Introduction: Country Pottery Kickwheel

Picture of Country Pottery Kickwheel

Build a old fashioned rotary flywheel Pottery Kickwheel for about 100$

After a lot of searching on the internt, I could not find a decent drawing of a console style kickwheel for making pottery. so I made one. Measured drawings included...

Step 1: Building the Base Frame and Seatposts

Picture of Building the Base Frame and Seatposts

Using standard dimensional lumber (2x4) the build begins with the back and floor frame.

Step 2: Front Frame and Seat Supports

Picture of Front Frame and Seat Supports

adding the front frame and the seat supports

Step 3: The Adjustable Seat

Picture of The Adjustable Seat

the adjustabel seat is made of 2 (or 3) 2x4's attached with 7 inch peices of 2x4

Step 4: Adding Frame Peices

Picture of Adding Frame Peices

additiional peices are attached to the frame.

Step 5: Drawing Out the Flywheel

Picture of Drawing Out the Flywheel

drawing the 31.5 inch disks from a peice of 8x4 plywood.

this is a cheap trick, fit you have a center hole drilled, just poke a hole in a peice of cardboard , measure out the radius, poke another hole there, and use it like a disposable compass

Step 6: Cutting the Flywheel Top and Bottom

Picture of Cutting the Flywheel Top and Bottom

you will need to cut 2 31.5 inch disks from plywood. save all the scrap (see measured drawing)

use a circular saw to split the plywood into 2 4x4 sections, then cut the disks out with a jigsaw.

Step 7: Flywheel Cuts

Picture of Flywheel Cuts

you should have 2 flywheel dosks and 4 half moon shaped peices of plywood.

(only one shown)

drill a 1 in hole on the center of the disks, and attach the 1in floor flanges to the disks.

Step 8: Weighting the Flywheel

Picture of Weighting the Flywheel

using constuction adhesive, glue the bricks t the bottom flywheel disks.

Step 9: Finishing the Flywheel

Picture of Finishing the Flywheel

using more constuction adhesive, glue the top of the flywheel down and weight down.

imusing a 1 inch hoe handle to aligh the disks while they are drying.

Step 10: Bolting the Flywheel to the Base

Picture of Bolting the Flywheel to the Base

after temprarily removing the base boards, the flang bearing is attached to the flywheel with a 3 inch pipe nipple.

Step 11: Flywheel Installation

Picture of Flywheel Installation

the flywheel is slid into place and secured with screws

Step 12: Wheel Head Shaft and Support

Picture of Wheel Head Shaft and Support

the wheel head shaft is a peice of 29 inch galvanized pipe. the 1 5/.16 pillow block is driven on, and secured with a top frame support

Step 13: Completing the Wheel

Picture of Completing the Wheel

more freame peices are cut, the leftover plywood is fit into place to secure the console.

the wheel head is another 10 inch disk cut from the same sheet of plywood. alternatovle, you could but a ready made aluminium disk, or use a cake pan full of plaster...

Step 14: Moose and the Infernal Machine

Picture of Moose and the Infernal Machine

A very tired moose relaxes with his new construction

nothing left but painting...

Step 15: Measured Drawings

Picture of Measured Drawings

this is a set of ikea style measued drawing and material list.

if you have any questions ytou can contact me on facebook at Moosestudiospottery

Step 16: Measured Drawings

Picture of Measured Drawings

the following include the build drawings.


MadisonL10 (author)2016-06-08

Is there any way to make this without building the seat?

MaryS191 (author)2016-04-03

Thank you for sharing this fantastic Instruction for building a pottery kickwheel!

Its been a wonderful help!

bkoch4 (author)2016-03-29

So I ordered the exact bearing you said to order and the flange is not did I get the wrong part?

bkoch4 (author)bkoch42016-03-29

an email would be great.

AnnaJ3 (author)2015-06-03

Hi Moose! I'm very thankful for these plans. I've been reading and re-reading to try to make sure I understand everything. On step 10 does the 3" pipe nipple need to be threaded on both sides? I'm asking because I believe a pipe nipple is usually threaded on both ends, but the blow-up drawing of the flywheel construction does not show threads on both ends.

Also, since you made this a number of years ago, I'd be very interested to know if it's still working for you, or if it wore out or became unusable?

karacolor (author)2010-11-10

So the entire weight of the flywheel is held up by the flange bearing set screws? Do you need some sort of a metal plate under it to prevent gouging the wood?

Thank you for the great instructions!

Moose Gueydan (author)karacolor2011-09-08

the weight of the wheel is supported by the set screws ANd by the fact that the fit between the pipe and the flange bearing is very very tight. plus the inside race of the floor flange is tapered, so the pipe wedges into the flange and wont go anywhere. after 2 years of constant use, I only had one small problem, the top screws from the wheel head shaft to the top of the flywheel pulled out- fixed by using larger screws and some more liquid Nails. Ive also desigend a wheel lick, using a 3/4 inch drop pin that completly locks up the flywheel for MUCH easier entry and exit. thos plans are ebing drawn up, ill have them out is a couple of days, as always, anyone who wants a full set of plans just need to emails me..

I also have pending drawigns for a plate display rack, Bottle shelves, 5 gallon bucket shelves, a plate and tile drying case and finaly a motor for the kickwheel

I would love a copy of the instructions. Please send to Thanks!

jerryo13 (author)Moose Gueydan2013-07-15

Would appreciate a copy of your latest plans. Will be building two wheels for our Christian youth camp. Please E-mail to

Jerry O.

sing1ejack (author)karacolor2011-08-19

I'm also trying to wrap my head around what supports the weight of the flywheel. It seems like it would be most sturdy if the flywheel had a bottom point it could spin on, like a toy top does. If I fixed a 2-3" piece of pipe to the bottom of the flywheek, is there some kind of bearing that it could sit in/on?

I'm also wondering what kind of shop I might look for locally (VT) to find a good metal wheel head?

Thanks for putting this instructable up - I'm thoroughly inspired!

Moose Gueydan (author)sing1ejack2011-09-08

the inner rage of the floor flange is tapered, and the wheel is fully supported by the floor flange.

tmeradith (author)2014-06-23

I made a kick wheel exactly like this (same plans) in the early 1970s. I made hundreds of pieces on it, and never had a problem. It was just a little hard to center be mounds of clay, (because it would bog down the flywheel speed) but I managed to get the job done.

kage_no_mozaiku (author)2013-08-13

i knew my research would profit me some. i'm looking to develop my own studio and i think this will do nicely.

Gomi Romi (author)2012-08-27

Amazing wheel. Do you think that you could pull apart an office chair for the central ball bearing parts etc?

macmaniac (author)2012-06-26

Lovely project that's been very well executed, but here's a suggestion - the mass of your flywheel is predominantly at its centre, but if you move the bricks so the majority of the mass is as far away from the centre as possible (ie a kind of 'perimeter' of bricks) then the flywheel will store more kinetic energy and hence spin with higher torque for longer. Thanks for sharing!

Broberg (author)2010-05-19

WONDERFUL! I haven't thrown in YEARS!!!!

I saw a similar plan set right after college and had a copy of them but never got around to building my own kick wheel.
The other plans I saw called for pouring cement into a form which sounded very difficult but do-able. I like yours much better using pavers. you could even get round pavers or edgers and get more weight.

You could even glue down old sandpaper down on the top disk to give some grip to the kick wheel.....

LOVE the set of measured drawings!!! Very clear and will be very useful!

Over all a wonderful instrucable! 

(now where to find clay?........)

Moose Gueydan (author)Broberg2010-05-19

you should have a supplier in your town, most big cities have at least one.

if you have to have clay shipped- it will be expensive, plan to buy in 1 ton (1 pallette) lots to save on shipping.  If you dont want that much clay, find a club in your area, to split the cost-- if there isnt one, why its high time for sombosy to start one...

suppliers of clay are:    (best bet, loafer;'s glory, a white burning semi poceline clay)  they carry everything    I very much like thier Navaho white, but Bee mix is popluar too.

Lagua run through a distribution networlk of vendors, call them to get a dist in you area.  they have a nuber oif very fine clays in all sorts of colours.

(I use Amadore, Electric Brown, Redstone, Big white and Dave's porceline from thier line)

worse come to worse, you can alway grab a shovel and a bucket and do it the hard way... (ahh, snakes, very dangerous-you go first)

seriouly, I pay about 25$ per hundred for my studio clay delivered... and Have been using Aarvark's Navaho white almost exclusivly...

aardvark URL should be:

Bryan Smith (author)2010-09-28

I've seen a similar one where they slipped a plywood disk into the recess of a tire and filled it up with concrete to form the kick wheel.
I've also seen a primitive one where they use a wine bottle (with a concave bottom) buried topside down in the ground as a socket for the bottom of a wooden shaft. The upper bearing consisted of a piece of greased leather wrapped around the shaft to hold it next to a support. the kick plate was of wooden slabs fastened criss cross like a cart wheel and the top disk was also of wood.

daniellenpope (author)2010-09-14

What is the fly wheel secured to? And how does it spin? Sorry, this is my first big project and I'm a little confused.

paise (author)2010-07-11

This is almost identical to the wheel I first began using when I started throwing pottery as a child. I had to sit on a couple of phone books because the seat was a bit too short for me considering I was only about 4yrs old though I did eventually grow into the wheel. The only thing it's missing, which I wouldn't be without is a catch box beneath the wheel - or at least I wasn't able to find one but my vision hosed anyhow but it doesn't seem to have the catch bin. If it had it, this would be very close to the patented Leach Wheel designed by Bernard Leach and others like it. I have the designs to the Leach wheel thanks to his grandson, a third-generation master potter. I keep hoping I can have one built but I need a studio to put it in before i can have one built and I need a kiln & Peter Pugmill before having someone build me a manual wheel. I already have an electric wheel. Check out Simon Leach over at Youtube.

Moose Gueydan (author)paise2010-07-25

the leach wheel is considerably diffrent, as it uses a treadle lever. the plans which I have (from simon leach, 4th generation leach potter, requires heavy metal work and welding ti make the crank arm and cam lobe. this is very similar to the Brent wheel, although I should say that my wheel and the Brent wheel, are adaptations to the egyptian style wheel from 400BC the purpose of thi project was to make celar concise drawings, to use off the shelf parts from the hardware store and to be inexpensive as possible my wheel cost 104.62 to build, not counting the 3$ can of paint I boutgh to paint it with. the closest ready-made kick wheel run close to 600 for all the parts

Moose Gueydan (author)2010-05-19

and as always, you you want a 8x10 pdf just ask, ill email them to you...

and that goes for the wedg9ing table as well...

jeremydwalsh (author)2009-11-06

Excellent build. I built the frame and cut the circles. Just need to find out more about the bearings needed. 1" pipe at Home Depot is 1" ID and 1-1/4" OD. Now, the plans call for 1-5/16" bearings. Wouldn't you want to go with a 1" bearing? Also, I called around on these and they're like $50 a piece. Moose - can you tell me where you got what you used? I'm trying to stay cheap. Thanks.


You might be able to find some automotive bearings that would work - wheel bearings or crankshaft bearings or something like that - at a junkyard.  If you can't find some exactly the right size, you could get larger ones and "shim" them onto your pipe using plumbing size adapters. 

I dont think that would be a problem, though I would stick with black pipe for the stub (support end) of the flywheel.  of course your going to need the proper sized flanges etc...(annd)  you will need to order the right bearings..  use a caliper to measure the outside diametre of the pipe at the middle..

thats my problem with the 1 in pipe I got, the ends (where the threads are , are actually tapered in,- compressed slightly from when they cut the threads on the machine.  so my first measurment was 1 3/16  well under 1 1/4...  buuuuut.. no...  
the main thing is treat the build like a giant unfinished puzzle...  if it dosnt workthe first time, get a diffrent peice or beat it with a hammer until it fits....

if anybody wants a full 8x10 copy of the instructions in pdf, just eamil me, and ill send em out....

well, i bought 1 /1/.4 bearings to start too, but coated steel pipe is just bareley over 1-1/4 and they wouldnt fit.  so, another set  of 1-5/16 (the next size up  and they fit on with a bit of persuasion (hammering)

you dont need expensive ones, get these, theyre 15.00 each..
at the big bearing store, (plus 7.50 for shipping i think, it was 45$ for both delivered

the bottom bearing a 4 bolt flange bearing

the wheelhead bearing

onre thing  i did though, i had several shafts made up or diffreent lengths, and tested them before selecting the 28 inch one, you may want to do the same, depending on your height.

if you havent seen this here I am working on my finished wheel...

send me pix of your finished wheel when your done....

im currently working on a smaller "kid sized" version, but im having to worry about pinch points and operator saftey more than I did with the full sized version...

you can email me directly at if you want,


Moose Gueydan (author)2009-12-06

A couple of corrections to the drawings:

both bearings are 1 5/16. this size fits tightly on a 1 inch inside diametre plumbing pipe.  (there is a error on the flywheel page)

on the sheet plan for the flywheel:
the Sheet dimensions are 8 foot x 4 foot, which is the standard size for plywood.  3/4 inch exterior grade.

on the final skinning page:
Im afraid I fudged this just a bit, there isnt enough plywood to make the front counter from a single peice of leftover wood, it instead was made from 3 seperate peices and then covered with a peice of formica I had lying around.

Ill post more errors as I correct them, and I'll repost the finished images as replacements for the ones here.

Ive put up another pottery insructable, for a plaster topped Wedging Table,

shilohjim (author)2009-12-05

I want to build a metal kick wheel. Thanks for the idea for the flywheel and the source for the bearings.

Moose Gueydan (author)shilohjim2009-12-05

the sole purpose of this project was to design a device that took (a: common tools) and could be done without resorting to a lot of metal work.  the biggest problem with metal work for the hobiest is that the investment in tools is pretty steep., and after all that, (and the materials etv.. it may be cheaper to buy a ready made metal frame wheel (my local duncan shop has a laguna metal kickwheel for $500)

not that im trying to discourage you, it a great project... post pictutres make an instructable  be famous like me(BG)


shilohjim (author)Moose Gueydan2009-12-05

I didn't mean to belittle your wheel. On the contrary I think it's a fine set up especially for someone with only wood working tools.

Moose Gueydan (author)shilohjim2009-12-05

oops,  its:

of sacramento

Moose Gueydan (author)shilohjim2009-12-05

if you are on the west coast, I highly reccomend BLUE COLLAR SUPPLY.

tey sell mettal end cuts, odd shapes and half sheets  of aliminiuum,steel, brass, titaniuum, and a lot of other odd stuff.  Theyre in scaramento

all of the metal they sell is by weight, I bought a aluminium disk (12in diameter, 3/8 thick (laser cut)  for 13.00 after tax (3.00 a pound)

also, lots off odd peices..

if you are going to used dimensional shafting, your well ahead of the pack, as my chioce of plumbing parts lead to about a month of experimentation.

Moose Gueydan (author)shilohjim2009-12-05

no bellitlling taken...(BG)

if you need any help, just drop a line,

im currently working ob a pug mill and a smaller, kids version of this wheel...

among all the other stuff im working on...

aeray (author)2009-12-05

Excellent project and 'ible. I'm surprised that I haven't come across it before.

Culturedropout (author)2009-09-01

Nice. Thanks! May have to build one this fall. Right after I finish the greenhouse, and the rental house repair, and the milling machine restoration, and....

mlcorson (author)2009-08-03

Very well done. A superb revival of a organic classic. So much better than than the original I saw back in the 70's. Could the jig saw be tethered to the center mark when making the circles?

Moose Gueydan (author)mlcorson2009-08-03

thanks, ive never had much luck tethering powertools. the blade jams etc... I supose if you used a router or one of those zip drill cutters that would work.
having neither of those, I iused the tools that I had.

if I wanted to get really fancy, I could use a rasp and turn the edge but oits really not that critical... to be perfectly round... if anybody wants the drawings in 8x10 PDF, just ask.....


Moose Gueydan (author)2009-08-03

the plywood wheel head is temporary-- I screwed a plastic bat to the top. I plan to affix a more permanant wheel head just as soon as I get a round to it sorry for the delay, ive been working my widdle fingers to bone, trying to figger out all the details... as usual, its easy to throw thigs together, its another to make all the drawings for it...

Bongmaster (author)2009-08-03

a great build :)

Prfesser (author)2009-08-03

Beautiful wheel and beautiful instructable! Now why didn't you do this last month, and that way I wouldn't have bought the used wheel for my wife?? :-) One suggestion: Plywood, when it gets wet, will eventually leave splinters in your hands. :-( If you are going to use a plywood wheel, make several discs of masonite or something besides plywood. Drill three or four holes in the plywood, glue in dowels that stick about 1/8" above the plywood surface, drill matching holes in the masonite. I know they have a name for these pieces of material for on top of the wheel---I just can't remember what they're called. Wonderful machine! Prfesser

rimar2000 (author)2009-08-03

Very good work, Moose.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am currently single, and have been a maker all my life. I currently work as a technician for a comercial Laundromat company. I and ... More »
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