Full Chisel Blog

April 29, 2011

Montana Spinning Wheel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 10:24 am

I keep posting about repairing Spinning Wheels and they keep coming in.  This one is from Montana, although it was made in Europe.  Scandinavian, Dutch, not really sure?  It doesn’t look like other Norwegian wheels and it has a unique design.  It is made of birch and birch burl and it has THREE bobbins, one of which is in perfect condition, one of the few in this condition I have ever seen.

I forgot the gnomon, the wheel is 21 inches in diameter.  The photograph below shows the detail of the base, the thick parts are made of birch burl.

Right above the rosette near the wheel are the initials AOS in a serrated border, probably the makers mark.  The shaping and scroll work on this makes it a unique piece.  It was a traveling wheel made to disassemble but parts of it have been glued together.  The nasty damage is on the wheel.

The nasty part is not the break nor the chew marks from a dog, the real nasty part of this damage is the attempted repair with modern glue.  Everyone knows how I feel about modern glues.  The owner is going to try and find one of the tapered spires on the inside of the wheel that had broken off, if not I will turn up another.  The pitman has been replaced and I would like to make a new one that matches.  It is also missing its distaff.

The bobbins are standard repairs except I need some birch burl and the pulley on the whorl is broken in a similar manner due to its endgrain orientation.  One arm of the flyer is broken off, but it is a clean break and will be a fairly easy repair.

Exceptional wheel, I will enjoy doing the restoration work [after I remove the modern glue].



  1. After some help last night at the WoodCentral Chat from Bob in NJ it looks like the wheel was probably made in Finland. The birch wood that is burl is probably Karelian, another indication of its origin.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — May 3, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

  2. Aw Shucks,
    Glad to be of service, Stephen.

    Bob in NJ

    Comment by Bob Entwisle — May 3, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

  3. the scroll work instantly reminds me of a violin; a lovely piece! have you had any sticking issues using the old bobbins? i haven’t found a way to remove the build up of lanolin and other centuries old detritus inside the shaft and find that it will stick while spinning. i’m rather enjoying the various linseed oil treatments; you must purchase it in bulk!

    Comment by anastasia — May 10, 2011 @ 8:03 am

  4. Anastasia,

    That is the first thing I thought when I first looked at this wheel. Looks like the guy may have been a luthier too. Try using warm alcohol to remove the lanolin, if you don’t have chloroform or ether.

    I am trying to find a source of larger quantities of raw linseed oil, so far just one gallon cans from Ace Hardware.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — May 10, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  5. The wheel is Norwegian. I have one from the same maker.

    Comment by renee darley — June 4, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  6. […] This wheel {both are European} has a nasty bent crank and the shaft of the opposite side of the hub is slightly bent as well.  I will finish the repairs to the wheel then straighten the crank and shaft.  Unfortunately I can’t remove the crank so it will have to be straightened in situ.  I will get the help of Mark Schramm, master blacksmith to accomplish the straightening.  See Montana Spinning Wheel. […]

    Pingback by Repairing spinning wheels « Full Chisel Blog — August 25, 2011 @ 10:13 am

  7. […] started documenting the restoration of this wheel here.  There are pictures there showing some of the damage to this nice old […]

    Pingback by Montana Spinning Wheel II « Full Chisel Blog — August 27, 2011 @ 9:46 am

  8. I have a spinning wheel just like this one without the rosetts. It came from Norway with my great grandmother.

    Comment by diane mraz — February 28, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  9. Hi there! Am so excited to find your blog. I recently found and bought an identical wheel in WI. Would love to share photos and info…

    Comment by Lisa — March 7, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

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