When was the last time you cleaned your spinning wheel? Have you just acquired an old wheel that needs cleaning? A dusty wheel you want to start using again? Used your wheel a lot lately? Or are you new to spinning and want to know how to care for your wheel? Whatever the reason, your spinning wheel is both a working tool and a piece of furniture in your home. And as such it should be looked after and treated with care. We all get told as children that the more you look after your things, the longer they’ll last.
So here is my ten step guide to cleaning your spinning wheel.
1. Put down a Sheet This isn’t quite a necessary for a regularly cleaned wheel, but for dirty wheels place a sheet down first, or go outside if the sun is shining. This makes cleaning up after so much easier!
2. Remove… …the drive band, flyer, bobbins and mother-of-all wherever possible. This will make cleaning the rest of the wheel and the parts much easier.
3. Dusting Working from the top down, give the wheel a dusting with a soft cloth. On particularly dusty wheels, if you work bottom up you may find you need to dust the bottom a second time! For significant amounts of dust, a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment may be used on the larger surface areas. Look out for any fibre that has become entangled that needs to be removed. Tweezers can help with this.
4. Sticky Bits! After you’ve finishing trying to figure out what it is or how it even got there, a damp cloth will help remove these more stubborn sticky areas. Just make sure you dry the area when you’ve removed it. For harder to reach nooks and crannies a damp cotton swab may help.
5. Accessories Time to move on to the flyer, bobbins and mother-of-all, following the above steps for dusting and any sticky bits. Look out for any fibre that has become entangled too! Pipe cleaners and cotton swabs can get inside your bobbins.
6. Orifice Small bits of fibre, dust, and oil can accumulate in here. A slightly damp cotton swab can be used to clean inside the orifice. But don’t forget to use a dry cotton swab after to dry it again.
7. Grooves Generally I use a damp cotton swab to run around inside the grooves on the flyer and bobbins, and then a dry one to dry it off. But a toothbrush would work too.
8. Underneath Don’t forget the undersides of your wheel, including the treadle. Be careful turning it on it’s side and ask for help if you have a particularly large wheel.
9. Wood Care Your wheel manufacturer will have a recommended product to care for the wood they have used. If you don’t have the manual or don’t know the manufacturer – maybe your wheel was made by a friend of a friend – then beeswax is your best option. Apply a small amount of beeswax paste using a clean cloth – not the one you have just done the dusting with – and buff that puppy until you have a gorgeous shiny wheel again!
10. Oiling Last but not least, check any moving parts and apply a little oil where necessary to ensure the joints glide smoothly.
Once your wheel is back together go find some fibre and enjoy!
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