Spinning wheel making
The making of spinning wheels to spin yarn from natural or synthetic fibres. (See also spinning)
|Historic area of significance
|Area currently practised
|Origin in the UK
|Current no. of professionals (main income)
|Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
|Current no. of trainees
|Current total no. serious amateur makers
|Current total no. of leisure makers
|Minimum no. of craftspeople required
Spinning wheels were first used in India, between 500 and 1000 AD. Spinning machinery, such as the spinning jenny and spinning frame, displaced the spinning wheel in industry, though its use has continued in cottage industry and artisan production.
Issues affecting the viability of the craft
- Market issues: There is an upsurge in knitting and weaving and there are a number of small multinational suppliers of spinning and weaving equipment that meet the demand. These companies tend to use modern materials and high end equipment to make an acceptable product at a competitive price.
- Quarry Bank Mill, National Trust
Craftspeople currently known
- Rod Grant
- David Bryant
- Michael Williams has made one great wheel and may be prepared to make more if people are willing to pay the asking price which is a fair rate for the hours and materials.
Woodland Turnery has recently closed following retirement. Owners Clive and Joan Jones tried to sell the business with five potential buyers all dropping out for various reasons. They have now sold on their demo wheels.
Valerie and David Bryant have been researching early spinning-wheel makers in the UK for many years.
Some of their recent projects have included:
- A number of great wheels for customers 40” and 42” for customers using traditional steam bending of the rim. The rim pieces are not rivetted as old wheels were, but a shallow half joint 100mm long is used to glue the two halves together for a smooth rim. Later wheels incorporated ball bearings in the spindle head to make spinning smoother.
- For Quarry Bank Mill; a 26” spindle wheel and replica of Hargreaves spinning jenny (16 spindle 1994). The 26” spindle wheel I have recently restored after 20 or more years of use in interpretation now has ball bearings in the spindle head.
- An interpretation of an 18th cent table wheel based on one by John Jameson (York 1780-1802) Contributed to the ‘Spinning Wheel Sleuth’ just recently on this. Temporary wheel rim 8” diameter is wood at the moment but I am changing this to brass for more momentum. Overall length is 15”.
- Assisted the V&A to restore a Piffetti and French table wheel. Both now on show in the European Gallery.
David Bryant, Wheels and Looms, 1987