Homemade Pottery Wheel
Homemade Pottery Wheel

Homemade Pottery Wheel

The first and most important requirement is the frame of an old fashioned treadle type sewing machine with a sewing machine belt. You may have one stored away in the attic or basement. If you do not have the frame of a treadle sewing machine we recommend that you look for it at any junk shop. A belt may be purchased from the hardware store. The second essential part is the axle from the front wheel of a Model “A” Ford. The following articles may be purchased from a hardware dealer:

  • 2 window sash pulleys (2-3/4 in. diameter)
  • 1 “V” clothes line pulley (5 in. wheel; 3/4 in. hole)
  • 2 – 1/4 in. bolts (2 in. long)
  • 2 wing nuts
  • nails
  • 12 flat head wood screws (1-3/4 in. long)

For lumber, use clear finish pine. The pieces shown in Diagram I fulfill the requirements and can be cut to order at the mill. In addition to this you will need a 1-inch dowel, 4 feet long, or an old broom handle.

The essential part of the potter’s wheel is the sewing machine treadle and its supporting frame. Upon this basic structure the wheel is built. Study the diagrams and follow the directions step by step.


Bolt two cleats (Diagram I-A) to the sides of the frame Diagram II-A. Upon this the table top, B, is set. It is best to assemble the top before attaching it to the cleats. To the table top, B, attach uprights, C, and to each end of the upright attach the two small pulleys, D, by inserting them at an angle into a concave notch made in the upright. For a clear understanding of these steps and the position of the various parts, see the accompanying photograph of the “pulley section of the treadle”.

The sides, E, and the back, F, are nailed together and the back shelf, G, is fastened into place. The entire table top is now ready to screw to the cleats, and when set up will extend over the edge of the sewing machine frame approximately 6 inches on either side.

Because of the length of the axle, it is necessary to add a supporting base, H, which gives an added height of 1-1/2 inches. The diameter of the hole cut through the center of the support is determined by the diameter of the axle; in any case about 1/4-inch should be allowed to insure smooth revolution of the axle. At this point the final steps have been reached.

The axle, I, from which the Ford wheel has been removed, is set through the center of the top, B, and rests upon the support, H, to which it is now bolted. To the base of the axle add the “V”-shaped clothes line pulley, J, secured in position by a piece of wire, K, twisted at either end. The round sewing machine belt is now run over the sewing machine wheel, L, and through the two window sash pulleys and the clothes line pulley. Now the movement of the treadle will cause the axle to revolve. Next fasten the dowel supports, M, on the sides, E, by means of the two 1/4-inch bolts regulated by the two wing nuts.