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Making a Miniature 18th C. French Spinning Wheel

Wm. R. Robertson

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  • 11 months later...
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Wow, It has been almost a year since I added to this story… Now I'll finish it. As you have seen we have made all the wood and metal parts, now it is time for the base and assembly.

A base is cut out of Swiss pear wood.


The next problem to overcome was finding scale velvet, fabric is almost always out of scale. I tried taking some very fine modern velvets and shaving them to give them a more to scale nap, It still didn't look right.


One of the other things I have done in my life is work as contractor helping the National Park Service to restore historic workshops, I have worked on Thomas Edison's and the Wright Bros. At the time I was working on the Wright Bros. in Dayton Ohio, one of our tasks was to buy all the artifacts to furnish the Hoover Block a group of buildings next door to the Wright's Williams street bicycle shop. Anyway a group of us had gathered at the huge flee markets in Springfield, Oh. At breakfast we were going over are briefing books (that contain all the information on each item needed) and shopping lists. I mentioned to the team to please keep your eyes open for old fine velvet. Andy spoke up and said that here in Ohio that should be no problem, just get a old torn up crazy quilt as they were the rage here at 100 years ago. They were often made with scraps of fabrics a generation or two earlier.

Anyway, the first dealer I walked up to had this bag of assembled squares of Mabel's Crazy quilt mounted on early 1920's newspaper. She never put this quilt together and I am so glad for about 6 of the squares have the perfect velvet, not only the the texture and fineness but even the perfect green color!


The base was covered in this fabric and a brass nameplate inlaid into the bottom.





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The assembly begins 


Here are the sub assemblies for the 1/12 scale version.


Now the moment we have all waited for, the Spinning wheel is finished!




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Here is a better photo of the original… this is Full Size


Some more finished pictures




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Thanks, one last detail, the case I carry my pair in…. dovetailed, swiss pear wood. lined in ultra suede, custom made magnifier.


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Amazing work Bill, so glad I got to see this for real as photos never tell the true story in this scale.

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I didn't realize there was a box, it is a wonderful addition to an exquisite miniature.  When I think about this small spinning wheel, I imagine an 18th century lady of the court assisting in the preparations so the embroidery project could continue.   I think when the artists work transports our minds to another place and time, the goal is achieved!

I look forward to seeing your next miniature masterpiece.





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Bill, so glad that there was a current question to this thread.  I had not seen it before. I have never used a lathe, but this whole process is fascinating. Is there more progress?

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