Full Chisel Blog

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.





  1. Wonderful work, and I eagerly await the outcome as flyers are a welcome commodity. However, you note that you will switch from the U shape to a V shape. Would the U shape be available on request, as most antique wheels use this style? While I am interested in bringing antique wheels back into spinning condition, I would also like to have an accurate-looking flyer. I would be happy to photograph several different flyer styles or trace them for templates; that way, you would have a range of correct styles to match whatever wheels come your way.

    Comment by Kat Crippen — September 5, 2013 @ 9:53 am

  2. Kat,
    I have samples of both shaped flyers and will offer either on request.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — September 5, 2013 @ 9:56 am

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