So I love spinning and weaving, and I love history, so of course I started volunteering in our small town at the Heritage Center and Log Cabins. There, in a corner, was a spinning wheel so one of the first things I set about doing, as a member, was sorting out this wheel which they said the lady who gave it to them had come and spun on it, but it hasn’t been for a little time.
Looking straight on as one would when spinning
The wheel had a plastic drive band that had been wired together and was of no use whatsoever. So I got rid of it and tied on a new drive band (will take better cordage next time) So now the drive wheel turned with the treadle. The treadle rod is in the middle of the treadle which I haven’t seen before but it had a very smooth motion and was quite easy to treadle.
Looking at the back of the wheel
Then to tackle the scotch tension. It had a piece of plastic cord tied to springs on each side. Now for all I know of scotch tension, that wasn’t going to work, and it didn’t. So I cut that all out and tied another string to the spring on the one side and then tied it around the knob, on the other side, that is there for that purpose (ignored in what was) and then played with the tension.
Did you notice the crochet hook sticking out at an angle in back? Befuddled me for a bit. Thought at first it was used for the orifice hook and that is just where they kept it, but alas it totally doesn’t work for that. Did learn though how to get the bobbin and flyer off. The maiden on the tension end moves back and turns down to take them off. Alas whatever once ran through those holes that keep it in place when all together has long been lost and along the road someone figured out that a small crochet hook fit in just right.
Side view of wheel before scotch tension work. See the stretched spring?
This tension is the problem I think. The flyer and bobbin did not spin if there was the least bit of tension on it. Then after some fiddling, the flyer would spin but the bobbin did not. It was at that point that I learned the importance of both being able to spin. Have you ever wondered why the bobbin needed to spin, albeit slower than the flyer, when spinning on a treadle/flyer wheel? I have. And, as of yesterday, I learned why. With just the flyer turning the draw in is way to fast for these hands to keep up. With the bobbin turning as well, there is time for you to draft and get it right before it winds on.
Also an interesting bit for this wheel is that the flyer and bobbin sit so far back. They are actually, basically, for all practical purposes behind the drive wheel when you are sitting at it. Makes it a bit of a stretch when working back there.
Spinning at last.
So, yes, I did manage to spin some. That was after realizing there was no orifice hook and a long way for something to reach through. I searched several drawers and finally found one paperclip. After bending it in different contortions, I managed to make it do the job and got some wool through. That also entailed cleaning the hole out with the wool. Icky! But we were spinning. It didn’t go super easy though. I so wanted to add some oil to the bobbin and tension thinking it would help it move smoother. But I also know “they” say to never oil the drive band or tension. So maybe the groove just needs cleaned up more? Or a wider band for the tension. I already know I am going to do that for the drive band, but the tension as well?
Label on bottom of table.
After all this, I wanted to know what this wheel was that was driving me crazy. On the bottom I did find a label. Designed & handcrafted by: Victor P. Buchcik, 8 Norman Street, Wagga Wagga 2650″ . Now this label was between all the legs and footman, so not easily photographed or for these old eyes to read. I went looking for a Victor P. Buchcik online. Got that much down. Thought maybe a local builder? There are lots of Czech and Wends around here so names that only the Good Lord knows how to pronounce are in abundance. Alas, nary a hit on the name at all. Next I thought the “8” was an “&” so looked up Norman Street as well as a compatriot in the work. Alas nothing. So looked up Wagga Wagga. A HIT! A town in New South Wales. What? Australia? How did it get here if it was made by some home guy in NSW? I did, at first, think that the four digit number was maybe a number for the piece, but it turns out to be a post code. That took seeing the picture and realizing that Norman Street wasn’t a man but an address. So of course, I looked up the address and it is a nice house though lots of trees in the way of seeing it very well.
If anyone knows anything about this wheel or the maker, I would appreciate knowing something of them. If you have advice on getting it to spin smoother or dealing with that scotch tension, advice appreciated.