Welcome to my project Worldwide Wheelwright!
What is Worldwide Wheelwright about?… During my years as a Wheelwright I have come across many adversities that have compromised the sustainability of the trade. For many generations Wheelwrighting in the UK has relied on three timbers, Oak, Ash and Elm. Sourcing these local timbers has become increasingly difficult thanks to factors such as Dutch Elm disease and poor woodland management. Add to this a lack of advancement in Wheelwrighting techniques due to a decline in the use of horse drawn vehicles and we may potentially lose the skill forever.
Worldwide Wheelwright aims to study the skills and practices of American Wheelwrights both current and past in the hope of finding alternative resources and methods for the future of Wheelwrighting in the UK. My Journey begins in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia and ends at the North West Carraige museum, Washington State. I will be visiting various sites across the USA from working Wheelwrights shops to museums and sites of interest. You can follow my Journey through Worldwidewheelwright.com or social media where I will be posting regular video blogs and updates. Please also keep track through my interactive map (above). This project is with thanks to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights. Please spread the word about this project, I hope that the knowledge I will bring back from my journey will be interesting and valuable for both Wheelwrights and enthusiasts for years to come.
Please click on the link below to view my final report:
The Wheelwright | documentary from Sam Birch on Vimeo. Catch Master Wheelwright Phill Gregson at his Wheelwright’s Shop in Lancashire, England. In this film we follow the journey of a new wheel through the workshop, working with old machinery, hand tools and Bear and Arnie, Phill’s pair of working horses.
Find us at Wheelwrights Shop on Facebook to see more up to date videos and projects.