A Dream Come True

Ed began dreaming of making one around a year ago. He poured over any article and information he could get his hands on, his mind spinning with plans.

We were at an artist and craftsman show at the Convention Center in Portland last Spring and came across a woman who gave him a key tip that lead him across the Willamette Valley to a Trappist Monastery to talk with elderly Brother Albert whose specialty was book binding. Br Albert graciously loaned Ed his old plans and gave him his blessings on the new venture.

With the busyness of our business keeping Ed’s focus on making spindles, hooks, needles and hairpin lace looms spring quickly passed and soon any free daylight time was devoted to working in the garden. But always the plan was taking shape in his thought.

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In November, before the rush of the Christmas season, he accommodated his shop to make space in order to maneuver the wood he’d be using in the oft-ramped quarters inside.  As time allowed, wood was purchased and planed to correct thicknesses. Jigs were developed, tools and skills sharpened in anticipation of the day he could begin the actual construction.

Finally as his back recovered after Christmas he spent several hours each day in the shop working towards his dream.


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Bending the wood.

Sunday afternoon he brought the newly finished piece into the house to finish dry and for me to play with, er, test.


Ed’s dream provides new challenges for me too as I’m slowly getting acquainted and learning how to properly use this wonderful piece of work.
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Adjusting the tensioner.

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Check out the taper on the quill! Ed turned this metal quill on his small machine lathe.

Great Wheel, also appropriately known as Walking Wheel

Ed used hickory for the majority of the wheel, some beech and a bit of leather. Hickory is beautiful but a bit splintery. I’ve had to gently sand the spokes after it sat in the house for a day. The house stays warmer than Ed’s shop and a pot of hot water on the wood stove provides a bit more humidity which slightly raised the grain.

Ed loved the challenge and the change of pace. He wants to build more and would love to have another one made in time to take with us to the Fabulous Fiber Fair in Carlton, OR February 23rd and one for Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR June 21-23rd. Ed plans to use our local bigleaf maple for the Future Great Wheels which will cut down on the weight and won’t have the splinter issues.

Meanwhile, I want to get that long draw mastered so I can do this beautiful wheel justice.