Introduction: How to Wall Mount a Ship Wheel & Make It Spin!

I inherited this heavy but authentic ship wheel from my grandparents. Although it looked great on top of a closet, I wanted to make it spin, hanging on the wall. Given how long ship wheels have been around, one would think there would be plenty of online instructions on how to mount it and make it spin & turn. No such luck besides this inspirational post.

I hope these instructions help aspiring sailors to bring the seaventuring life into your homes.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

Materials you will need

    1. A ship wheel (duh)
    2. One bolt with 8mm diameter with screw-head and some thread-free space where the bearings go
    3. some 8mm nuts & washers
    4. 2 Drill-In Threaded Socket
    5. A cylinder piece of strong wood to put into the center of the wheel, the exact size is dependent on your ship wheel (see below)
    6. Skate bearings of 8mm inside diameter
    7. Wall brackets (I used 3 of about 30mm wide each side)
    8. bolts & nuts & washers to affix the wall brackets to each other (I used 5mm)
    9. Dowels & screws to screw the wall brackets to the wall
    10. optional: a glue-like substance for affixing the bolt/washers&nuts


    • For carving out the round piece of wood to fit in the shipping wheel, I used a multipurpose tool with a fine tooth saw blade + hammer
    • Cordless hand drill/screwdriver with 8mm wood drill bit, bit for the screws going in the wall, flat head for bolt, bits for the wall bracket bolts, bit for the wall screws (T20)
    • some clamps

    Step 2: Creating the Axle

    in the quest for an axle to slot into the wheel, I was not very successful in finding a cylinder piece of wood. So I worked from a square piece of wood.

    1. I first took the measurements inside the wheel to see how long and wide this axle needed to be
    2. With the little saw on the multifunctional tool I was able to chop off none-fitting bits
    3. Hammering it into the wheel gave me a clear view on where more bits needed to be sawn off
    4. In the end I got it nicely flush with the wheel while about 3,5 cm of it sticks out on the side towards the wall

    Step 3: Making It Spin

    So now the "easy" part is over, the quest for a beautifully spinning wheel started. I knew I needed things to be as straight as possible so that the wheel would not tilt. Although I was not successful there, it did end up spinning quite well. So stick with me.

    1. Drilled a 16mm hole with a spaded bit in the axle
    2. I fitted the drill-in threaded socket & screwed it in using a spaded bit. Unfortunately, the second threaded socket came out too easily, so I hammered in 2 bolts instead, which hold surprisingly well
    3. Then the bolt goes in.
    4. To make sure things run smoothly but still fixed, I used the bolt-glue (for lack of a better word)

    The bolt goes in with these components (from head to end):

    1. washer
    2. skate bearing
    3. bracket
    4. skate bearing
    5. 3x washers
    6. 1 threaded socket

    Step 4: Mounting It on the Wall

    First wood...

    My plan for mounting this on the wall evolved somewhat. I first thought to put it through a wooden piece. However, that piece broke and I did not feel wood would be able to hold this super heavy ship wheel stable enough. So I bent towards metal.

    Then a metal bracket :)

    When I first mounted the wheel on one bracket attached to the wall, the metal bracket bent due to the heavy weight of the ship wheel. Also, it seemed to slowly detach itself from the wall. So a second bracket was added. This solution proves itself to be super stable. Just for an added safety feel, I put a hose clamp around the wooden bit containing the axle.

    It ain't perfect

    Due to things not being 100% straight and the metal solution which does not hold the skate bearings perfectly, the wheel does wobble a bit and tends to always go back to the same position. Although there is room for improvement, we are happy with the endresult!

    Step 5: Spin It Around!

    Tug --> Spin --> ENJOY!

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