Traditional Wheel

Our Traditional Wheel is a versatile, durable wheel with old world styling and construction. The single treadle, double drive design makes this wheel both ergonomic and efficient for spinning a variety of sizes and styles of yarn.

Traditional Spinning Wheel


  • Double drive
  • Single treadle
  • Optional Bulky, Quill, and Distaff
  • Approximately 2.5 ounce bobbin
  • 5.5 and 6.75 ratios
  • Currently backordered until late 2020

Product Description

This is the wheel we started with in 1970 – an upright castle with a 16” drive wheel. Similar to the wheel founder Henry Clemes built as an apprentice under Anthony Cardarelle, Henry standardized the design of his wheel parts, making it the first wheel on the West Coast to be made in small batches rather than one at a time. This shift to standardized parts meant not only a decrease in production time, but the availability of additional bobbins, accessories, and replacement parts. New parts made today are made to the same specifications as the day production began.

In both its design and manufacture, the Traditional Wheel lives up to its name. The frame is assembled with mortise and tenon joints, lacking metal screws or other fasteners that would not have been available to old world wheel builders. Each spoke in the wheel is pinned in place by hand with a dowel – a task that proves difficult even when performed by a seasoned craftsman. Once a wheel, frame, flyer, and remaining parts have been matched for color and woodgrain they are stained (if ordered) and receive a durable lacquer finish. After final assembly, each wheel is thoroughly tested to ensure it meets our lofty standards of craftsmanship and quality.

Flyer whorl ratios of 5.5 and 6.75 give the Traditional the capability of spinning any weight of yarn from laceweight to bulky. Set up for double drive, the flyer whorl ratios will spin similarly to an 11 and 14 using Scotch or Irish tension. If you are unfamiliar with double drive, tension types, and ratios, please read our FAQ for further explanation.

Tension is easily set using the tension knob and rarely needs to be changed as the bobbin fills. Bobbins are changed quickly and easily by removing the front maiden, which allows for the removal of the flyer. The flyer shaft, tension block, and front maiden should be oiled every time a bobbin is changed. The front and rear of the wheel axle and the treadle bars require occasional oiling, depending on frequency and volume of spinning.

Each wheel is supplied with three bobbins, a threading hook, and a bottle of spinning wheel oil. Additional bobbins, as well as our JMac lazy kates, are available finished to match. A bulky adaptor, quill, and distaff are also available.

Additional Information

Weight 30 lbs
Dimensions 20 × 20 × 36 in

Maple, Fruitwood Stain, Walnut Stain

Origins of Our Spinning Wheels

Henry started wood turning at the age of eight when he bought a used wood lathe. In high school, he turned parts for local wheel maker Tony Cardarelle, including parts for Tony’s castle wheels. Following Tony’s passing in 1970, Henry and his father founded our company and began making their own wheels. Henry standardized the design of his wheel parts, so that all the parts were interchangeable from one wheel to the next - new parts made today are made to the same specifications as the day production began. Thousands of these Traditional Wheels – originally called simply our Castle Wheel – have made their way into homes and studios around the world, with many of them being passed on to second and third generations of owners.

In the mid 1970’s, spinning and weaving were added to the curriculum requirement in many colleges for a degree in interior decorating, creating the need for an inexpensive yet durable wheel that could be easily assembled by the customer. In 1976 Henry designed for a futuristic-looking wheel built almost entirely from a single sheet of European furniture grade hardwood plywood – with virtually no waste other than sawdust. Soon several hundred of these wheels were leaving our wood shop every year. Originally called our Kit Wheel as they were assembled by the customer, these wheels now come with the frame fully assembled and are referred to as our Modern Wheel.

Over the decades, we added a few items to help make spinning and plying easier: bulky (jumbo) adaptors, quills, and distaff options for both wheels. We recently added JMac lazy kates as well as hand turned threading hooks to pair with either your Modern or Traditional Wheel.