This is my first order for a custom made spinning wheel flyer, mandrel, whorl, and bobbin[s] for an existing wheel. The owner sent photographs with a measuring tape and confirmation of the distance between the leather bearings. They can be ordered here.
While it may look like this is just using up some useless scraps of maple with nasty knots, this wood was chosen because of the knot and the way the grain runs in the board. The grain runs around the knot in such a way as to follow the pattern of the U shape of the flyer. It is also a great use for useless scraps.
The wood, in this case hard maple, for any flyer should be flat sawn and not quartersawn for proper grain orientation for maximum strength; no short grain as would be presented if the board was quartersawn.
A hole for the mandrel is drilled in the end of the board, a corresponding hole is made in the opposite end, and are used to center the wood on the centers of the lathe. Excess wood is first removed with a saw then it is turned on the lathe. This can be a harrowing experience as the flat board flies past ones knuckles at an alarming and distracting manner.
Because of the unusual grain around a knot the finished flyer off the lathe has some nasty splits along a couple of edges, but because the ends of the flyer are tapered thinner, this can be ‘easily’ planed off, then scraped with a card scraper.
After raising the grain with water, I scraped it again and it is ready for the mandrel being made by a machinist friend of mine. Now it is on to making the hooks and the soft metal nut in the whorl.