I received an email recently from Cletha Walstrand. She has a Wallace Van Eaton spinning wheel that was custom made for her mother. Mom is gone now and Cletha wants to make sure the wheel her mom loved so much, and took such good care of will go to someone who will love it and use it as much as her mom did. I couldn't be more happy to help facilitate that goal.
I had never heard of Mr. Van Eaton so had to do a bit of research. Here's the scoop. Wallace Van Eaton was born in Vanscoy, Saskatchewan Canada to American parents. He spent his childhood in Vanscoy and then the family moved to the US about the time he started high school. He joined the Army Air Corp and flew big bombers - B17's and B-29's during World War II. After the war he finished college and moved out to Yakima, WA. He spent many happy years practicing as a Chiropractor and married to his wife Maurine. When he retired from Chiropractic he started making wonderful items out of wood. Over the next 30 years he made violins and grandfather clocks, apple presses and spinning wheels. Of course, the spinning wheels are what we want to talk about.
Mr. Van Eaton made over 340 spinning wheels over the next 30 years. He made four different models including the Fly 'n Tote which is a folding wheel that will fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane. Google Mr. Van Eaton's name and you will find lots of wonderful comments about his fine wheels. They spin true, they work hard but are easy to spin on and they are all made out of wonderful wood. He used walnut, ebony, apricot, oak, plum, myrtle, mesquite, burginga and patterned maple among others. He has retired from spinning wheel construction several times over the years but somehow gets pulled back into the process. That may be because his wheels are so prised.
But back to Cletha Walstrand and her mother's wheel. Cletha wants to sell her mother's wheel since she doesn't spin. She is located in Ivins, UT so I haven't seen this wheel in person but it sure sounds wonderful. By comparison, I found other of Van Eaton's wheel for sale in various places for prices ranging from $350 to $1600. Here is what Cletha has to say about this wheel: