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old spinning wheel photos and questions

 
Judith Browning
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I mentioned to our local 'antique/junk' store guy that I was looking for a spinning wheel and a week later he has one that I really like (and I bought it!) ........I'm posting some pictures and have some questions for other spinners about what I think should be a bobbin break and how to set it up. I also am not sure that it was really used with two belts but that is how it was when he bought it and I left it that way for the pictures. Might be that one is intended for the bobbin break but I don't know.
I did a little spinning on it with a cord attached to the bobbin groove making the bobbin more stationary.....not sure what I'm doing though it's been a long time and I had an Ashford that was somewhat different but the spun yarn would only load the bobbin that way.

The writing on the side says 'Marith John's datter Hastroen 1846' They 'say' it's from Sweden. The handwritten card with it says " Marith John's datter Hastroen 1846 Grandma Nustads spinning wheel. She got this spinning wheel when she was 16 yrs old and it was a second hand one then."

Everything seems to work smoothly...the wheel needs some support work. Steve has noticed all of the wooden pegging and wedges used in construction. We like how it is put together and well worn with still some spinning life in it.....

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Judith Browning
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some more photos.....

the first pic shows the two belts riding in two grooves of the flyer...there is a groove also on the far end of the bobbin that is harder to see.
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Judith Browning
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and a few more
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R Ranson
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OH WOW. That is a beauty!

It's a presentation wheel and looking at the construction style makes me think mid 19th Century. Presentation wheels were commissioned by a guild or spinning group to give to their most outstanding members. These are very rare. Most of them are of outstanding quality and highly decorated. You've got something very special.

It's also a production wheel. Big drive wheel, small whorls on bobbin and flyer make for fast spinning of a fine yarn with a tight twist - exactly what you want for weaving, but excellent for other uses too. You can spin other kinds of yarn on this too, but the thickness will be restricted by the size of the orifice (yarn guzzling hole).


Since it's an old wheel, please be sure to release the tension from the drive band if you aren't spinning. You should do this for any wheel, but it's especially important for maintaining older wheels.


The drive band(s) are too large for the wheel. Using them for extended time will damage the wheel.

It's a double drive wheel, so having two bands (or one band looped around twice) is correct. Something like this one:


Image from here

The Ashford Elizabeth is modeled after wheels like this. The set up for the Elizabeth is just about identical for your wheel. I'll see if I can find some good instructions for you.

You can set this up to have a scotch tension if you really want. But only if you must. Doing so would probably detract from the value (both historical and monetary). It's lovely as it is, and will do your bidding just fine with a double drive. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, they are probably just not use to using a production wheel.


I'm getting over excited by how awesome this wheel is. I actually need to stop and read your text properly. I'm writing this as if you know nothing about wheels, then hop into using technical jargon... I'll get a cup of tea, calm down and see what your questions actually are.

Ask any questions at all, this kind of wheel is my passion. I've done a lot of work with wheels this age, and they are my favourite for spinning with.

Also, check out The Spinning Wheel Sluth for more information about your particular wheel. They are the go to place for information. If they don't know about your wheel's history, then they will probably write an article about it and one of their members will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about it.
 
kadence blevins
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Yup that's a double drive. you need one part of the band going to the whorl on the bobbin, and one part of the band going to the whorl that spins the flyer. you can do this with one band and having it crisscross between the wheel and the flyer (above or below). or you could do it with two bands.

make sure you pull the drive band(s) off the whorls when you put it aside. having them on and tensioned all the time will stretch the band(s) and you will have to tighten or replace sooner than needed.

very very beautiful wheel!
 
Judith Browning
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Thank you R. and Kadence! very helpful information...

We wondered about the bands...both as heavy as treadle sewing mch. belts and very loose...first thing to replace. and the bobbin has a large chip that I think will prevent a band from staying in the groove.

I'm fascinated by the wedge and peg that hold the axle of the drive wheel in place.......so sweet... the bottom of the wedges are very worn though so Steve is whittling a couple replacements.

Do either of you recommend a place to order a bobbin or two? I see them in junk stores occasionally but I'm sure if I go looking it could take days.
Another spinner friend mentioned that the bobbin didn't look quite right...I'm wondering if the flyer and bobbin are original or were replaced at one time...the shaft for them fits into leather loops on either end...they look like they've been there for awhile.

We knew that it was inscribed and could barely see the lettering...once I took some pictures, though, all of the color became apparent in the pics. I still don't see the orange at all and the green just barely, on the spokes of the wheel when looking at the wheel itself, just in the pictures.

The paper that came with it says:
"Marith John's datter Hastroen 1846
Grandma Nustads spinning wheel
She got this spinning
wheel when she was
16yrs old and it was a
second hand one then.
"

One of may favorite parts is the worn treadle

I did a lot of spinning in the eighties with a drop spindle and an Ashford wheel. I was a full time weaver then though so Steve took up the spinning and I would weave it up.......we finally sold the wheel and a good set of cards thinking this was never gonna happen again

looking forward to spending some time at the link you provided R. Ranson, thanks!

 
Judith Browning
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This is a copy of the paper that was attached to the wheel
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Judith Browning
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I had some cord that worked great for a new band and now I am working at adjusting the tension to get the yarn to take up on the bobbin.
My spinning skills are about back at zero though so all of those beginner things are interfering with wheel function...like keeping the wheel going at a steady speed and starting and stopping with my foot and not having to grab the wheel...going backwards, over spinning, etc.
Much smoother bobbin take up after I cleaned the shaft it fits on...many years of lanolin I think.....fun indoor project for a rainy week here.....

and a fleece question...I have a wether fleece and a young female fleece. The boy fleece has a definite sweaty bad smell so I am washing bits at a time.
The female fleece just smells nicely like lanolin and I would like to spin it as is...I've been talking to a friend about spinning worsted...spinning from the butt to the tip of tufts of fleece...now I'm reading about 'dutch combs used for preparing wool for worsted... one of the pair is attached to a table and the other works the wool.
Is anyone familiar with these? I don't have a regular set of wool cards anymore so have been looking for a good used pair, now I'm wondering about this other type of comb also.
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new double drive band
 
Chadwick Holmes
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Very nice!
 
Chadwick Holmes
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The. Turning looks like colonial German work to me, that tradition carried into the 1800s and was dead by 1900. It could be quite old.....I see no signs of modern woodworking, parts are left on that we remove, and details are made that very few of us take the time to include anymore......very nice indeed
 
Judith Browning
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Chadwick Holmes wrote:The. Turning looks like colonial German work to me, that tradition carried into the 1800s and was dead by 1900. It could be quite old.....I see no signs of modern woodworking, parts are left on that we remove, and details are made that very few of us take the time to include anymore......very nice indeed


I think it really is from 1846 as the inscription and note say. We were told it was from Sweden but it could be from Germany originally... the name sounds Swedish maybe....I'm still amazed at the color on the spokes of the drive wheel that only show so vivid in the photos and love all the little square pegs and wedges and bits of leather. We were told to check for worn bearings when looking for a wheel and this one doesn't have any and works very smooth. I'm in love with it. Now if I can just get up to speed on my spinning skills.
If you ever get ahead on your drop spindles I am still interested in two of them...no rush at all, I just would like to have one to use with some other wool and my husband likes using a drop spindle also...and I need to keep him off my wheel
Do you make spinning wheels?
 
Chadwick Holmes
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The German turning tradition goes way back, but for some reason Americans call it colonial German.....ego I suppose because it was around from about 1000-1850 or so. Sweden would have been using these same teachings taught from master to apprentice.

Yes, I need to get you some spindles!

I have just started my first wheel, but there are a lot of tools that I need to make as they are not sold. So every step is an engineering feat! But hey it's fun!

That wheel is too nice! You'll have to do better than a drop spindle if he's anything like me!

Does the base wood plank say 1442? That looks like a date in the wood itself to me, better than a note!
 
kadence blevins
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doing a bit of quick googling the names everything points to Norwegian names. a lot of genealogy stuff coming up. of course it would be very hard to sort through that with so little information.

fyi, 'datter' is probably supposed to be daughter. English didn't always have set spelling!

I am also intrigued by the 1442 on the wheel itself. I would very much doubt a wheel in so good of condition to actually been made then. early 1800s seems like a good estimation though.

would you mind me copying your pics and sharing them on a group for some more info on the wheel? I know an online group that is super into old wheels and they would have more insight than me on these particulars.

With the extra hole there in the front and the age estimation I am definitely thinking there is a flax distaff that has been lost along the way. these little bobbins were made for fine thread. and you needed a distaff to hang your flax fiber from to spin.

**FUN FACT:
I'm sure anyone who is into history at all has heard of Linsey-Woolsey fabric. This fabric was very popular for a good while. It would be woven with linen (flax -> linen) for the warp and wool for the weft. Hence LINsey WOOLsey!
It made for a more lightweight fabric than straight wool.
 
Satamax Antone
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Kadence, nope this is right, datter,

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/datter

Nice wheel. I would say, i've seen my share when i was a kid. Now they have disapeared from French houses, and only can be found in antique shops. When i was a kid, they were already just decoration. I've never seen one in action.

So i was saying, i have seen many looking like this over here. May be not in the details. But i've never seen plainer, more utilitarian ones.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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I don't think the French woodworkers were ever accused of being plain or utilitarian! Hehehe!

It takes a lot of work and time to inlay a date and it is an old practice, that 1442 wasn't something that was done quickly, and the white inlay wood was very expensive........
 
Judith Browning
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Does the base wood plank say 1442? That looks like a date in the wood itself to me, better than a note!

It takes a lot of work and time to inlay a date and it is an old practice, that 1442 wasn't something that was done quickly, and the white inlay wood was very expensive........

I am also intrigued by the 1442 on the wheel itself. I would very much doubt a wheel in so good of condition to actually been made then. early 1800s seems like a good estimation though.


We were interested by these numbers also...carved into the wood, what might appear to be inlay is dust the guy at the antique store thought those numbers were identifying the style...he thought it was a factory made wheel. The lines of carving at first appear to be chip carving but looking closer they've been done with a gouge run up against a groove....much quicker method than chip carving maybe.

would you mind me copying your pics and sharing them on a group for some more info on the wheel? I know an online group that is super into old wheels and they would have more insight than me on these particulars.

With the extra hole there in the front and the age estimation I am definitely thinking there is a flax distaff that has been lost along the way. these little bobbins were made for fine thread. and you needed a distaff to hang your flax fiber from to spin.

Kadence, and anyone else, feel free to share pics...I'm anxious to find out all I can.
A distaff makes sense...the flyer and bobbin might be from another wheel as there is some space left on the shaft. thanks!

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/datter

Nice wheel. I would say, i've seen my share when i was a kid. Now they have disapeared from French houses, and only can be found in antique shops. When i was a kid, they were already just decoration. I've never seen one in action.

thanks for the 'datter' link, satamax.....I think this one only survived because it was decoration, used a lot early on and then sat as a family piece until now....

I finally have the tension adjusted so it will wind the bobbin without too much spin on the yarn....found some cards on ebay I think I'll buy...I'm kind of going at this whole thing backwards.
 
R Ranson
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Chadwick Holmes wrote:I don't think the French woodworkers were ever accused of being plain or utilitarian! Hehehe!

It takes a lot of work and time to inlay a date and it is an old practice, that 1442 wasn't something that was done quickly, and the white inlay wood was very expensive........


Is it inlay or are the numbers carved in and it's just dust accumulated in the groves? I can't tell from the photo.

1442 seems too early for this technology. There are suggestions that the flyer, and this kind of mother and all exist in the 15th C, but the majority of europe is still using a spindle, or at best a spindle wheel (some with tread, most hand powered). I would be very surprised if this wheel is that old. The flyer certainly is square in the middle of the 18th C, looking at the shape and the wires used as flyer hooks. The people at the spinning wheel sleuth would be able to tell better than me. The style is very distinct, and it doesn't look like the maker's first wheel, so I suspect they would have this maker on file.

Why does the bench have 1442 on it? Could it be a guild number? Is there perhaps a dash between the 14 and 42 that we can't see in the photos?


I haven't had coffee yet, so I'll probably fall into technical language. Please feel free to ask for clarification on anything you don't understand. a general overview of spinning wheel parts and a bit about drive bands and tensioning systems.


The new drive band looks much better. If the tension gives you trouble as you spin, you might need a finer drive band (like butcher string), or maybe not. Each wheel is different, but what most spinners forget is that you can change the drive band to suit your style of spinning and the wheel.

The flyer and bobbin are likely not original to the wheel. They have a different colour, and the general feel I get from it is that it's mid 1800s. It looks like it lines up with the wheel well, so it should work.

The flyer itself has some lovely yarn groves on it. These grooves are worn in by the yarn passing along the wood. It takes hundreds of hours of spinning to even start to have a yarn groove. The style of the groves makes me feel that mostly flax was spun on this wheel in the past.

The flyer and bobbins are usually custom made to the wheel. It's not until Singer started manufacturing sewing machines, and later on Ford with his cars, that we have interchangeable parts. Ashford is one of the first wheel makers to have interchangeable bobbins. Mostly before, each wheel was made as a whole, if a part broke, a new one needed to be made to fit that wheel.

Just buying a new bobbin is very difficult for old wheels. There are a few people who specialize in making bobbins for antique wheels. If you know a wood turner, it might be worth asking them to have a crack at it. It really helps if they know a little bit about spinning. I've always had trouble with the turner making the drive band groove too deep which greatly increases the uptake on the yarn.

When taking the bobbin off, the flyer wheel will probably unscrew. There's a more than 50/50 chance that the whorl unscrews clockwise (opposite to normal). It will probably be a bit stuck on there the first time or two as the grease gets a bit tacky. Go gentle with it, and if you can't do it easily, try putting it in a warm spot, maybe 30 degrees C or even a bit higher. This might make it easier to turn.

Oh, coffee's ready. More on this later.
 
R Ranson
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Judith Browning wrote:...found some cards on ebay I think I'll buy...I'm kind of going at this whole thing backwards.


Nope, that's the right order.

You'll be needing a spindle next. It's great for making samples and helps get your hands use to making yarn.
 
Judith Browning
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Hi R. I think we were posting at the same time.....
1442 seems too early for this technology. There are suggestions that the flyer, and this kind of mother and all exist in the 15th C, but the majority of europe is still using a spindle, or at best a spindle wheel (some with tread, most hand powered). I would be very surprised if this wheel is that old. The flyer certainly is square in the middle of the 18th C, looking at the shape and the wires used as flyer hooks. The people at the spinning wheel sleuth would be able to tell better than me. The style is very distinct, and it doesn't look like the maker's first wheel, so I suspect they would have this maker on file.

Why does the bench have 1442 on it? Could it be a guild number? Is there perhaps a dash between the 14 and 42 that we can't see in the photos?


Yes, definitely dust...I probably will leave as it will only gather more in my house....antique dust.
I sent an email to the email address at 'spinning wheel sleuth' and pictures.
I've taken measurements of the flyer and bobbin to carry with me...we have a lot of antique stores in the area and a large craft community with several spinners...might be able to match something up that's a better fit.

You'll be needing a spindle next. It's great for making samples and helps get your hands use to making yarn.
I do have one, just recently from a friend....I sent all of mine along with wool and a book to the gappers at the Lab last year.....My husband made weaving accessories at the same time I was weaving...drop spindles included. I really like Chadwick's drop spindle though...hint hint hint.....

EDIT...my wool cards and Ashford wheel I sold in the nineties.....
 
R Ranson
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I missed this bit earlier.

and a fleece question...I have a wether fleece and a young female fleece. The boy fleece has a definite sweaty bad smell so I am washing bits at a time.
The female fleece just smells nicely like lanolin and I would like to spin it as is...I've been talking to a friend about spinning worsted...spinning from the butt to the tip of tufts of fleece...now I'm reading about 'dutch combs used for preparing wool for worsted... one of the pair is attached to a table and the other works the wool.
Is anyone familiar with these? I don't have a regular set of wool cards anymore so have been looking for a good used pair, now I'm wondering about this other type of comb also.


Spinning in the grease can make lovely yarn, it can also be an exercise in frustration. It all depends on the spinner and the fleece.

There are lots of different ways to prepare wool for spinning. There are even more people out there that will tell you xyz is the one and only way to do it. That's complete bull. Some ways are easier, and some people need that ridged 'correct' approach when learning a craft. But really, go the path that inspires you. A lot of people will tell you that combing wool is advance, but really it's just different. I started combing quite early in my spinning, and I didn't suffer for it.

That said, combing with raw wool is something that would drive me absolutely batty. This works well with wool that has a staple length of over 4 inches (the individual wool fibres are on average that long - staple length). There are big wool combs, and small ones. They've stopped making them now, but if you ever find forsyth wool combs snatch them up quick. These are by far the nicest combs I've ever used, and the best wearing. I have a mini set, and if anyone wants to get me a christmas present, I would love to have more.

For the most part, with wool combs, so long as the tines are smooth, how well they work usually depends on the fleece and the user.

When combing, the wool is usually cleaned and then oiled. I think wool combing is going to need it's own thread. I'll get my combs out and see what I can put together for a tutorial.

When spinning in the grease, my favourite (and easiest) preparation is flick carding. We need a thread and tutorial for that too.

But that's going to have to come later because for some reason my sheep are going absolutely crazy out there and I had best go see what they want.

 
Satamax Antone
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I think the turning in 1442 was that good already. But the piece wouldn't have survived to this day, in this state. Knowing a smidge about wood, i can tell you that, wood this old is down to cellulose. Except if very very well looked after. Wood this old is becoming spongy, paper like by now.

The first few years, moisture evaporates, then resins do, up to 70 or 80 years, where they crystalize. Then, the crystalised resins degrade over the course of the next 200/300 years, when they are nearly all gone, and cellulose degradation occurs. After 400 years, unprotected wood is prety much all cellulose, and becoming dusty and spongy. Protected it takes a bit longer. But, by the 500/600 years mark, it becomes soft all cellulose. And doesn't hold much in strenght anymore.

So, to me , that 1442, is more of a model number than anything else. May be a design which originated at this time i would say.
 
R Ranson
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I think the turning in 1442 was that good already.


Absolutely right.

I'm talking about flyer and bobbin technology of the wheel itself.

 
Satamax Antone
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R Ranson wrote:
Chadwick Holmes wrote:
The flyer and bobbin are likely not original to the wheel. They have a different colour, and the general feel I get from it is that it's mid 1800s. It looks like it lines up with the wheel well, so it should work.





You are right about those being newish. You said avout the yarn marks.

Couldn't those have been made by hand, by someone realy wanting to fake an old par, to get premieum money?


Because, to me the flyer and bobin look realy new.

Not that i know anything about spinning It's more about the color of the varnish. And the way it's put on. Definaltely not old workmanship
 
Judith Browning
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I'm adding some better pictures of the flyer and bobbin....I used a flash for the original ones and it 'brightened' everything up...the flyer is not as dark as the rest of the wheel but is darker than the first pics show. I'm certain it's not the original because it leaves a lot of space on the shaft but it does look very old like it has been used a lot.
I've been having computer issues...seems to be working OK at the moment so I'm going to quick post this.

an added note...I love the way my yarn follows the old worn place on the flyer The groove on the other side, with more closely spaced hooks is more pronounced...I wonder if they were spinning flax on this wheel (since Kadence mentioned the empty hole on the board possibly being for a distaff)
IMG_0008a.jpg
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IMG_0009a.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_0009a.jpg]
 
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The flyer looks mid 19 century to me. The best I can tell from photos. The flyer has wires instead of bent nails or hooks. Plus the shape of it. If the bobbin was a different shape I would suspect the flyer assembly came from the same maker as my favourite wheel.

Is the flyer quite yellow in real life?

But I could be wrong about the dates, this is just my best guess.
 
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This is my flyer. It's not very yellow for a wheel by this maker. Can't remember the date off hand. It's a JO wheel from Quebec. Looks newer than it is because he made his wheels so yellow.
 
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R Ranson wrote:The flyer looks mid to late 19 century to me. The best I can tell from photos. The flyer has wires instead of bent nails or hooks. Plus the shape of it. If the bobbin was a different shape I would suspect the flyer assembly came from the same maker as my favourite wheel.

Is the flyer quite yellow in real life?


It's not yellow at all really.....more of a reddish brown surface anyway....I'm having a hard time getting a pic that shows it's true color but the newest ones in the post above are closest....the ones in my earlier posts showed it as paler than reality.

The flyer/bobbin assembly seem short for the shaft by about an inch...shouldn't they fill the space? In this case it all would line up with the wheel better, as it is there is a slight out of line-ness to all.
 
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Judith Browning wrote:

The flyer/bobbin assembly seem short for the shaft by about an inch...shouldn't they fill the space? In this case it all would line up with the wheel better, as it is there is a slight out of line-ness to all.


Yes it should fill up the space and line up directly with the drive wheel.

Did the dealer have any other spinning wheels? Sometimes they get swapped between the wheels in transport or the like.
 
Judith Browning
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R Ranson wrote:
Judith Browning wrote:

The flyer/bobbin assembly seem short for the shaft by about an inch...shouldn't they fill the space? In this case it all would line up with the wheel better, as it is there is a slight out of line-ness to all.


Yes it should fill up the space and line up directly with the drive wheel.

Did the dealer have any other spinning wheels? Sometimes they get swapped between the wheels in transport or the like.

I bought from a local antique/junk store with no other wheels (I've been looking)....he bought directly from the family who owned it...It's possible that they, or someone in the past added the inappropriate bands and a flyer just to sell. I don't think it could have ever worked with the bands that it came with though and the flyer works nicely.

Thanks so much for all of your help.......I've just ordered a set of Ashford wool cards, used ones, but they look in great shape. The ones sold as 'antiques' are laughable as far as using them goes. I have stuck in my head to always put some wool between the cards from talking to an old spinner in years past...I don't remember much about carding itself though, maybe some will come back when I sit down with a set of cards.
I'm also looking into a flicker card...even new they seem a reasonable price and useful for some of what I would like to do.

I've been giving you imaginary apples, even though I can't give virtual ones

 
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Sheep are going crazying - again! I think there's a bear in the area, so I'll be really brief.

Really old tutorial from my blog on how to card wool. There are many ways on how to card wool, this is my very opinionated take on the subject.

Flick carding can also be done with a pet grooming brush. It's easiest with a real flick carder, or at least I think so, but the dog brush works well too.
 
Judith Browning
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I had to replace the 170 year old leathers holding the flyer...fortunately I have a son and daughter in law who are leather workers and they had the appropriate leather and tools..got them back in place yesterday.
I think the flyer sold with the wheel wasn't the original so am looking for one with a slightly longer shaft. This one works OK for the moment though.
I went to an even smaller diameter band (a 6 ply hemp left from my rug twining and weaving days) and found it slowed the wheel down enough to work at my speed...that and having much less tension on it than I was trying in the beginning has made a huge difference.
Pre drafting my rolags is helping also.
This is usually a winter project but my dr. says I can't have my head lower than my heart or do anything strenuous (eye surgery) for a while yet and that rules out a lot of garden work.....so spinning it is

R. Ranson...your carding tutorial is excellent...I've seen and tried many ways to card in the past and originally learned from local hill folk here which was a much rougher use of the cards...I like your method and since I'm starting all over it was easy to learn.
 
Judith Browning
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I just today joined a really active and helpful facebook group for antique spinning wheels and someone already linked me to a duplicate to my wheel http://m.finn.no/bap/forsale/ad.html?finnkode=67221950&fks=67221950 pictures below are from that web page.....different number carved on the table but exactly the same otherwise....and it shows the original flyer and bobbin. I was sure my flyer wasn't the original and had wanted to have one made by http://www.chessspy.com/BOBBIN-BOY/BB-prices.htm now I have a good picture for them.

 
Roses are red. Violets are blue. Some poems rhyme. But this is a tiny ad:

The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers:
http://richsoil.com/cards


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