worth watch too.

This style has been around for long time and once lot cheaper than now. tap&searchmode=2

Some turners here use something like this for making face plates and other accessories.

-- Bill

View PCDub's profile


209 posts in 1096 days

#2 posted 02-09-2018 12:40 AM

If you can’t figure out how to measure the pitch, you could buy one of those kits and make a new nut to match your new screw!

View Abter's profile


79 posts in 1479 days

#3 posted 02-09-2018 05:32 PM

I’m going to try to make it with a router-based method from youtube. “Cutting Wooden Threads” at Very simple jig; low tech and probably out of scrap lumber. Just my sort of approach; I’m a cheap (sorry…cost conscious) SOB ;)

-- "Many men fish all their lives without ever realizing that it is not the fish they are after." {often mis-quoted as by H.D. Thoreau}

View Wildwood's profile


2891 posts in 2986 days

#4 posted 02-09-2018 09:09 PM

You might shoot this guy an e-mail expining the problems you are having. Asking for help & advice!

You might get away with using a metal threaded rod and metal nut and just making a handle. From what I gather the mother of all use to adjust tension not exactly sure. Not all spinning wheels have a mother of all just not sure how they work or maybe called something else.

Looked several video’s including one you posted and sure looks like a lot of hard work. Can tell you from experience don’t want to use soft woods because threads do crumble. Tried hand chasing threads & CA glue method and not very impressed.

I would take my parts to a maching shop and ask them to measure the threads.

-- Bill

View Snowbeast's profile


140 posts in 2190 days

#5 posted 02-09-2018 09:49 PM

This may sound a bit odd but just may work.

Wrap a small cylinder of modeling clay in plastic cling wrap and press it into the threads on about 1/8 – 1/4 of the inside diameter of the nut and then gently lift it out. Even if you cannot get it all the way to the bottom of the threads, you should at least be able to measure the pitch. Then try it again with a smaller piece of clay to get the depth of the threads.

Or make a screw/nut set to your own specs and turn the nut down to a thin walled sleeve that can be glued into the bored out hole of the original nut. This would best be done with some good hardwood to keep the threads intact.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2681 posts in 1014 days

#6 posted 02-09-2018 10:39 PM

Just to clarify the part in need:

there is a whole assembly for sale on E-Bay for $70 if you wanted to keep the authentic look.

I have a Wood Threading tap and die that takes a 1” dowel and makes a 1” x 6tpi screw.
if that is the size you need, I can send you one and you can turn the main body on a lathe.


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Abter's profile


79 posts in 1479 days

#7 posted 02-21-2018 12:50 AM

John. That is amazing! I’m a big ebay guy, but never even thought of searching for such a part on ebay.
This is the wheel I’m working on

someone made a replacement piece…but didn’t get it quite right
The horizontal spindle is the piece they made

Nice handle, but SURPRISE…no threads

I need to make a replacement for that spindle with threads to work with this threaded hole.

This is a good learning project for me. Making the overalls spindle, getting a nice handle on it, and the over all length and diameter are just my speed. I ‘m going to try one of several router table based methods I found to cut the threads. Lots of cheap pine as test projects coming up !

-- "Many men fish all their lives without ever realizing that it is not the fish they are after." {often mis-quoted as by H.D. Thoreau}

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