Kickwheel Redux

I get periodic requests for Korean/Karatsu style low momentum kickwheel plans, so I thought I’d throw this out there again.

The pictures below are a mix of my kickwheel and the one I based it on, both are based on the traditional pin and receiver type, rather than the modern wheels which use bearings.  Having had the chance to use both, I am of the personal opinion that the pin and receiver version responds to a lighter touch and is more suitable for thin and/or small diameter coil and paddle work.

These are not plans per se, but drawings of the various parts with some pictures thrown in. Hopefully, altogether they will give one a good idea of how to put one of these things together. I will be putting another one together in the near future, and will post again at that time. You will notice I do not put measurements in the drawing. This is because based on the wheel size, most or all of the parts could be smaller or larger, depending. It is mostly just common sense. To give a sense of scale, my kickwheel shaft is 40mm diameter.

The biggest thing to influence your wheel size/height is you body and throwing position. There is no hard fast rule about how big the wheel should be. I screwed up when I made my wheel and the wheel head is taller than I had anticipated, requiring me to make a special seat to elevate my tuckus. Make sure you sus out how high you want your kicking/treading foot and how that compared with the height of the wheel head, then figure out how long this will make your stretchers, don’t forget to take into account the thickness of both wheels minus the distance the stretchers will be recessed into them. Also, how much height the tapered sleeve adds between the fly wheel and the bottom steel plate.

Having a drill press to drill the holes for the stretchers is a big help to make sure the holes are straight. I used a little drill stand that was pretty iffy. If you or  a friend is good with chisels or has a mortising machine, you can use rectangular stretchers.

I used a lathe to round the wheels. I imagine this is not really necessary. With a good saw and some elbow grease you could start with a square and start cutting off the corners 4,8,16,32…. just stop when you feel the wheel is round enough not to tear up your thighs and knuckles.

It is a fairly simple tool to build if you have a good blacksmith nearby. Oh, the pin and pin receiver were traditionally made from porcelain. That might be a fun alternative to metal…That’s about all I can think of for now. I may post addenda to this if I can think of anything.

3 thoughts on “Kickwheel Redux”

    1. It is easier than you might think, you should try it. If you know someone who can do metal work and/or someone with a wood lathe, the wheel practically builds itself… OK, well maybe not, but they are easier than you would expect.

  1. Thanks a lot for the drawings. I’ve been trying to figure it out from your photos for a while. It makes more sense now.


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