Jump to content

Making a Miniature 18th C. French Spinning Wheel


Wm. R. Robertson

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 60
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Wm. R. Robertson

    25

  • ElgaKoster

    9

  • MissyBoling

    4

  • Bill Hudson

    3

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

The next step will be the wood parts, using Bergeron's book we see he describes the different woods, and in color no less..... This book was printed in 1816 and each plate is hand painted! He describe

Time for a little more on this project now that summer is over……. the next problem would be how to hold all the parts in place to solder them together and get the hub perfectly in the middle. To do th

Back to our story, the next day, which was the last day of a month long trip, I was at the famous flea market in Paris which covers about 15 blocks, it have everything from very fancy shops to people

Posted Images

Wm. R. Robertson

Thanks for the comments,

Peter, in this case it was cast and turned from brass.... The threaded stud with a rather course thread just screws into the base and the whole thing is cast as one piece. It was then turned and you can see the marks left by the hand held tools.

August, neat spinning wheel, can't tell what the cup is made from in the picture however it does look like a wood base has been added. Do you have a picture of the other half of it?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
Wm. R. Robertson

Now it is time for the flyer, what is that you might wonder? it is the part of the spinning wheel that does the work. Maybe Bonni will chime in with a detailed description as she told me years ago. From the mechanical point of view you have two slightly different size pulleys being driven from the large flywheel, therefor they would go at different speeds. The flyer or harp shaped thing with the teeth spins around the wood spool as it spins. The fibers are drawn through a hole in the end of the shaft out the rectangular holes in the side, then through some eyelets and up the the comb teeth. One reason this may seem strange is most antique spinning wheels sold in shops have been messed up and have parts missing and things put in there place by folks that have no idea what was suppose to go there. I was lucky, my original is totally complete and even had it's last work still on it after about 200 years!…….

 

Here you can see the original and the two scales of miniatures… note the rectangular holes, the eyelets, etc…. it is all there.

 

DSCN3479_zps57bc3bbe.jpg

 

The black wood pulley is the one that mounts to the tapered shaft….. the taper holds it in place, the pear wood pulley is turned as part of the drum or reel to wind up the spun silk…… the 2" scale one is in pieces and 1" is assembled.

 

Now for the fun part. the shaft of the original ran between two leather bushings morticed into the rosewood uprights….. I know, we haven't gotten to them yet but bear with me. These need to be about .010" thick and no leather is going to even begin to hold up being that thin…… so to divert a little and tell you a story.

 

Many years ago I was at a ornamental turning meeting, these are people who like to do extremely complex turning the way it was done from the 15th to 19th centuries. A man hearing I did small work came up to me and handed me a disk of brown plastic about the size of a quarter, I thought nothing of it until he told me to hold it up to the light…….. and holy ****…. there were thousands of perfectly drilled .006'holes in it (your normal hair thickness it .004") and these hole were spaced with a accuracy of .0002"!….. the man was the late Michael Garber and he made a very good living making these little discs for IBM for some kind of manufacturing they were doing…… these sold for thousands of dollars each! I had so many questions starting with how on earth do you drill holes that small…….. he said come by my shop someday and I'll show you……. and since I am no fool (at least I think not) I was up at his shop in New York within a few weeks to learn about drilling holes… and boy did I. But on of the millions of questions I had is what was this stuff he was drilling into? It turns out it was Vespel, a space age plastic that holds up to something like plus or minus 400 C. and so strong you could put a .010" thick piece between two pairs of pliers and not be able to twist and break it….. it also cost more than gold….. a piece the size of a little pencil was about $ 300.He gave lots of scraps along with a lot of little drill bits……… and when we talked about how you machine Vespel he said you have to use a super sharpe cutter or you get a finish that looks like the back side of leather with all that little spalling or texture……… so of my spinning wheel flyer bushing I need something that looks like leather, is strong as can be, that I can drill holes in and is brown!…. AH… Vespel!

 

DSCN2357_zps223813f4.jpg

 

And here you can see a blow up of the shaft……. and here again was the first time I used another modern technology for my miniatures….. I took photos of the parts and when viewed on a screen you could see errors that not obvious when looking at the real part……. like here you see the rectangular hole in the side of the shaft is crooked……. well it got straightened with a file before assembly.

 

DSCN2360_zps8a8c212c.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
ElgaKoster

Thank you Bill for showing us all these beautiful photos of how you made the spinning wheel. And I loved your story about Michael Garber, it is so great when top artisans share their knowledge.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Wm. R. Robertson

BTW… I forgot to mention the steel shafts with the crank handles on them. They are turned and threaded…. even the crank handle is screwed in!. The thread on the 1/12th scale one is .03 MM…. in other words really tiny. since there is so little thread to hold this the crank is then peened over locking it in place…. the original was done the same way. One might why go through all this trouble…… it is simple, by threading and then peening it the crank can't turn on the shaft, if you just peened it would in time loosen and turn…….. Now about the shape of the crank, if you notice the crank is curved as just about all 18th century cranks, they truly believed that this curve some how gave them more power in turning…….

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Bob McGinnis

Bill, 

        I'm so glad you decided to tell the whole story on this great little project, it's history and for going into such detail on so many techniques in miniature making.  Also for all the interesting side stories and the different materials used and why.   Thank You, it is much appreciated!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Wm. R. Robertson

Thanks Bob and Linda, ....maybe I am going into so much detail it doesn't even leave any questions?.... I really don't mind answering them should someone have any.........

Part of the fun and use of a forum is to discuss things and questions are a great way to get that going.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Teresa layman

This is the most amazing, inspiring post! Thank you so much for taking the time to share all of this information Bill. You really make me want to learn how to do this. My dad was a machinist and I wish with all my heart that he had shown me how to use the wonderful tools that make this possible.

You have no idea how much this is appreciated.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Peter Jensen

Bill - Are you making multiples of this project in the two different scales?  You stated that 0-80 was the largest screw thread used.  I've only seen one or two smaller threads on commercially available taps.  Do you make your own taps and dies when smaller threads are required?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Wm. R. Robertson

Peter, yes, I think I made 12 of the one inch scale and six of the two inch.

As for threads, there are a few below 0-80, there is 00-90, 00-96?, 000-120 and 0000-160

And there is the UNM series that go from 0.3 mm to 1.20 mm by 0.05, there is a photo of these in the thread on latches.

I have also made some taps dies.....

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...
Wm. R. Robertson

Hi Theresa, that engraving is from the Diderot Encylopidia, I think from a plate volume circa 1760. As I recall it is in the Dover reprint.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
ElgaKoster

What a wonderful encyclopedia! There seems to be a few online versions too, guess the chance of coming a real antique copy is going to be rare. The Chicago university has the whole thing on an app for iPad users, it finally downloaded on my iPad and has all the plates, only thumbnails if you are offline, when you are online and click on the thumbnails of the plates they come up big and very clear. You will find the link for the iPad app under news on this page

http://encyclopedie.uchicago.edu/

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Wm. R. Robertson

I think the next step was have a gold wash put on the parts. To do this they attached, mostly screwed to a sprue..... I had a guy do this that was a old master, he said what he did was not the mercury gilding but sort of close..... The old style mercury or fire gilt is just not done anymore due to being very toxic.

DSCN3483_zps0170bb81.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Wm. R. Robertson

The next step will be the wood parts, using Bergeron's book we see he describes the different woods, and in color no less..... This book was printed in 1816 and each plate is hand painted! He describes using Palissander which is rosewood for the turned parts.

DSCN3484_zps392fcc99.jpg

One of my favorite wood supply shops is George's just outside Paris.....

DSCN3485_zps8b9137f7.jpg

This is one of those places that it really helps to have someone in the trade take you there..... After a hour or so of conversation we finally got into the back room where the good stuff was....

DSCN3486_zpsb47d9dcc.jpg

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Catherine Ronan
Which is why Benvenuto Cellini said in his book... Let the gilders do it.

 

Nothing like heavy metal poisoning... Ask the Mad Hatter. ;-)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
Wm. R. Robertson

I have just returned from a lovely trip to Paris and found a little more information on these wheels. It seems that Marie Antoinette did most likely play with one while she was waiting for what was to come. Here is part of an exhibit in the Musee Carnavalet.

 

40aac3d9-aefd-411b-b467-8a96a3d5d351_zps

 

dab33a82-9ee6-46bc-9901-2543dc213c03_zps

 

IMG_1918_zpshwygc1pr.jpg

 

IMG_1917_zpsxvkmx4mb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Wm. R. Robertson

Back to the work on the spinning wheel, now that I have the wood I saw it into turning blanks.

 

DSCN3488_zpsd71f4f13.jpg

 

Then I turn them round so they fit in a collet

 

DSCN3489_zps05208583.jpg

 

 

I then turn the parts to shape using the originals as a guide, it is amazing the difference in the quality of the work when you have the original part you are copying in front of you, no amount of drawings and photos can equal that. I this case I also have Bergeron's book open to a plate on the proportions of turnings. We all know when we see a turned object, say a vase that looks "right" verses one that just looks odd or not refined. It is books like Plumier's (1701) and Bergeron's (1792) that have taught the western world what shapes objects are suppose to have. So not only do I have the original turning I have the book the man that made that learned from in front of me.

 

DSCN3490_zpsad9cb80a.jpg

 

Here is the bottom of the flyer support, notice the center section is square, to do that I will lock the lathe spindle, indexing 90 degrees for each side and use a filing rest to file flats on the work.

 

DSCN3491_zpsf02477d3.jpg

 

DSCN3492_zpsb1bdb123.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Wm. R. Robertson

Earlier I had told of using Vespel for the leather bushings, well here is a better photo. These pieces are through morticed on the turnings and pined on the larger scale version.

 

DSCN3494_zps1a8db805.jpg

 

Here is our complete set of turnings.

 

DSCN3493_zpsc370541e.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
ElgaKoster

The two round parts of your filing rest...what are they made of...I guess you don't want to really file them as well? Or do you replace them regularly?

And the object next to the spinning wheel in the museum, is it a game of sorts?...it looks interesting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...