Finally, kickwheel pics 1

Been telling myself to look for all these pics for the last month or so. 言うは易し (Easier said than done). Finally located my full archive of pics for the last 5 years, and managed to dig them up from their various locations. Sorry for the wait, to everyone who requested these.

Ok. I’ll start with the wheel itself which is very simple, and you can make it yourself without any power tools, if need be. The squat wheel shown is the traditional version, this one is probably about 100 years old or more. Mine is also shown. There are some differences, mainly that I couldn’t afford Elm (keyaki) which is the wood normally used for kickwheels in Japan. This stuff is heavy, sinks in water and lasts forever if you don’t leave it in that water you just did the float test in.

I used cedar for the flywheel and hard maple in two layers, grain set perpendicular to each other. I made the flywheel thicker than normal because the wood is lighter, but in retrospect this probably wasn’t necessary, since the wheel is treaded, not kicked, anyway.




I rounded my wheel stock on a wood lathe after cutting it close with a band saw. You could start with a square and keep cutting corners until you got almost round with it, something like a ’32 sided’ circle. Notice on the old kickwheel, the stretchers are rectangular. I think the maker used mortising chisels to cut the rectangular holes, put the stretchers in, and wedged them. I think the wedges also may function as stretcher placement tuning, moving the stretchers in (toward center) or out (away from center) to tune the balance of the wheel during construction.

I’m not such a skilled wood worker though, so I used hardwood dowels for my stretchers, drilling holes with a hand drill and forstner bits. A drill press would have been SOOOOOO much easier. I established center on both wheels and measured outward equally for all, then drilled the holes. Not too difficult, the difficult part was holding everything perfectly straight while gluing and drying. Frankly, I think I got a little lucky. I used an expanding polyurethane glue, so I had lots of time to get everything lined up. Make sure there is no twisting from top to bottom, and that the wheel head center is DIRECTLY over the flywheel center.

2 thoughts on “Finally, kickwheel pics 1”

  1. Hi Robert,

    Sorry, I used to have a drawing but it is long gone now. The pictures from the 3 blog posts really show everything, though. They really are simple. A drawing would probably not help much since you would probably want different dimensions. If I built another one, I'd make it a bit shorter for starters.

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