Thinning the herd.

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It is time, the wheels are taking over … 2


1after 20 years of collecting, I will be selling wheels from my collection.  They will be on sale on eBay OR Etsy. You can watch here for updates regarding which wheels are for sale and where they have been listed.


Louet S40 Limited Edition Spinning Wheel for sale

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I am a Louet distributor. I purchased this wheel for myself, but never used it beyond setting it up to make sure everything was working when received. More photos of the wheel are HERE. I am offering the wheel FOR SALE on my Etsy site HERE.

Louet produced a limited supply of these wheels to commemorate their 40th anniversary. These wheels are the same design as the original wheel from 1974. Here is the original description for the wheel when it was first released:

For people who like to spin outside (on holidays, with friends or just out there) Louët has developed a spinning wheel that can easily be carried around. The small size (30x40x17 cm) and hat box design makes it very portable. This wheel has one ratio, that is 1:3.6 just like the original wheel. It is a right foot, single treadle wheel with Scotch tension flyer. It has a delta orifice, but the yarn paces through a hole in the flyer so very bulky yarns are not able to be spun on this wheel. The wheel comes with three bobbins and a built-in lazy kate.

Each of these limited edition wheels is signed by Jan Louet and numbered. Only 125 were produced for the 40th anniversary edition.



St-François-du-Lac CPW Elie Laporte builder

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This past weekend I rescued a CPW, Canadian Production Wheel, which showed up on local Craig’s List and which has a distinctive cast iron treadle with cut-outs:  EL. St. Frs.  While there had been much speculation in spinning wheel circles some time ago when the treadle first appeared on a wheel, but no one had been able to ID the wheel.  Sadly, that wheel was missing flyer and bobbin.  My find is intact with the exception of the footman.  While I’ve been in the process of cleaning and feeding the wheel, others have been researching.  We think we’ve found the builder.  24 year old Elie Laporte in the 1871 Census of St-François-du-Lac, Yamaska, Quebec was reported to be a “manufacturier de rouets”.  He reappears in the 1881 Census as “menuisier” (carpenter) and again in the 1891 Census as “fabricant de rouets”.  It all fits.  EL St. Frs

Obviously, by identifying the builder and discovering the span he was working and building wheels we can approximate the date of the wheel.  Elie Laporte was born 27 Nov 1845 and died 2 Aug 1919.  He had married first at age 17 and he and his wife had three daughters.  His wife died after only five years of marriage, leaving him a widower with three young daughters.  He remarried a year later and is listed in the 1871 Census with his second wife, the three young girls, his mother and mother-in-law and his sister all living in the same household.  Since he is already identified as a builder of spinning wheels at that time, it can be assumed that this wheel was built before the turn of the century and somewhere within the range of 1863 (the year of his first marriage) and 1901 (when he is listed in the census as a border which suggests he’d given up his home and shop).  He had relocated to St Bonaventure d’Upton by the time of his death in 1919 at the age of 64.

While it would be wonderful to have been able to narrow the build date even more, I’m thrilled to have identified the builder and to have restored the wheel to it’s purposes, that of being a production spinning wheel.

Laporte wheel Treadle



Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , FOR SALE , My Spinning Wheels , Spinning 
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ebay 2

eBay 4














German eBay import arrives in disarray but after some time on the workbench and some TLC, it has been put to work as a functional spinning wheel.

I saw this lovely vintage Tyrolean Spinning Wheel on German eBay. (Seller photos above.)  I loved the graceful hardwood turnings.  It appeared in-tact; I bid accordingly and won the auction.  But was shocked when the wheel finally arrived and I opened the box.  It looked like the wheel had been dumped in a box and shipped with hardly a bit of packing materials.  It was a jumble of broken pieces.  The photo below was taken right after opening the box (you can see the missing foot).  The packing material you see is all that had been provided for trans-ocean voyage.














The photo below is of the wheel as I attempted to re-assemble it.  One of the uprights that holds up the wheel, a foot and the distaff are broken off.


wheel damage & mountains 075










When I contacted the seller and confronted him with the damage (most of it old as evidenced by residual glue and not the result of poor packing), he acknowledged sawing off the distaff to fit the wheel in the shipping box but sarcastically inquired, “don’t they have glue in the US?” Ugh! My DH (dear husband) went about making proper repairs.  He drilled holes then pegged and glued the separated pieces and pegged the distaff.  I added bamboo “pins” to hold down the wheel.  Then I drenched the thirsty wood with a combination of bee’s wax and orange oil.


Tyrolean Spinning Wheel 046













The wheel was beautifully turned by a master craftsman. Sadly, the builder appears to have had little experience with spinning wheels. The tension knob on the front of the table at first glance appears to be a screw which would move the maiden forward and back to create tension on the drive band. Instead of a spiral pattern of turns, the “screw” is a row of concentric circles. It doesn’t adjust. But, the weight of the maiden alone seems to create enough drag that the wheels spin with plenty of draw. The footman crosses in front of the spinner but to maintain proper alignment, the wheel can not be reversed. The wheel was constructed with apparent purpose to slant. But instead of slanting toward the spinner, it slants away, confounding treadling action.   Despite all the reasons it shouldn’t, the wheel spins and yarn it makes.  Lovely example of a Tyrolean Spinning Wheel.


Tyrolean Spinning Wheel is for Sale.  CLICK HERE


One-of-a-kind Spinning Wheels

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I am writing an article for Fall 2014 Spin-Off Magazine on One-of-a-Kind spinning wheels. I am soliciting photos. I am posting a guide for photo taking and a photo release which need to be returned with any photos.



The wheel below is a OOAK spinning wheel I created from a foot powered dental drill and an antique Victorian door knob and back plates.

Foot Powered Dental Drill Spinning Wheel

CLICK HERE to see Foot Powered Dental Drill Spinning Wheel Video.


Debbi by C. Norman Hicks

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Debbi spinning wheel front

“Debbi”, 1980’s solid brass wheeled spinning wheel from builder C. Norman Hicks rescued from a storeage unit in California has made it’s way to Florida.  Solid oak castle wheel has scotch tension and inovative system for tensioning.

eBay wheel arrived at her new home yesterday (8/15/2013). Little “Debbi” was rescued from a storage unit and seller had no information about her. She was numbered (49) and signed by her builder (C. Norman Hicks). A brown envelop which arrived with her included a Polaroid snapshot (I remember those) labeled Christmas 1981. A receipt for purchase was dated Nov 30, 1981 and signed by the builder. Interestingly both the receipt and the notations on the outside of the envelop number her #50.

The notations (likely by the builder) on the envelop are as follows:

Debbi # 50

Finished 20Nov1981

Brass wheel

Red Oak wood

Clear Lacquer finish

Designed & made by C. Norman Hicks

Yes, that wheel’s not painted gold, it’s solid brass!

I was in contact with a member of the San Diego Creative Weaver’s Guild who was able to supply a copy of a magazine article from Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot (Fall 1974) which pictures Mr Hicks. He was reported to have been an active member of their guild and she’s promised to do a bit of research for me.

There are two sets of roller bearings for the drive wheel and two sets for the flyer. The flyer bearings were frozen. The wheel bearings were stiff. I soaked all the bearings in penetrating oil and removed the old crusted oil and repacked the bearings with white grease. The rubber band providing flexible tension on the bobbin brake was crystallized and was replaced with a spring. I didn’t have a rubber band in the house so I used the spring. Seems to work but may go back to a rubber band for authenticity of design after a trip to the Staples. The flyer rod was slightly corroded and was cleaned and buffed. The flyer itself is bent copper tubing. It appears brass cup hooks were soldered to one arm of the flyer.

The design is interesting. The flyer rod with it’s huge orifice is pressure fitted through two sets of bearings and the pressed board whorls (3) is locked on to the flyer with set screws and an allen wrench. It came with a single bobbin and it would be complicated to change bobbins. I’m thinking the plan was for the spinner to wind off the bobbin. I slathered WoodBeams all over the lacquered wood to clean and feed the wood. There are places where the finished has given way to time but no evidence of water damage or abuse.

The bobbin ends are pressed board and the glue holding them have given in to time as well. I re-glued the separated ends with epoxy glue and clamped to dry. Had to wait to this morning (8/16/2013) to try the wheel. It was a bit stiff at first but the yarn built up in a hurry to my surprise; very fast with little effort. I spun both with my right foot alone and with both. Best effort with the two feet working in tandem. The wheel loosened up and we worked well together.

Half-moon slot and bolt with wind nut on the front are for adjusting belt tension. When you want to change whorls the top section is tilted and thereby the tension is adjusted. For the largest whorl, the top section is parallel to the table.

It’s diminutive size would make it a good traveler, but it’s weight (brass drive wheel) would discourage me from backpacking with it. Very sturdy on its tripod. Well designed and engineered.


Debbi from back



Spinning Wool Singles Inspired by Coral

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , Dying , Hand Spun Yarn , My Spinning Wheels , Spinning , Techniques 
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Seabreeze Spinners’ Inspiration

Beautiful handspun singles spun on vintage Timbertops double flyer chair wheel inspired by colours of the sea and Mushroom Soft Coral.

Deepwater mushroom soft coral (Anthomastus ritteri) off the coast of California, in the Pacific Ocean — Mark Conlin/Photolibrary © (Bing United Kingdom)



Castle Spinning Wheel

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I cleaned up and tweaked castle spinning wheel likely of German origin.  It is for sale on eBay HERE

See wheel demonstrated in video below:


Connecticut Chair Wheel Restoration

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The Connecticut Chair Wheel restoration was taken on after following up a Craig’s List sale for a chair wheel. Seeing the double treadles in the Craig’s List photos, I was certain it was a large contemporary wheel.  However, upon arrival I discovered a deminuative wheel, obviously old, wobbly and in great need of repair.

I had no idea what I had found until after I did some research.  The Spinning Wheel Sleuth was an excellent resource as a starting place.   Notice the offset alignment of the wheels which appears rather unique.  I found even more information in the “text” Spinning Wheels & Accessories by Michael B. Taylor.

Wheel as found and under restoration:

The dried wood responded to “spa bath” of orange oil and bee’s wax:

To stablize the wobble, bushings were fashioned from PVC to replace the damaged wood.

Tweaked & adjusted until all the wheels were in alignment.  Most troubling in the repair process was getting the excellerator wheel belt to work. I tried leather belting but it was much too stiff. Tried webbed belting, again unsuitable. Finally bought a length of belting from a local shoe and leather repair store. I worried about not having enough length; I needn’t have. The leather stretched and stretched and I had to keep cutting the belt shorter until it gained tracktion.







The oiled oak footmen are a replacement. The dark wood is all original.

The “bird cage” was not restored … the distaff was missing arms and the bird cage would have had sticks similar to the bamboo stick I inserted.

The bobbin was missing it’s end cap.  To keep it as original as possible, an endcap was fashioned from plastic nut can lid.

Nuts provide stability to the wheel.  Ancient nut repair was left untouched; it adds character:

Completed wheels photos (click on photo to go to larger image):



Jerry Jensen “the 18” Saxony Spinning Wheel

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Front view of “the 18”

Distinctive reverse view of “the 18” showing the mounted whorls which identifies it as a “Jensen”

During a conversation with Jerry Jensen at “The Spinning Wheel Shop” he told stories about this model. He calls it “the 18” wheel. It was the first wheel model that he built starting back in the 1960’s. It is based on his wife’s spinning wheel that he got for her in 1960. He said that he made refinements based on Elsie Davenport’s book.

Jerry said that he sold the wheels to JC Penny and several furniture stores in the Milwaukee area for $29.99 during the ‘60’s and 70’s. They sold them for $79.99. Some of us can recall that Early American furniture was quite popular then. One of the Milwaukee newspapers ran a feature about Jerry’s spinning wheels. The owner of the Sheboygan Chair company saw this article and offered Jerry the contents of his closed factory. So Jerry said that he borrowed an onion truck, and drove it to Sheboygan to collect chair spindles that would become wheel legs. He said that he made this wheel until the early ‘90’s. So this is probably one of the last of that type.

Underneath, signed, dated and labeled by Jerry Jensen


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