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Sticks and Stones
This one looks like it was used by Wilma you-know-who. I was inspired by Franco's ability to use what was on hand and make it work, so I gathered some things that were lying right in front of me and went to work. I also wanted to make this low-tech so there are very few metal parts.
I like perfectly straight, square, round, level, or whatever, whenever it is mechanically necessary for its end use. Much of our perfectly straight world is really only needed by the machines that are making the object. A machine could not utilize the twisted curved walnut branch, but I thought I could.
I had already had part of this branch in the house for some time drying out so I could make some shuttles, so I used the dry piece for some of my parts. This is important in green wood joinery. The peg needs to be dry and the wood in which the hole is bored needs to be green so it will shrink and tighten up on the peg. If both are either wet or dry they will loosen rather than tighten.
I peeled the branch and put the lichen covered bark with my future dyeing materials, except for a small amount that I put to soak in some linseed oil. You can see in the picture that the sapwood of walnut is very white in contrast to the dark color of the heartwood. It will eventually darken with age but I wanted to hurry the process along a little.
I split the pieces that needed to be rather than saw them because splitting wood is a lot less work than doing long cuts with a ripsaw. I used my shaving horse and drawknife to shape them and then realized that I had failed at one of my objectives at doing this charkha. I wanted to demonstrate something that anyone could do and I was using tools that most people don't have. Oh well, there are several things about this wheel that could be applied to other materials, such as notching the base to give more support to the upright wheel posts.
With the frame made, I set about making my "stone" wheel and pulley. For these I used a couple of magazines and some glue. I tore the magazines into small pieces and poured boiling water over them. After letting them soak for a little while I put small handfuls in the blender along with a lot of water and blended them up (if you've ever made paper, you know what I'm doing), then drained them very well in a cloth lined colander. I squeezed as much of the water as I could out of the pulp and then mixed in some wood glue. Wood glue makes a much stronger paper mache than anything else and I needed these pieces to be stronger than regular paper. I looked around the kitchen for various lids and things to use as my forms. (This is when I got the idea to use pot lids for wheels, like in the square wheel.) The forms must be oiled or lined with plastic wrap so the paper can be removed when dry. I pressed the paper pulp into a milk jug lid to be used as the center of the spindle pulley. This one was left in place to give traction for the belt. The paper inside the lid makes it strong enough that it won't collapse under pressure and gives a surface for glueing the parts together. I used two plates as forms for the big wheel, because when placed back to back they had a good shape for a pulley. I discovered later that I should have used a third center piece like on the small pulley, because the belt pressure wants to split the pieces apart. I was able to compensate for this but would have been better off with a third piece. After the wheel was assembled using wood glue and bamboo skewers as "nails", I glued a 2" wide strip of fiberglas window screen in the pulley groove. This works but doesn't look very good and it makes a lot of noise when spinning. I hate noisy spinning wheels. I used hubs, molded in the yogurt cups, on the sides of the wheel. These are also "nailed" to the big wheel with bamboo skewers. These parts are really important for two reasons. First, the extra width stabilizes the wheel on the axle. Secondly, they give you a good solid way to attach the wheel to the axle - I drilled a hole through all and glued in wooden pegs.
I used a 1/2" wooden dowel for the wheel axle and added the crank as can be seen in the close-up. If anyone is thinking of making a wheel, I highly recommend using two posts to support the wheel and using a crank. It might seem like more work than one post, but in the end it's not and it keeps everything centered and spinning smoothly. The tension device is like one that was on a full sized spinning wheel I used to have. It's called an idler pulley and it is simple to install and works really well. I recommend this over a method that moves the entire spindle assembly. The spindle shown is really part of my backstrap loom and won't be the real one. I used it to test everything out and now need to get one for the wheel. When this is done the little pieces of masonite on the sides of the pulley won't be there, and I will add a "stone" flange (already made).
Bearings for all are pieces of oiled leather from a belt. The front ones weren't installed yet when I took the picture, but are made with the "two halves make a hole" method.
I painted the buffalo, then didn't like them so I turned them to the back. I'm showing you anyway so you can see the rear construction details.