When Mike Bellamy, a Senior Model Maker at ChaseDesign, graduated from high school, he apprenticed as a pattern maker – a skilled trade that combines elements of tool & die making, mold making and fine woodworking. So in the present day, when his wife suggested that a spinning wheel would be a beautiful addition to their home, Mike said, “Of course. I can do that.”
Mike’s earlier projects included custom furniture, a cedar chest, a gun cabinet and book cases. But none of them had so many moving parts. Undeterred, Mike obtained plans for a Saxon single-treadle, double-drive spinning wheel and set to work.
He hand-picked the walnut at a nearby lumberyard that specializes in hardwood (40+ species, domestic and imported). He turned the spokes and legs on a lathe, and cut the segments that would make up the perfectly round wheel.
The pieces were sanded, stained, given a hand-rubbed finish, and assembled, and in just three months a spinning wheel emerged.
An all-pro spinner was brought in to take the wheel for a test run, and it passed with flying colors, turning carded wool into yarn, as in days of yore.
When asked if he was inspired by the Spinning Chorus ("Whir and whirl, good wheel") from Richard Wagner’s 1840 opera The Flying Dutchman, Mike said, “No.” Nor is he sure what his next project will be, but we know it will be beautiful.