Full Chisel Blog

February 9, 2014

Getting down to Brass Tacks

This term comes from the upholstery trade; brass tacks are the finishing touch and final job of an upholstered chair, settee, sofa, lounge, etc. as well as leather covered trunks.  So ‘getting down to brass tacks’ is the last part of the job.


Here is a link to the website selling decent traditional brass tacks.  This link shows about the brass tacks.

brass tacks

My artwork [above] from 1994 was used by the site, I contacted the owner, proved I did the art and he sent me these tacks.  While they are not completely accurate, the originals were cast one piece, these brass tacks are the best available on the market.  They do pass the magnet test, which is a way to determine if the shanks are iron or steel.

If you are making 19th century accurate reproductions such as leather covered trunks, an upholstered piece of furniture or a brass tack knife sheath [the clinch looks correct] these tacks fit the bill.  I highly recommend them.


January 28, 2014

I’ve got Chicken Nuts

Filed under: For Sale or Trade,Hardware,Of Interest,Restoration,Spinning Wheel,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 9:19 am

chicken nuts1

If you own a Canadian Pattern Spinning Wheel you know what I mean, as for the rest of you, it is not what you think.  Size 5/16″ by 18.

chicken nuts2

See Full Chisel Store.


January 17, 2014

Lace Drop Spindle

Just need to put the finish [walnut oil] on this lignum vitae lace drop spindle and it will be ready to go to its new owner, if it is not too heavy.  The first picture I weighed the rough turning and it weighed 2.75 ounces.  The flash on the camera was used on the first photograph.

lace spindle1

After I drilled the hole for the iron wire hook, I cut off the ends and the overall weight is 1.45 ounces.  I like the bamboo motif on the shank and the bell shape at the bottom.  Hook prepared with garlic and glued in with Fish Glue.  Natural light was used in the photograph below, still getting use to my new camera.

lace spindle2

I also have a couple of lignum vitae whorls for larger drop spindles in the works.


October 23, 2013

1805 Turning Bench [Treadle Lathe] Hardware


treadle lathe parts

Hardware for the 1805 Turning Bench has been difficult for those people building this treadle lathe to find, so after repeated requests I am pleased to offer the complete hardware package for sale at a very reasonable price.

treadle lathe mandrel1

The hardware made to the specifications of the plans and include the headstock mandrel with a slight variation from the old plans, newer sets of plans will include the change.  The center part of the mandrel is 1 1/8″ in diameter; 1″ on the original, this change gives a shoulder for the bearings.


The flywheel crank is as specified on the plans and can be keyed to secure on the wheel and is 3/4″ in diameter.


The tailstock crank and locking nut are also the same as on the plans and the square nut is inlet into the wood of the tailstock to prevent it from turning.

Now people will be able to easily complete their own foot powered treadle lathe with this quality hardware.  You can order it from the Full Chisel Store.


October 21, 2013

Casting a Pewter nut into a Wooden Spinning Wheel Whorl

I have had experience with casting pewter into or onto wood; back in 1972 I built a halfstock flintlock rifle and pistol and both had pewter endcaps cast on the end of the maple gunstocks.  So I had every confidence that this would be fairly easy.


The square mortise is undercut on all four edges, so the nut is captured in a dovetail in the maple endgrain of the whorl.


I had to borrow a casting ladle from a friend then melt down some pewter on the stove.  After the pewter was melted I put a rice grain size piece of beeswax into the hot metal to flux out any impurities, then used a wooden stick to remove the dross floating on the surface.



A dam of thick cardboard protects the maple of the whorl and adds thickness to the nut.  I cast the nut onto the shaft [with left hand threads], so the threads are cast into the pewter nut.  I heated up the shaft so as not to shock the hot pewter as it is being poured.



With a hacksaw I removed the excess and smoothed it down with a file, then gave it a bit of burnish.  Spinning Wheel parts available here.


October 17, 2013

Spinning Wheel parts

Just posting a picture to show the progress of the first order.  The customer opted for 2 additional bobbins [saved shipping costs] to bring the total to three.  Still waiting for the machinist to finish up the mandrel, then fitting it up and installing the hooks.

first order flyer8

The three shafts for the bobbins can not be turned until the mandrel arrives for proper sizing of their length.

I am going to cut the square mortise in the whorl a bit deeper and will be casting the pewter nut on the mandrel for a perfect match, will post pictures of this when it happens.  First post on grain orientation.  Parts may be ordered here.


September 12, 2013

New Spinning Wheel Flyers for Sale

Here is the second prototype of the Spinning Wheel mandrel, flyer, whorl, and bobbin made to fit a wheel I need to restore.  The first flyer was for a friend’s wheel which I will be restoring as well.  They are different size as are all flyers.

new flyer6

My flyer is an inch shorter than the other flyer, below is a picture to compare the sizes and both U-shape and V-shape flyers.

new flyer5

Because all flyers are unique and will be custom built to each particular spinning wheel, there is an important measurement that must be provided so the flyers will work properly on the wheel.  See illustration below.

spinning wheel mother of all

Measurement is taken between the two [leather] bearings on the maidens on the mother-of-all.

You can order your new flyer at the Full Chisel Store.


September 10, 2013

The most common missing parts of Spinning Wheels..

are now going to be available to replace the missing mandrel, flyer, whorl, and bobbin.  Cut the wings of the flyer to proper shape and installed the hooks.

new flyer4

Working on the second prototype to help determine pricing.  Should have it finished up by tomorrow.  Will also price bobbins separately.


September 8, 2013

New Spinning Wheel Mandrel, Flyer, Shaft, and Bobbin.

At last I got the entire prototype built and dry assembled and it functions as expected.  The first photograph shows the two shapes I will offer, both U-shape and V-shape flyers.  The flyers, whorl and mandrel vary slightly with each wheel and each complete unit is made to fit existing wheels where these are missing.  A simple measurement between the leather bearings is provided and the assembly is custom made to fit.

new flyer3

The second photograph shows one prototype finished, I am working on the second whorl, the mandrel, and flyer are done and fitted together.  I will roughen up the surface of the metal, wash it with soap and water, then alcohol before etching with garlic.  I will use hot hide glue to attach them together.

new flyer2

The mortise in the flyer is not that easy to make as it is endgrain and the unusual shape of the mandrel makes this a challenge.  I used charcoal to cover the mandrel, which transfers to the mortise to show where wood needs to be removed.  I don’t use graphite as that will interfere with the glue and the charcoal will not.

Will have the pricing soon.


September 5, 2013

New Spinning Wheel Mandrel, Flyer, and Shaft…

and the Bobbin is in the queue.  The mortice or hole through the maple flyer was fashioned to the proper taper and square shape with files and a small carving knife.  The hole for the shaft was drilled before the piece was turned.  This provides a center for the terrorizing turning process, this is a real knuckle duster.

new flyer1

The waste material is removed and the wings thinned down.  This is the first flyer and while I will use it on the wheel I am restoring, the next and future versions will be more of a ‘V’ shape than this ‘U’ shape.  Apparently spinners like the wider flyer shape to get more thread on the bobbin.

new flyer

As you can see from the two different size mandrels that all wheels vary it the spacing of the maidens; the important measurement is between the two [leather] bearings.  I will roughen up the mandrel where it goes through the maple flyer, then etch it with garlic to prepare it for hot hide glue.

The Whorl [double pulley that powers the mandrel] is end-grain maple, with two different size pulleys for two different speeds.  The mortise for the nut was difficult to chop, being end grain and is slightly undercut to hold the nut in place.

The nut is made from some pure tin tubing a friend gave me; I split the tube and hammered it flat, then using a pair of compasses I marked out the size and cut it to shape.  I then drilled a hole and used one of my new/old rinders to make the hole the proper size.

Forcing the left hand threads of the mandrel into the hole and used it to form the threads on the soft metal nut.  I then peened the tin around the edges to expand it into the undercuts of the mortise.

Now it is on to the Bobbins, which are made of three pieces, the ends being end-grain, the V-groove is deep and should be interesting.




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