As a wheelwright I repair lots of wheels, which include Traditional Market Cart Wheels, and Costermonger cart wheels. All wheels come with their own challenges but market cart wheels come with added extra.
When Markets carts were an everyday sight at markets the stall holder would rent the cart for the day, from a local carriage master. Each market would have a local firm usually a family whose business it was building, maintaining, and hiring out market carts to their market. To differentiate their carts from their competitors in the next market, they would carve the name of their firm on the wheels, usually in a very distinctive script.
When we are restoring Market Cart wheels, the felloes ( the wooden rim sections) are usually the first to rot and therefore need replacing which means they need the name carved back on them in the same distinctive script
In the case of the wheels shown I was asked to retain parts where I can and replace where necessary sufficient to allow the market cart to be used again. Two of the hubs were replaced, all of the felloes and a couple of spokes, and then they are returned to the customer for painting.
If you have wheels that need repairing do get in touch, if you would like to see examples of some of the new carts I build have a look here
There is a natural affinity between making wheels and making chairs, both require similar tools and techniques. Both involve working with wood, jointing it at odd angles, turning on a lathe and steaming wood to shape. We cut similar joints, circular tenon’s and use the same tools to cut and shape the wood, Drawknives and Spoke Shaves
If you look back in History before the days of industrialisation, The wheelwright would create anything made out of wood for a village in the same way the blacksmith would craft anything from metal. So in addition to wheels the wheelwright would make furniture, and even serve as the undertaker, building the coffins and the hearse. Now it so happens I have made a few coffins for theatrical purposes, however that’s a facet of life I am quite prepared to let others deal with.
So Whilst I may have bypassed Coffin making I continue the practice of a wheelwright who looks at all forms of wood work, in particular I practice the trade of a Chair Doctor. I make new and repair old chairs. I am particularly fond of making Shaker style chairs and rocking chairs, I appreciate the design and it fits my skill set. Turned wooden legs and woven seats be it rush, cane, or shaker tape. The picture at the top shows a shaker style bench, with turned cherry wood with a woven rush cord seat. A product of our workshop. If you would like one or something similar get in touch.