Thursday, May 6, 2010

Restoring my Antique-Heirloom Great-Walking Spinning-Wheel

If you've been following my blog, you might remember this picture from a previous post. It is a picture of my great-great-great grandmother and her spinning wheel.

Since I was a teenager, spinning has been one of my favorite hobbies, so I was thrilled when I was so lucky as to inherit this spinning wheel.  

I was aware that there were a few pieces missing, but I decided to have a go at putting it together. I found out that all three legs were missing as well as three important pieces on the head. I was pretty disappointed, but then I had and idea.... I went out to the barn, found some wire, and made up what I thought the three missing pieces might have looked like.  

I was actually able to get it to hold together enough to be able be spin some yarn.  That really made my day! :D    Here I am spinning some yarn. The spinning wheel is sitting on the piano bench, which works for now.

Here it is in action:

I found an old book from the library called Spinning Wheel Building and Restoration by Bud Kronenberg.  In this book I found a photo of an antique spinning wheel very similar to the one I have.

The caption for this picture says it may have been built by the Shakers. 

If you look closely at the above photo you can see that I have circled the three pieces that are missing. The one on the top is a wood piece.  In this book I was surprised to find out that the other two missing pieces (they hold the spindle in place) were apparently made out of corn husks or leather.  No wonder they are missing!  Since I took these pictures I cleaned up the spinning wheel and gave it a good coat of oil.  It is amazing how much better it looks now!  I just wish I know how old the spinning wheel is- it has to be at least 120 years old, but it is probably a bit older than that.

So, I have a project on my hands- figure out how to make the three legs and some leather parts!


  1. This is so very special. It is touching
    to think of such talent spanning the

  2. Dear Spinning,
    Wow! That is SO cool!
    Wheels are Turning IN NE

  3. Hello Sarah
    I am interested inthe beautiful photo of your ancestor with the walking wheel. May I ask permission to use it in an educational exhibit? Please contact me at
    Many thanks!

  4. Have you found someone to make the missing parts? I'm in the process of restoring several great wheels and it wouldn't take me very much to make a few additional parts.

    1. I just noticed you are in Minnesota. Where? I'm just across the border in Hudson, WI.

  5. If anyone would be interested, I'm selling an almost identical spinning wheel like the one pictured, here in TX for $225.

    1. Do you still have the wheel? I am in Texas.