With proper care, your wheel will give you years of spinning pleasure! First off, it's important to note that you should avoid storing your wheel in direct sunlight or in a hot, humid environment, all of which may cause your wheel to warp. As you might imagine, repairing a warped wheel is something that requires an expert, whereas taking care and performing a little routine maintenance is easy to do-it-yourself.
It's quite easy to protect your investment by regularly maintaining your wheel - in today's blog post, we'll show you how! First, be sure to amass all the tools you'll need:
- allen wrenches
- q-tips & rubbing alcohol
- cotton cloths & towels
- wheel oil
- vaseline (or white lithium grease)
- wax or lemon oil
- replacement parts, if needed
Now that you have your supplies, it's time to roll up your sleeves! You'll want to spread a drop cloth below your wheel or move it to a work table before you begin. After removing the bobbins and flyers, use a soft cloth to thoroughly clean all of the areas you usually oil - after time, dust, fiber and other particles are attracted to these lubricated parts and can wear them down quicker. You'll also want to clean out all of the orifices using a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Next, remove the treadle and grease the holes housing the treadle points. We generally use Vaseline because it's easier to find, but white lithium grease is our top recommendation if you can track some down. Auto parts stores are often good places to find it!
Using an allen wrench or screwdriver (depending on which one your wheel requires), tighten any loose legs or wheel supports. If your wheel has a leather conrod joint, soak the leather in oil or rub in leather conditioner, letting it stand for a few minutes before wiping off the excess. If your leather conrod joint is dried and cracked, you will need to remove and replace it.
Now is also a great time to replace any worn-out drive or brake bands. We have detailed instructions on how to size and replace a drive band here in our Advice and Help Section of our website!
Next, oil all moving parts, including treadle hinges and crankshaft areas. Some bobbins can also benefit from a nice squirt of oil down the center hole. Be sure to use a light oil that won't become gummy or sticky - Ashford Wheel oil or 3 in 1 should do the trick! Finally, use wheel wax, furniture paste or lemon oil to condition your entire wheel. Especially if you purchased an unfinished wheel, this last step is important to maintain the integrity of the wood.
Replace the flyer and bobbins and get back to spinning!
Please note, the above recommendations may not necessarily apply to your wheel - many are engineered to require very little maintenance. Please consult your manufacturers' recommendations to ensure you are properly caring for your wheel.
Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team