I made a supported spindle…
…all by myself! Well, hubby split a piece of firewood for me, to be honest 🙂
First you need to search your house: is there a suitable stone hidden somewhere? When you’ve found one, try to figure out how to start working. I chose to make the hole first, because without a hole it wouldn’t be much of a spindle. The hole also needs to be exactly in the center, and I thought it would be easier to work around the hole than to try to find the center of a circle, if you see what I mean. So my nice Swiss multipurpose tool, a crafter’s best friend by the way, came in handy once again.
It’s soapstone I’m working with. Easy to carve with a knife and finish with a rasp or sandpaper. I used both. I also used the miniature saw blade to cut off the ends of the stone:
Then I took my coarsest sandpaper and a rasp and worked on the corners to make a somewhat circular shape, and also thinned out the thicker parts of the stone. It doesn’t matter if the whorl isn’t perfectly circular, as it’s a supported spindle.
Then it was time for the shaft. I wanted a Russian style shaft. So off to see what I could find in the firewood supply. I found birch, which is what to expect here where I live. Not hard enough, but will do. I can always make a new shaft when the old one is worn out. I used the biggest knife blade and the same coarse sandpaper, as I have found that very smooth shafts don’t give you the best grip because they’re slippery. I test spun cotton, and the spindle was good!
I’m satisfied with the result. The spindle rotates quite fast. The whorl + shaft weighs 23 grams and it’s 25 cm long. I may try other types of shafts later, but for now I feel like I shouldn’t do any more woodwork. Wood is one of the materials that may swallow me, and I really don’t have time for that!
That looks great!
Very impressive! Thanks.
Oh this is one of those strange moments of internet synchronicity! In two recent posts, Spin like an Ancient and Spin the Wilderland, I was experimenting with pottery whorls styled on ancient whorls. I used bracken for a straight shaft on a mid whorl spindle but I do like the look of your curved shaft. I will try it. Your whorl and shaft look marvellous. Spinning is such an unexpected adventure!
The undercurrents of internet – I’ve been gathering antique whorls to my Pinterest for a while, and I can see from the flow that many others do that also. I’ve visited sites that sell replicas of whorls and shafts, and other blogs. I hope you don’t mind me posting a link to your awesome whorls!
Would be honoured if you did!