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Lopsided spinning wheel drive wheel

 
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Recently bought an antique saxony wheel and had bobbinboy replace some parts for me.  Now my problem is the drive wheel seems very lopsided!  It doesnt want to go all the way around, just rocks back and forth, like one side of it is much heavier.  If i can get it going, i can get it to go around for a little bit but it still "tugs" really hard at one point in its cycle.  Is this a wood density issue?  What is going on here? How do i fix it?  Thank you!
20201027_123213.jpg
Patience, my old saxony
Patience, my old saxony
20201027_123149.jpg
Close up of Patience's drive wheel
Close up of Patience's drive wheel
 
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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I am no wheelwright, but it sounds like a wheel balance issue.  If it was acceptably balanced before the introduction/replacement of parts, it needs to be rebalanced.  However, if you say there is a point at which it drags, then the axle/bushing combination may be the issue.  Around what does the wheel ride/rotate?

To balance a wooden wheel it is easier to add weight to an opposing side than reduce weight or material.  Unload the wheel from drive chain or friction points, so it will spin freely.  Give it a small push so it goes through at least one full rotation.  Let it come to rest.  Mark the low spot.  Do this a few times, marking the low point where it comes to rest each time.  Take an average of these points to find the heavy side.  Start adding weight to the side opposite until the wheel does not drag or comes to rest in the same position.  Taping coins to the inside of the rim is an easy way to add weight to see it will balance and where is the sweet spot.

If it is an issue with the axle hub, you may need to replace the bushing or bearing in the hub of the wheel to eliminate the drag point.  Make sure all surfaces are smooth to the touch and are not binding.  If they are, replace the damaged part.

 
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I just bought my first wheel a couple of weeks ago, so I am no expert, but mine is the same way. It appears to be inherent to the design of a single treadle wheel. The weight of the treadle board and connecting rod will constantly be pulled down by gravity, making the wheel want to stall in their downmost position. I imagine this will ultimately only have an effect on the slowest speed you can spin. My wheel is geared very fast, so it may be less than ideal for learning. I have considered temporarily tying a weight to a spoke to balance the wheel, at least until I get used to it. It must not have been a big deal if they didn't make the wheels to be balanced back then.
 
Amy Wachtel
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Thanks, both of you.  My treadle actually rests at the highest position.  Weird.  I'll try the weighting tactic.  
 
Jordan Holland
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That's interesting. It sounds like the wheel may indeed be out of balance itself. I had a thought that ideally, one should naturally rest at a point slightly after top dead center, that way simply pressing down on the treadle would set it in motion without having to touch the wheel. Does it just out of balance or is there a rough "catch" at a certain point in the cycle? On mine, there was some wear at the footman/exceter joint that allowed the footman to flop around going one direction, which caused a bit of a catch in the cycle.
 
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Sounds like a balance issue to me, too. Also make sure that it’s not warped. Also, oil the heck out of it. If it’s been sitting around I’m sure the wood is very thirsty. A 30 weight motor oil is a good oil for wood wheels.
 
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Beautiful Wheel!

Many spinning wheels are deliberately unbalanced.  The idea is to make it so that it rests at a good starting place for treadling, otherwise, the weight of the crank and footman/pitman pull the wheel into a dead position.  I've often added lead weights to old spinning wheels to fix wheels that were too well balanced.  
But I suspect that's not what's happening here.

Amy Wachtel wrote:Thanks, both of you.  My treadle actually rests at the highest position.  Weird.  I'll try the weighting tactic.  


That sounds close.  Depending on the shape of the crank, it should rest at the top or somewhat off centre from the top - or pretending it's a clock, it should rest between 9 and 11 or between 1 and 3.

Troubleshooting:
1. are the wheel uprights properly aligned?
2. is there guck in the axel bearings (grooves where the axel sits)?  Or was something removed from there?  There's often resin or the like in the groves to make things run smoother
3. is the axel straight?  
4. is there a flat spot on the axel?  

User issues:
1. you used oil?
2. you used spinning wheel or sewing machine oil?  Nothing heavy like 3in1 or worse, WD40 (which isn't oil!)
3. is the drive band too tight? (Most often the issue - and hardest to fix because most people won't admit that they don't know how tight it should be)
4. clean out the old oil and reapply new oil.

These are the most common causes of these issues.  Feel free to post more photos if you want to go through them together.  
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