I was given a pound of carded wool. However I had no way to spin it. Here is the drop spindle that I made on the street in Portland.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
I couldn't find a hardware store in downtown Portland, but there were several art supply stores. I purchased a 3/8" hardwood dowel and I piece of basswood 4" wide and 1/4" thick. I also found a packet of picture hangers that contained a screw eye. I also happened to have a pen and my Leatherman on me (I used the saw, the knife and the pliers).
Step 2: Measuring a Square
Before I left the store I took a second basswood plank and laid it perpendicular to the first piece to mark a square on the end.
Step 3: Sawing off the Square
There was a bench right outside of the store that made a fine workspace. I used the saw on my Leatherman to cut off the 4" square I'd marked on the end.
Step 4: Finding the Center
I used the long piece of the plank to draw diagonals from corner to corner on the square. This helped me find the center of the square. I marked the X on both sides.
Step 5: Drilling the Hole
I rotated the end of my knife into the center of the X. I made a shallow hole on one side, and a deep hole on the other side. I wanted the hole to taper toward one side, but I also wanted to keep the hole from wandering off on some strange angle.
Step 6: Fitting the Dowel
I cut the dowel to the length of my forearm and made a slight taper on one end. I then pushed it into the hole to check the fit. I had to enlarge the hole and change the taper on the dowel several times until I got a good friction fit.
Step 7: Screw Eye
I screwed the screw eye into the center of the end of the dowel that was barely protruding from the basswood plank. I then used the pliers to pry open the screw eye slightly so it would catch the wool.