Full Chisel Blog

November 22, 2014

New Distaff for an old wheel

My friend and Master woodcarver and turner Richard McDonald picked this wheel up at a local flea market.  It is in excellent condition and appears to have never been finished, it is ‘in the white’.

wheel1

All that was missing was the distaff and the pitman (footman) needed to be replaced.  I designed the new distaff and pitman from turning details on the original, Richard turned the pieces and I assembled the parts.

wheel2

wheel3

I got very little spring back or recovery from the bent dowels.

The ribs are 1/8″ diameter birch dowels, the rest of the wheel is also made of birch.  I made a bending jig, boiled the 5 dowels, hoping to get 4 good ones in boiling water for 20 minutes, clamped them to the jig and carefully and quickly bent them to shape.  I allowed them to dry overnight and as expected I had one failure, but the four turned out fine.

wheel4

I drilled 1/8″ holes in the distaff at the proper angles and spring the ribs into position.  I will glue them in place with hide glue.

wheel5

No finish on this piece, still have the pitman to finish.  This wheel will be for sale when it is completed.

Stephen

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