Why not a Whatnot?

I have a folder full of housewares and projects on my must build list, but I stumbled over this article in American Agriculturist 1881, and couldn’t get it out of my head. It seemed deceptively simple, if I could only get my hands on some empty spools.

Of course I have a number of wooden spools, different sizes of course, not many empty, and not so many that I could dedicate them to a whatnot. So I took a trip to Casey’s woodworking here in Maine and came away with enough wooden widgets to keep me busy for a while.

If I am going to use spools, I figured wooden yard sticks would work well for the shelves. After a little cutting, gluing and drilling they seemed to match the size of the spools perfectly. And I am still using 19th century tools for this… read, hand drill, hacksaw, awl and pocket knife.

The spools looked a little naked, so I dressed them up with some colored floss. I also hit all the joints with some wood glue for stability. I suppose if you were to hang it and leave it, gravity would do the job. I also added those knobs to give the knots something to fight.

On the whole I think it came out okay, like something you’d buy in a country shop made as decoration. A little too twee for my personal tastes… I think I’d like it more IF I had used recycled bits and bobs, but it scratched my itch to see it in 3 dimensions. I have plenty of spools to make it in a larger scale…if I can find a wall to hang it on. Now that I have the design in my head, I think I can tweak it to be a bit more functional for my own purposes… I think a few hooks on the underside will give me someplace to hang my big balls of string..and yardsticks….in my kitchen.