Drop spindle, with a fix for slippy heads

I enjoy making tools. Since I’m a spinner and weaver, I’ve been focusing on tools for fiber artists. Drop spindles represent centuries of useful design–they were the first tool created for the production of cloth.

I prefer a spinning wheel for my production work, but I love making drop spindles. Lots of us collect spindles and set up displays for them. And I’ve met only one long-term spinner who doesn’t know how to use one.

Since I spin fine, I make light-weight spindles; 9–11 grams, depending on material. I don’t want to limit my range just because of my habit. Not everyone wants to spin that fine especially if they are going to make a large item with their yarn. This week I started testing a stacked head, where I add more wood to the outer half of the whorl (the disk of the drop spindle; though they are not always round). Adding weight at the outer edges helps keep the spindle spinning longer.

Right now I’m adding the weight under the disk, for a quick-n-dirty test. Once I create a weight/diameter range I like, then I’ll start adding the weight on top as decorative elements. The extra weight though, means that the glue join where the shaft pierces the whorl can break when spun at high RPMs. Even with an O-ring top and bottom, I still got “slippy heads”.

As a joke (because I was sure it wasn’t going to work) I cut a hole crosswise into the .19" shaft. The size of the hole is .08", which gives me a comfortable amount of material on either side. The tiny hold fits a wooden toothpick, cut to about 5mm. Well, it worked. I still use an O-ring at the top; it has a nice decorative element besides keeping the whorl in place.

I’m cutting these tiny holes so accurately placed by zooming in between x500 and x1000 with the lid camera. I’m so impressed with what the GF can do!


Wow, just wow


You come up with such cool stuff we’ve never seen before!


I love seeing the technology for things I know nothing about. Whatever that means, it looks like a very practical cut!


Laser precision, toothpicks and voila, a modern version of the first tool for producing cloth. Love this.


Thank you all for the feedback. I was hoping that by now someone would have come up with an engineering term for “slippy head”. :grin:


I was inspired by this:
Screen Shot 2020-09-10 at 7.44.23 AM


Love it! I have yet to try spinning, it is on the list of things I will never get to. LOL


That’s high on the awesomeness scale…I’d love to see a short vid of it in action. :smile:


I’ll see what I can do, I only have two hands and Sam’s paws are no help. My phone is not allowed to play on the internet, only the iPad can do that. I guess that means I need to make that iPad stand now; brb…


Don’t know if you saw this vid of mine from a separate post, but here’s a similar drop spindle:

This is one of the reasons i got the GF, to do spindles. I just haven’t gotten to them yet. :confused: yours gives me hope!

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Gorilla Glue has a clear version. I got some yesterday, made a spindle and put it through its paces. Dropped the spindle several times with no head slip or separation. I suggest putting the glue in a bottle with a needle tip, and the glue join will hardly be seen. Keep a sewing pin handy for unclogging the needle tip.

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