I live and work in the Suffolk countryside where we have a thriving horse interest.
Here at SUFFOLK WHEELWRIGHT we make and repair any type of wooden wheel from the heaviest wagon to the lightest goat cart or even bicycle wheels.
At least half of my work is in re-building wheels for heavy horse vehicles along with shafts and some restoration of old wagons and carts. Gypsy van wheels and body repairs turn up in surprising quantity.
Light trade vehicle wheels and recreational carts take up the rest of my time. Many of my wheels go into the show ring on rare and historic vehicles. Others go to keeping a treasured family run-about going and giving years of pleasure. They are all different and each wheel presents its own challenge - rolling huge steel tyres or fitting new rubbers.
I work in association with many local skilled crafts people, including precision engineers, blacksmith, bridle and harness maker, upholsterer, paint finisher, forester and timber converters, all of whom play a key role in enabling me to turn out quality work.
We build in keeping with the English tradition in that we use air-dried Elm in the hubs, best quality straight grained Oak for the spokes and Ash in the felloes (pronounced fellies). All wood is sourced locally and carefully selected. One of our mottos is: ‘Don’t waste craftsmanship on second rate material’.
Wheelwrighting is interesting and varied. I am privileged to be carrying on this time honoured craft. You might think a wheel is a wheel is a wheel, but even similar looking jobs pose new and unexpected problems to be solved. This is a craft which often mutates to a black art and never ceases to engage the enquiring mind.