DIY Wool Tumbler

(Being edited...)
I never heard of a wool tumbler until I saw a video recently on youtube and thought...WHAT A GREAT IDEA! Wonder how much that would cost?


And so I went to work putting one together that would cost a fraction of a commercial one AND be treadle powered.

Since putting this together I have continued to improve it. I've ordered 5/16 enclosed ball bearings to add to the posts, and to the wheel I am adding. More photos of that when it is done. If I can find a used motor, I can upgrade it even further! Need to visit Baraboo for that one.

Original Supplies used:

2 - 2x2" posts
2 - 4ft, 1/4" x 2, oak moldings, cut into 2 ft lengths (Used two short leftover pieces from a previous project to add braces to the cross)
2 - 6" 5/16 hex bolts
8 - 5/16 nuts
16 - 3/16 lock washers
4 - 1 1/2" wide, 5/16 ID washers
Approx 5ft of plastic fencing material, 3/4" or 1" mesh
4 - 1/4 Universal Hex Nipple (air tool supply)
Pipe cleaners
Size 10 D Sinker nails (2 7/8" long)
2 - 1" x 4 ft pine boards (stabilizers)
1 2x4 cut into 2ft sections
4 - 3/4 x 36" Square dowels
1 - 3/8" x 36" round dowel
8 - 3", small diameter, Hitch Pins (wish the receipt said which size they were, I can't remember)
Bailing Twine or other strong string

(3 - 5/16 Sealed Ball Bearings)
(1 - 10" wheel)


Power drill
Scroll saw
1/4 bit
3/8 hole drilling bit
Hand planning tool
Gater bit

Oak Moldings
(Click to magnify)

Take the 2ft oak moldings, find the center, drill 5/16 hole for bolt. Drill 3/4" holes on both ends of all four, for the dowels to sit in. 

Cut out a piece of the plastic mesh to fit on the ends of the cross-arms, extending just a bit. Secure with pipe cleaners.

I marked the center of mine so I could easily line it up again after being disassembled.

Place a 6" 5/16 bolt through the mesh and center of moldings, adjust the arms so they are about equal distance from one another, in a cross. Add one wide washer, one lock washer, one nut and tighten.
Set Aside

Hitch Pin

Take your 3/4 square dowels and shave down the ends with planer until they are tapered enough to fit through the holes in the oak molding and extends about an inch outside the molding. Then take a 3/32 drill bit and drill a hole through the side of the newly rounded ends. This is for the hitch pins.

Take two of the dowels and drill holes just big enough for your nails, 3" apart along the entire length. Glue in place with Gorilla or wood glue.

About 2" down from the top of the 2x2" posts, find the center and drill a hole big enough for the Hex nipples, one on each side, and add them to the post.

With the scroll saw, cut out a place for the posts to be inserted into the 2x4 feet, in the middle. Insert into feet and secure with bolts or glue if needed.

Insert dowels into the ends of the moldings, secure in place with hitch pins. It will be very flexible and wobbly at this point. Insert the ends of the bolted cross-arms into the posts. Secure with one wide washer, one nut, one lock washer, another nut and tighten. Don't over-tighten as it will need to be able to rotate freely.
(this may change once the ball bearings arrive)
Repeat for the other side.

Add crisscross stabilizer bars on to posts underneath the barrel, one to each side.

Take plastic meshing, secure to one of the dowels and rotate to measure out meshing. Allow a 3-4" overlap. Secure opening with 3/8 dowel by weaving it into the mesh once at each end. Secure meshing to the dowels with pipe cleaners.

Sew the ends of the mesh to barrel using a whip stitch and string/yarn of choice. I used hemp, it's what I had on hand.

Make sure the dowels with the nail "tines" are angled slightly inward. Be sure to turn the barrel so the wool is impaled by them, left or right depending on which way you decide to angle them. They are easily readjusted. 

This is the wheel I cut from the old bookcase I got rid of. It's about an inch wide and I am slowly carving out a channel for the drive belt, which just happens to be an old bow string from my stick-bow. It's perfect! It's got grip and strength.

The width of the wheel on the shaft of the tumbler is about 4 1/4" It's a wheel I made some time ago for a DIY, cigar box, Book Charkha.

Upon further research and meditating on how to smooth out and improve the overall function of the tumbler and treadle, I bought some ball bearings off Amazon. They haven't arrived yet but I will update when I have them installed.

I recently got a new bookcase to replace a wobbly one, and I reused the old one to cut a couple 10 inch wheels from. I am in the process of turning one into the main treadle wheel. Since it's particle wood, it's been fairly easy to carve out a grove for the drive-band, which just happens to be an old drawstring to my stick-bow. Yes, I have a stickbow, and a recurve. I've also made my own arrows to shoot at the local SCA. Unfortunately I am no longer strong enough to draw either one. LOL! Working on it!

Until next time...
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1 comment:

  1. found this through google-- woman!!! you are a strange and wonderfully funny person! cracked me up through the whole video--but sincerely-- thanks for making this and posting it! enjoyed ALL of it! you rock!


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