Hand-Carved Spinning Wheel Hooks

Hook for Spinning Wheel orifice  Hand carved wheel hooks

Hooks above are made of these woods:  SQUIRREL= Aussie cypress.  GREMLIN:= Cypress.  LEMUR = Manzanita.  CAT = Manzanita.  OWL TRIO = Holly, Apple, Yew. 

All spinning wheels have an accompanying hook tool.  Whether it’s called a Spinning Wheel Hook, an Orifice Hook, or a Fetch Hook, it’s an essential companion to every wheel.   The hook is used to bring the bobbin string thru the hole ~ seen above where wire is inserted~ and forward into to the spinners lap, where we connect the wool fiber and begin to spin it into yarn.  If we pause, then return later to our spinning, we may fetch the spun fiber end again and reconnect to resume spinning.

Here is an opportunity to treat yourself to a special, hand-carved piece of folk art.  Why not choose a beautiful little treasure for your own wheel?

Glass Eyes:  Nearly all the carvings have German glass eyes on a wire backing.  These are not just  glued on beads.   I carve a divot for the eye, then drill a tiny hole inside it.  The glass eye wire super-glued into this eye slot.  I love the extra expressive result.  And, recently….I found clear glass eyes which I can paint (using hard glass paint) to suit my whim (I have lots of whims).   Several color attempts later and I’m liking green the best because it really ‘pops.’                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Bat.  This was a slender slice of walnut burl was just too pretty to throw away.  I had to think:  what shape could be carved in a minimal amount of detail and space, yet still convey the imagery intended?  Sometimes the wood just speaks to you, letting you know what it wants to be.  This bat was a grand idea, and I simply adore the look of his clingy wing membrane, hunched shoulders and gleaming eyes.  Okay, the bat is an example of bead eyes, since I wanted glowing red reflective look.   A sweet friend now owns this hook, so I’ll get to see it once in awhile.  PS – this was a case of using beads for eyes, the only way to get the gleaming red color.  Later I noticed & fixed the eye misalignment.

(below) Rabbit hook, in progress.  Here’s a small block of Pink Ivory, showing the initial cut for the rabbit shape, which is now “blocked out” (partially carved).  The limitations of the wood block affect subsequent size & placement of the rabbits ears.

 Pink Ivory bunny Pink ivory shaped Pink Ivory as handle

Note that all these carvings are meant to be the handle of a tool the spinner uses.  It must have a comfortable grip; a crucial factor affecting the final shape of each carving.

Hook prices vary according to the cost of the wood and complexity of the carving.  A simple leaf requires less time than I’d spend on more detailed designs like a rabbit or yak.  The Bleeding Heart may seem costlier than a leaf, given it’s  simple shape, but a customer probably wouldn’t know it took many wood shop visits to find Pink Ivory wood at all / to find the right color in an affordable small size (pink ivory is spendy wood)  / or how exceedingly hard some wood is, making carving a real chore.   I make very few pink ivory carvings for those reasons.  Why use it at all?  Well…isn’t it magical there is such a thing as – PINK wood!   That said… there are such a variety of beautiful wood colors and grains that I am always eager to play at carving the next piece.

P.s. All my hooks are made with piano wire, which has superior strength and flexibility.

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6 thoughts on “Hand-Carved Spinning Wheel Hooks

    • Update, Melissa got her replacement butterfly hook after all, since the identical piece of Manzanita wood had been cut like bread slices, and I had the 2nd butterfly already in my box of completed carvings. It required only the addition of it’s wire, and the hook was mailed off to happy customer. I’m so pleased it worked out after all. (we are currently house hunting in 2017, and hope to have our own home by years end, complete with a space where I can resume wood carving. I miss it very much!)

      Alas, Melissa, I lack a wood carving room at this time, because we sold the big house & moved. It’s very important to have a specific space which is temperature controlled (rules out the garage), and cannot be done indoors (dust gets everywhere.). Hopefully I’ll resume in 2017.

  1. They are lovely, you are certainly talented. I absolutely love the bat and the owl orifice hooks what do you charge for making them?

    • Hello Sharon Doolan,
      Thank you for your kind compliments. I want to be humble about “talented” because I didn’t know I could carve wood until I dived in and just tried it. Used the Dremel tool I had laying around and the initial efforts weren’t grand, but not too bad either. Designs and techniques have improved with practice. Carving is addictive – but we sold the big house with it’s “woodshop room.” I’m on sabbatical from carving while I occupy a rental house; however we are currently house-hunting in earnest. Fewer shows this year 2017 while we hunt and fingers crossed – get moved. Once bought & moved in, I’ll resume carving, and taking new hooks to local shows in the Portland, Oregon area and some in Washington.

      Hook prices vary according to the type of wood (some more $$ than others/ some harder to cut) and complexity of carving. A simple design takes less time than a more highly shaped hook. That said, generally I don’t sell over the (always open) internet. Who could ever keep up?

      I love to please my customers, and it’s a thrill to see delighted customers in my booth, cooing or laughing at the fanciful products. Thank you again for your interest and sweet comments.

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