Full Chisel Blog

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.



  1. Stephen, you are going to trim the flyer arms, right? They need to clear both pulleys, like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/citikas/4035288066/in/set-72157622515912801 , otherwise they are going to interfere with the drive band. I apologise bringing this up, but you didn’t mention trimming the arms in the post, so I wanted to make sure that you were aware of this issue.

    Also, the orifice in my flyer is at an angle to the arms (it can be seen in the previous photo if you look at the Original size, but I can send you some photos with better detail if you’d like). This might be a uniquely Scandinavian feature, but it makes sense from the optimal yarn path point of view if the hooks are on the opposite sides of the flyer. I don’t know how you were planning to set in the hooks, so ignore this point if it’s not relevant.

    I’ve been following your blog for a while, and I think that the work you do is amazing. This comment is written with respect, and hope to clarify a couple details that I’m sure you know already.

    Comment by Vaire — September 8, 2013 @ 11:19 am

  2. Vaire,
    You are absolutely correct, in my haste I failed to mention cutting off the wings of the flyer and of course add the appropriate hooks. Thank you for bringing this up in your comments. The hooks will be bent up and the tips filed smooth, the part that goes in the wooden flyer will be flattened to hold them in the hole with a dab of fish glue.

    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — September 8, 2013 @ 11:46 am

  3. Good Morning Stephen,
    I’ve enjoyed your posting of the progress of your flyers. I was wondering if you have any intentions on making a wide armed flyer used on flax wheels such as this…. http://www.flickr.com/photos/93685979@N00/9707285227/

    Comment by Carol — September 9, 2013 @ 7:18 am

  4. Carol,
    Wow that is a wide flyer and if you are interested I can make one for you. Stay tuned.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — September 9, 2013 @ 7:55 am

  5. I’m looking for a U-flyer for my 1850s double drive flax wheel. Dimensions between bearings is 7 inches. Height from table to bearings on the maidens is 4 inches. Is this anything that can be made?

    Comment by Paula Chase — September 30, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

  6. Paula,
    Yes can you send some pictures to stephen@fullchisel.com?


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — September 30, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

  7. Good morning Stephen, I love the photos that you posted. I currently have an antique spindle and the u-flyer “arms” have broken off. Is this something you would make and sell to me? I can email you the photos and measurements or whatever you need. I am lost trying to find a replacement. If you can make this, I would be interested in seeing if you would make a second complete piece for me. Thank you again for the photos. I can see your passion.


    Comment by Candice — May 31, 2014 @ 8:36 am

  8. Oh wow! I just saw this GORGEOUS distaff in your threads. Is this something you made? If not, would you make it? I’m am just amazed.



    Comment by Candice — May 31, 2014 @ 8:45 am

  9. Candice,
    Send me some pictures to stephen@fullchisel.com I can make the new parts you need also the distaff if you are interested.

    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — May 31, 2014 @ 8:48 am

  10. Thank you Stephen for the very quick reply. I sent you an email. I hope that it makes sense.

    Thank you again, Candice

    Comment by Candice — May 31, 2014 @ 10:36 am

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