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What spinning wheel do I have here?

 
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You will notice that this little guy needs some TLC and I would love advice on how to safely get this new friend working! The mother of all is complete and functional. The wheel spins smoothly and attaches to the treadle nicely. But obviously there are a few things to do to get going.
This is my first wheel! I'm excited to get her moving and keep my drop spindle as a mobile device only!!
My questions are this...
What am looking for help with is figuring out the time and location of this wheels origin. It appears to be handmade and of quality wood. There is also a picture attached of a yarn winder that I am equally interested in learning more about.
Thank you for and guidance!
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master steward & author
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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Beautiful!

This is my area of expertise. I'm working on a long reply, if I don't get back to you by this time tomorrow, please bump the thread.

A few more photos of the wheel, especially the motherofall (where the yarn happens) and the back would help.  Also check on the bottom for a makers mark (unlikely, but possible).  In the meantime, the spinning wheel sleuth is a good starting point for historical research. http://www.spwhsl.com
 
Rachel Howe
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Hooray! The photos are on the way and thank you!!! I did find something interesting and informative... the table has the name Thomson punched into it and this wheel was obtained in Lakeville MA, near that person's origin. Thank you so much and there is also a traditional loom which seems flawless, antique, and valuable which I'd love to investigate too!
 
Rachel Howe
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Mother of all!
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r ranson
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That's a brilliant wheel and looks complete (although, the legs look a bit off, could we get a glamour shot of the full wheel front and back?).  It wouldn't take much to make it fully functional.  A bottle of sewing oil and possibly some sandpaper will do most of the work for you.  I don't know what your spinning skills are so I'll write this for the general reader who possibly doesn't know much about spinning wheels.

What you have is a double drive Saxony wheel (my absolute favourite!).  Double drive means it has two drive bands, one goes to the flyer the other to the bobbin (more on that in a moment).  Saxony wheels have the drive (larger) wheel off to one side, unlike a Castle wheel that has the drive wheel above or below the motherofall.

The other gadget is called a 'click reel' or 'weasel'.  We wind the yarn onto it and after so many revolutions, it makes a click.  That way every skein (bundle) of yarn is the same length.  If you measure one circle of the reel by wrapping a bit of yarn around it, then measuring how long that yarn is.  Then times that length by how many clicks, you'll see how much yarn goes into one click.  Mine is 80 yards.  This is the real value of your find.  Antique wheels are easier to find than click reels.  

The origin of the wheel is not my strong suit, but I'm thinking East Coast of America.  The way this is put together reminds me of New England.  Many elements remind me of wheels from Amish (or similar) communities, especially the lack of fancywork on the spindles.  You have a makers name which is a huge help in discovering the origins of the wheel.  If you are on Ravelry the antique spinning wheels group can help narrow it down.  Sorry, it's hidden behind a login wall, but those guys really are the best at this.  

It's difficult to tell as it's been painted at a later date, but the axel and other metal work put it somewhere in the late 19th to early 20th century.  That red paint is a bit unfortunate as it might get in the way of using it.  It looks like it was painted on after anyone spun yarn on it, as it covers the yarn grooves in the flyer.




This is your basic double drive flyer assembly. This is also the part that gets broken or lost most and is the hardest to fix as it needs to be custom made to fit your wheel.  The U-shaped thing is the flyer.  You have the bobbin that fits on a shaft.  On one end of the bobbin is a grove that the drive band goes on.  Affixed to the flyer shaft (probably by a reverse screw - righty loosey, lefty tighty) is the whorl.  This also has a grove for the drive band.  I worry that the paint will have made this a bit slippery, but let's get it working first.  See if you can gently remove and disassemble the flyer assembly. To remove, one might turn a maiden (upright that holds the flyer) or more likely there is a small wooden peg holding the leather bearing in place at the front maiden.  See if you can untwist the whorl (it may untwist right or left, so go gently) and remove the bobbin.  Then with a touch of WD40 or something like that, clean the shaft of any ancient gunk.  Then coat with a light machine oil like sewing machine or better still, spinning wheel oil.  This might take a bit of doing.  Please be patient as if this bit breaks, it's not easy or cheap to fix.  

I'm a bit worried that they may have painted over some of the moving parts here.  Even if they haven't, the old oil builds up and acts like glue.  If it's really not coming, try putting it in a warm room for a day or so (I put it in the same room as the woodstove) and the warmth usually loosens it.  

Let me know how you get on.  Once that bit's done, the rest is fairly easy.  


 
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(is there anything this stuff cannot fix ?!



BTW, on a serious tone:
Can I weave cat hair into usable yarn?  My (manual) trials failed because the yarn was too weak, but I haven't done it properly, yet.
Assume avg. cat hair length at 4cm  (& set aside allergy considerations)
I'm keeping all the grooming products, and it's quite a lot.
 
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Not in any way I know about spinning wheels like r.ranson does ... but my thought was: this might be a wheel for spinning flax-linen. Why? Because I didn't see any sign of fat (lanolin), which I always see on wheels on which wool is spun. But, as r.ranson says, everything might be covered in a layer of paint, put on later.
 
r ranson
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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WD40 is fantastic for getting stuff to move.  But on something like a spinning wheel, one needs to be sure to flush away the residue with a light machine oil or it will seize up again really fast.

Asaf Green wrote:
Can I weave cat hair into usable yarn?  My (manual) trials failed because the yarn was too weak, but I haven't done it properly, yet.
Assume avg. cat hair length at 4cm  (& set aside allergy considerations)
I'm keeping all the grooming products, and it's quite a lot.



You can absolutely spin cat hair.

A fibre that short, needs a lot of twists.  I recommend carding it by hand as the fibres are so fine not all drum carders can handle them.  I spun cat hair for a friend and I mixed it with silk for a stronger yarn.  It also is very nice blended with wool.



A side note, store the cat hair in a paper bag, not too squashed in the bag, to make it easier to work with.  When it's squashed in plastic, it tends to be more difficult.  

 
r ranson
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:Not in any way I know about spinning wheels like r.ranson does ... but my thought was: this might be a wheel for spinning flax-linen. Why? Because I didn't see any sign of fat (lanolin), which I always see on wheels on which wool is spun. But, as r.ranson says, everything might be covered in a layer of paint, put on later.



It could be.  It's really hard to say and I suspect in the past that many families used the same wheel for both.  

This wheel is designed for production work (large drive wheel, small whorls), has a really nice crank shape for smoother treadling in both directions, and we can tell it is for fine yarn because the orifice (yarn hole) is quite small.  This suggests to me that it was designed to make clothing yarn.  The style makes me feel that it was both wool and linen, with maybe more linen spun on it.  

I think the lack of fat is from the 'restoration' job.  It's been painted and then sanded to look distressed.  This paint has covered up a lot of the usual wear.  I'm worried this is going to make it hard to restore to working order.  You can see this most clearly in the flyer.  In the flyer, there are yarn grooves.  Places where the yarn has worn a groove in the wood and metal.  This takes hundreds of hours to start a groove in wood, even with flax.  This wheel has seen many hundreds of hours of spinning.  I drew some lines to show where the yarn grooves are, but they look like they are painted over.  It would be interesting if that wheel was a bright yellow under the paint.  
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I used to have one quite similar, mine was from the Netherlands, and primarily used for flax, but I spun wool on it and that worked fine too. Mine was made around 1850. Yours does look painted over, but not recently and the signs of wear do not appear to me as being from sanded over to give it a distressed look. But I can be wrong of course, just step back and look it over critically. If it looks like an old layer to you, I would avise to be very cautious with removing the upper oxblood red layer. There probably is another layer of paint beneath it, but that doesn;t mean the upper layer is 'wrong' it can very well be a true layer of history that  tells the story of the spinning wheels life. If however you really want to see what is beneath the upper layer, I recommend  to make a so called 'paint ladder' on the underside. You draw a little rectangle on the underside with a pencil, like a quarter of an ich wide, and one inch long, and carefully scrape off the paint per layer, one red, one yellow untill you reach the natural wood. That way you keep the damage controlled, this technique is used by restorers. I used to have a double snare that crosses itself once. It runs twice over the big wheel and splits when running over the flight and spool. I wound it around the wheel and then sewed the ends together. It would keep for weeks before it broke due to wear. It was made of hemp, but other threads will work also as long as they don't strech too much. You can make a knot in the thread of course, but if you sew the ends it looks neater and runs smoother and it is less tiring for the eyes ( flashing by). My spinning wheel started to come apart, it was too old so it is now a cherished heirloom. I use a modern wheel now. I hope you'll spend many happy hours spinning with it!
 
Rachel Howe
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Thank you to the helpful and knowledgable posts! Check this out!
Also... I am in kind of a "now what?" phase. the wheel is functional but the flyer and bobbin assembly are confusing me.
The two drives are confusing me.
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Anne Hansen
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The bobbin turns on its own tempo to wind the thread (bobbins groove for thread has it's own diameter, does not need to be the exact same as the flyer). The whorl goes at another tempo to make the twist in the thread. You can adjust the tempo for more or less twist You'll notice the ' pull' on the thread when you tighten it, the pull becomes more, so you either spin faster, or the thread is more twisted before it winds on the spool. The little hooks are only for dividing the thread equally over the spool, but you'd figured that out already of course. There are often two or more disks with grooves belonging to the whorl, you'll notice the difference in diameter. You can hook up the thread onto one or the other depending on how fast you want to spin. Tighten up the thread / snare afterwards by turning the handle on the front. To ensure the snare or thread is kept on a good tension, you need to have one continuous loop, divided in two loops, like with the rope games you played as a child. One loop goes over wheel and bobbin, the next over wheel and whorl, the thread crosses itself preferable on the bottom and is sewed together there, see pictures . I hope I make sense, it's a hard concept to grasp, in the category of ' just do it, don't figure it out' And english is obviously not my native language, but I hope it answers your question, if not somebody else may feel free to help.
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