Ships wheel coffee table

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Project by Joedcatman posted 11-15-2009 06:38 AM 7655 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I bought this solid brass ship’s wheel in Wakkanai Japan in 1970 from a scrap dealer for about $10.00. I have been moving it all around with me for the last 39 years. Finally, I decided to make it into a usable piece of furniture. The crossed feet are some kind of mahogany from wooden boat plank scraps discarded from a shipyard in Ballard WA. The upright is teak, mortised into the feet and wedge pinned underneath. I turned the handles from walnut and made the centerpiece to match. All wood parts were finished with 4 coats of teak oil.

Thank you Craigslist, I found the glass for the top, 42” diameter x 1/4” beveled plate for only $40.00

After only a week of polishing the brass, I pinned the handles on with 1/8” brass pins. The original handles were long lost but used copper pins. I think it turned out great. Any ideas what it might be worth on today’s market? I haven’t been able to find anything like it, even on the world wide web.

-- JoeR Nothing that I could make will ever be perfect but I'll use it anyway.

11 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#1 posted 11-15-2009 06:42 AM

Hey Joy
This is a really cool table , bargain materials all the way around, Looks Super glad you took a turn at it.:-))

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View nmkidd's profile


758 posts in 3170 days

#2 posted 11-15-2009 09:16 AM

Ahoy Matey…......what a great table. First ships wheel table I’ve seen….neat idea.

-- Doug, New Mexico.......the only stupid question is one that is never asked!........don't fix it, if it ain't broke!

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23074 posts in 3358 days

#3 posted 11-15-2009 10:12 AM

Hey Joe,
Now I know who stole my ships wheel…..real cool job…well done.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3890 days

#4 posted 11-15-2009 04:06 PM

I’m guessing but the blueish, greenish oxidation around the inside of the wheel might have been caused by another piece of wood surrounding the inside perimter of the wheel, no longer there.

If you “googled” images of ships wheels, they often come from suppliers of the wheels with a link to their website which might give you an idea of what the wheel is worth.

That said….........Nice Table

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Dale 's profile


415 posts in 3178 days

#5 posted 11-15-2009 04:15 PM

Joe that is very nice and you did a beautiful job displaying the ships wheel. Being an old coastie I am really into nautical items. All of my vacations are spent near the ocean at various locations and if there is a nautical store within 25 miles, I’m there. I’ve seen commercially made (cheap) ship’s wheel tables priced in the mid hundreds. Yours is worth well over that. Again very nice job.

-- Dale West Central Pa. Do it all, before last call.

View rosewood's profile


234 posts in 3338 days

#6 posted 11-15-2009 06:04 PM

great idea and workmanship,


View Joedcatman's profile


172 posts in 3112 days

#7 posted 11-15-2009 08:17 PM

Thanks all. The blue green color on the inside of the rim channnel isn’t oxidation, it’s paint. The inside channel was painted with a red lead primer and this color of unknown type of paint. Not being one who likes to breath lead dust, I simply cleaned it off the best I could and put a clear coat of lacquer over it to protect it from flaking off. It is the only clue on the wheel as to what boat this may have come off of. Wakkanai Japan is the northernmost city in Japan and it is an international port so the wheel could have come from anywhere in the world. I’d like to know who painted it that blue color but I’m afraid that knowledge has long disappeared. The scrapyard dealer was a South Korean and I spoke neither Korean or Japanese and he didn’t speak English. And to be really honest, 40 years ago I didn’t even think to ask.

-- JoeR Nothing that I could make will ever be perfect but I'll use it anyway.

View Joeshop's profile


49 posts in 3114 days

#8 posted 11-15-2009 08:32 PM

Hey Joe,

Great job on the wheel-table. It immediately took me back to one that I saw at an antiique/craft show in Abington, Va in the 1970’s . If I would have had the room for it in my home, I would have needed to have it sort of irrespective of cost !! The one I saw had both pieces of glass at the same height, with the inner one attached to and rotated by the wheel. The center of the table served as a “lazy susan” with all those seated able to reach under the outer ring of glass and using a handle of the wheel to turn the inner section.

God, I really loved that table !!

-- ~You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.~ - Joe

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2828 posts in 3282 days

#9 posted 11-16-2009 12:27 AM

Joe, you made an awesome table. Love everything about it.

-- John @

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1986 posts in 3461 days

#10 posted 11-16-2009 01:28 AM


-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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84 posts in 3063 days

#11 posted 01-03-2010 07:32 AM

“Avast ye land lubber, hoist the mainsil, and heave to”. Nice job Joe.

-- The safest place to be is within the will of God. God Bless. Michael

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