France | Brittany

The wheelwright

This may well be one of the world’s oldest professions, since it goes back to the invention of the wheel! The wheelwright was more or less the village expert for all rolling wooden objects. His trade included making carts, wagons, wheelbarrows and other similar objects. The wheelwright would employ various woods, like oak, which was prized for its strength. To make a cart, the wheelwright would generally cut a single tree into a longeron — a long beam measuring several metres that served as the vehicle’s basis.

[peinture #00883]
Using a brace to drill the wheel hub. He had to be very skilled to drill a perfectly straight hole in the exact centre of the hub. Otherwise, the wheel axle would be off-centre and the wheel would roll unevenly.
France, Brittany, Ille-et-Vilaine, Saint-Melaine
Sketch, grease pencil, sketchbook page (disbound)
Credit: Frédéric Back
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