July 23, 2009

Rimless Wheel: Roll Up the Rim to Win

There's a variety of spinning wheel, a spindle wheel not a flyer wheel, that has a lashed rim instead of a solid wooden hoop. It's called a rimless wheel. The wheel has two sets of spokes. The spoke ends are interlaced in a zigzag back and forth between the sets of spokes, and the drive band runs on the interlacing.

I find this construction interesting, because it seems useful (from the perspective of getting more people to try spinning) to be able to get spinning wheels made with fewer materials or less expensive materials and with less skill.

In some of the pictures of rimless wheels I've seen, the spokes don't seem difficult. They aren't spokes fitted into slots carved in a hub. They are not turned on a lathe.

Instead, they look like a series of flat sticks tapered at each end, three of them to create six spokes for example, or four to create eight spokes. The sticks all have holes in their middles to take the axle. They have small holes at the ends to take the interlacing. The sticks are crossed evenly in a star-like arrangement to make wheel spokes and then kept in that position (by glue or possibly by friction on the axle).

It looks like a number of spacers go next on the axle, and another set of spokes, and a crank handle on the axle. The axle is supported by uprights on either side set on a stretcher bar and stabilized by another, perpendicular stretcher bar leading to the spindle head. This is very similar to a great wheel. There may or may not be legs, and may or may not be a way to adjust the distance between spindle and wheel.

Apologies for using the Tim Horton's ad jingle for a silly blog post title.

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