Full Chisel Blog

October 30, 2013

Gratuitous Spinning Wheel Flyers & Bobbin Picture

Filed under: Documentation,Historical Material,Of Interest,Spinning Wheel,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:18 pm

I just couldn’t resist shooting this picture, I probably won’t have that many flyers and bobbins in the same place and same time again.

all of my bobbins

You can order spinning wheel parts here.


October 28, 2013

Hide Glue in America, 1608

“With the sineyews of Deare, and the tops of Deares horns boiled to a jelley, they make a glew that will not dissolve in cold water.”  John Smith Virginia 1608

October 27, 2013

Spinning Wheel Flyer, first order completed

The first order for a complete Spinning Wheel Flyer, mandrel, whorl and bobbin is finished together with two extra bobbins [customer saved on shipping] and it will be ready to mail out the first of the week.

You can order Spinning Wheel parts at the Full Chisel Store.

Before gluing the mandrel into the flyer, I used a cold chisel to upset a series of burrs on the edges of the square part of the mandrel to help secure it to the maple flyer.  I then washed it down with alcohol to remove any residue of the charcoal I had used to fit the mandrel to the hole.  Don’t use graphite as it can interfere with the hide glue or in this case liquid fish glue from Lee Valley.

first order flyer9

I also used alcohol to clean the inside of the tapered mortise in the maple flyer to remove any charcoal remaining.  I then etched the metal mandrel with a fresh clove of garlic and glued it together.

finished order

I had marked out the flyer to length, cut off the excess and then installed the dozen wire hooks.  I flattened them where they go into the maple to prevent them from turning.

Fun project and I hope a happy customer.


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.


October 14, 2013

Hot Hide Glue Pot – with a twist

My friend and master woodcarver Richard MacDonald picked this up at the swap met yesterday and he didn’t even beat the guy down on the price.

glue pot1

At first we couldn’t figure out why it had keyways and keys to orient the inner glue pot in the outer water jacket?  One direction and the glue pot bale handle is at an angle with the water jacket bale handle; the other direction the handles are on the same plane.

glue pot2

It is marked on the tag ‘made in England’ and is marked 6/0 and BH in a diamond on the water jacket and 6/0 on the glue pot, with long sprues on each pot.  Someone has also painted it with aluminum colored paint and all of this for $2.00.

glue pot3

Then it occurred to me why it was designed this way and it is brilliant.  Anyone who has ever heated up hot hide glue on a stove, knows that it can boil over, requiring you to remove the entire glue pot from the heat as it will continue to boil over.  However with this design you simply lift the inner glue pot up, give it a bit of a turn and put it down on the key lugs on the underside of the inner pot.  It continues to keep the heat and does not boil over.

glue pot4

Very clever idea.  When I redo Hide Glue – Historical and Practical Applications, I will include a picture of this unique gluepot.


October 7, 2013

Spinning Wheel Flyer – grain orientation

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.

first order flyer3

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.

first order flyer4

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.

first order flyer5

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.

first order flyer6

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.

first order flyer7

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.


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