Last week I received a new spindle: a Frodo from Mirkwood Arts. The spindle maker, Tibor, lives in New Hampshire, which he lovingly calls “The Shire”, and he makes spindles with a Lord of the Rings theme. He started with the Fellowship, and later created some of the ladies too (Eowyn, Goldberry, Luthien, etc.). He experiments with adding gems and other flair to the spindles, without getting in the way of the spinning itself. He offers an option for a crowned tip, where a gem is seated at the top of the shaft, but you can also choose a “normal” tapered shaft. The other unique thing about these spindles is their so-called infinitip, a sphere-shaped metal insert in the whorl, which makes sure that you have minimal friction with the spinning surface, also if you don’t spin exactly perpendicular to it.
Mirkwood Arts Frodo
Whorl: sapele wood
Shaft: hard maple
Crown: CZ champagne gem
Weight: 32.7 grams/1.15 oz.
Length: 27.3 cm/10 3/4″
The Frodo is made of Sapele wood, with a hard maple shaft, and I chose to incorporate a CZ Champagne-coloured gem. The spindle looks beautiful, not too heavy, and the finishing is very nice. The infinitip is smooth and shiny, and works as expected. I’ve been spinning with Russian spindles mainly until now, so I had to get used to the more Tibetan style of spinning (a slower but longer spin). After I adapted, I found the spinning quite nice, and got into the rhythm. The balance is good when the spindle is going fast just after flicking it, but when it starts going slower, the shaft starts moving around a bit. Perhaps that is normal for this style of spindle.
Because of the metal infinitip, I first tried spinning with this spindle in a glass spindle bowl, but it made quite a lot of noise. I then tried the Malcolm Fielding spinning surface I own (dymondwood), but that slowed the spindle down noticeably. The dimple shape probably didn’t work together well with the infinitip shape. Finally I took out a wooden bowl, and this turned out to be the best option for this particular spindle. I’ve never felt the difference in spinning surfaces as much as with this spindle until now.
The crowned shaft was a bit strange at first, but didn’t really interfere with my spinning. As the thread is at a 45 degrees angle anyway, the crown is not in the way. There is a slender area where you can more easily flick the shaft, and it feels quite natural. I spun part of the sample fiber that came with it without a problem. Personally, I think I would prefer the spindle to spin a bit faster or longer, but my “sweet spot” is of course very subjective. I can really recommend this spindle to anyone who loves spinning supported with Tibetan (like) spindles.
- The infinitip is not just a gimmick, it really works
- The crowned shaft does not interfere with your spinning
- The spindle is made with excellent craftsmanship
- The speed of the spindle is moderate, as is the length of one spin
- The spindle is not overly finished, it still has texture, but it is smooth and well-balanced