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ChenowethArts

Brent Wheel Kit - Down Memory Lane

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Do you Remember?
I was a little surprised when a Google search for 'Brent Wheel Kit' delivered options for both the metal parts and the pre-cut plywood components for a Do-it Yourself assembled throwing wheel (see image below). My very first experience with wheel-throwing was on one of these kits.  Wayyy back in the late 1960's and early 1970's I probably built a dozen of these things for different people, cutting out my own plywood from the drawings provided by Brent.  I wonder just how many of the old-timers here have similar experiences?

 

The Rest of the Story:
By the time summer rolled around at the end of my sophomore year in college, I had a whopping 2 courses in ceramics under my belt and was off to a summer camp staff job where I hoped to share my newly acquired 'expertise' (insert laughter here).  I did not get the craft instructor job, but I convinced the camp's director that a wheel would be a good addition to the craft shed and a cool idea to entertain families as they delivered their boys on registration day. He forked over the cash to order the metal parts from Brent, and I proceeded to do the woodworking part of the project.  Proudly finished and nicely painted, the monster was ready for demonstrations just after lunch on opening day.  It was at the point of doing a demonstration with a small crowd of campers and parents circling me, my clay, and the wheel that I realized that the exercise of kicking, raising feet, and compressing abdominal muscles (right after lunch, remember) was not included in the safety warning label for the wheel kit. To my complete embarrassment and undoubtedly the discomfort and juvenile snickering that resulted from my ensuing flatulence, the Cheno-Wheel ,as it as christened, gained a car license plate on the seat back that read "Gas Powered Wheel - maintain a safe distance, avoid flames".

 

This is what the completed Cheno-Wheel looked like (unpainted):
brent-kit.jpg

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Very funny unfortunately this sounds like something I would do. I remember people making kick wheels with cement fly wheel.  I have a old kick wheel that has a metal kick wheel that weighs a ton but is smooth runs like a dream.  Denice

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I have some very old school off grid potter friends wit this very same wheel and have used it for 40 years now. I sold them an electric wheel but they never used it as they like this old kick even though now they have a power supply.(inverted)

Mark

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Was it just the weight of the wood, that kept the wheel spinning, or was something else added?

Ben,

I used standard bricks in the flywheel. The  bricks are sandwiched between 2 layers of 3/4in. plywood with long bolts.  By loosening the bolts, brick could be shifted outward (or inward) to balance the wheel (much like one might do on an automobile wheel).  Once the bricks are in place, the whole set-up is quite heavy!

-Paul

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If you look between the two layers of Plywood, Ben, you will see it used cinder block for weighting.

 

 

 

Was it just the weight of the wood, that kept the wheel spinning, or was something else added?

Ben,

I used standard bricks in the flywheel. The  bricks are sandwiched between 2 layers of 3/4in. plywood with long bolts.  By loosening the bolts, brick could be shifted outward (or inward) to balance the wheel (much like one might do on an automobile wheel).  Once the bricks are in place, the whole set-up is quite heavy!

-Paul

 

Ah, makes sense.

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Ironically it would seem like a kit like that today would sell better than it did back then.  

 

With todays Ikea style furniture, you would think you could offer such a kit for only a few hundred dollars which would potentially open up your market to SOOO many more people.

 

If they like throwing, they could always upgrade to an electric wheel later.  (and if they liked there Brent kit, why not buy a Brent e-wheel)  

 

Sadly so few companies think this way anymore. 

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Oh thanks so much for posting this photo, Paul. I had to search but I managed to find two old photos from the 1970's of the Brent kit wheel that my Dad built for me. He actually filled the wheel with cement. It caused me to spend many years throwing without an electric wheel because it was so sweet. 

post-8088-0-76304600-1394851749_thumb.jpg

post-8088-0-76304600-1394851749_thumb.jpg

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