Hand Spindles

Introduction . Fancy spindles . Production spindles . Sneak Peek . Whorls . Compliments

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I make my whorls by constructing them from several different pieces of wood.  The process is much more time consuming than the simple task of turning a whorl on a lathe.

First the image is scroll sawn into a piece of 3 ply (Baltic Birch) plywood. 

Kokopelli whorl image conpared to a dime

By the way, the spindle images are cut by hand. Some people think they are laser cut. There is no computer involved.


The image disk is then glued to a piece of Walnut. The plywood prevents the Walnut from cracking and breaking when dropped and the Walnut gives stiffness and mass to the rim of the spindles.  The Walnut wood is glued so it is cross-wise to the grain of the Baltic for maximum whorl strength.

The undercut area of the 'Overlay' style removes mass from the center and concentrates the remainder in the rim of the spindle where it is needed for a sustained spin.

This is what the 'overlay' style and the 'rim' style whorls look like when you cut them open.

Overlay style ................................................Rim Style

cut drop spindles whorls

The Walnut on the 'Overlay' style is cut away from the bottom of the whorl, between the stem hub and the rim of the spindle until there is roughly 0.070 inch of Walnut thickness left.

Notice that the stem is shouldered so that the whorl can NOT slip down the shaft.

brass140.jpg (25361 bytes)
Whorls are balanced with a tiny amount of brass (when and if needed) so the spindle will spin smooth and long.

My whorls range in size from about 3.0 up to 4.1 inches and range in weight from 0.5 ounces up to about 2.2 ounces.

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