Frankenstein’s spinning wheel

Since I’ve graduated from ArtEZ University of the Arts, I lost access to some handy tools for making textiles. One of these thigs being a spinning wheel. I still have quite some flax and wool laying around which I would like to spin to give it a new use, but first I need the tool for doing so and I am too lazy to do it with a drop spindle. I’ve made one myself half a year ago but it’s just too tedious for me to work with it. I can really admire people who love this method.

The Frankenwheel (with the bobbin already removed, see below)

However, I found a free spinning wheel online (supposedly double drive – yes that’s relevant info) and went to collect it. The person giving it away already warned me that it “needs to get looked at”. Little did I know that this spinning wheel is more an optical interpretation of a spinning wheel than an actual working tool! My guess is, that the person building it, just had picture references of spinning wheels to work from which lead to how I call it “Frankenwheel”. I could easily fit the treadle of the wheel, the part where you push with your foot to make it move. A screw was constantly hitting the floor which obstructed the movement. Now it can run easily, however you can’t spin!

The spindle / flyer construction just doesn’t seem to make sense at all. Basically it’s nonexistent. I am trying to fix it through 3D printing additional parts at the moment. But the more I work on it, the less hope I have that this will actually work out, the entire thing just seems to be off. It starts to look easier, to just build an enitrely new one. This is kind of a sad revelation, because I am always hoping to recycle, upcycle or use old tools but this case seems a bit hopeless. Below you can see which parts are missing entirely and that the whole dimensions are off.

on the left: Double drive spinning wheel at History museum of Truskavets , photo by Andrew Butko

on the right: Frankenwheel without flyer, drive wheel or orifice. Basically just a spinning bobbin!

I started to work on the spindle with my dad, turning some wood for the orifice, but I am not so satisfied with the result yet (too rough). However, I am quite happy how the 3D printed parts turned out. Not sure about the next steps yet. If you still think “I have no clue what you’re talking about” check out this website about the parts of a a spinning wheel or this video where someones spinning (amazingly white) flax.

The more I work on it, the less I believe the wheel can be fixed (without replacing many parts). On the positive side, I’ve learned a lot about the construction of spinning wheels and their parts. As much as I’d like to cherish someones artistic interpretation of a spinning wheel, I need a working tool. Anyone up for putting the Frankenwheel in a Cabinet of Curiosities?

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