Keep Your Wheel Tuned Up for Spinzilla

We’re off and spinning!

Ladybug

How’s your spinning coming along? Is your wheel performing as it should?  The answer could be NO, even if you are a fanatical spinner. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE… We want all of you Schacht aficionados to be spinning with optimum spinning capability.

Let’s begin with the basics for any spinning wheel, and work our way into specific details for each of the Schacht wheels. First, find a comfortable place to work. I would recommend the dining room table (protect the top); it’s a good height for most of us.

Here are the tools that are essential to any toolbox for these spinning wheels:

Ladybug: 1/2” wrench, 7/16” wrench, Philips screw driver, 3/32” and 1/8” Allen wrenches

Matchless

Matchless: 5mm and 4mm hex wrenches, Phillips screw driver, extra drive cord

Schacht-Reeves: 3/32” and 1/8″ Allen wrenches, Phillips screw driver, Ivory soap, paste wax, extra drive cord

Sidekick: 3/32” Allen wrench, Phillips screw driver

Optional but important: Schacht oil bottle, white grease, external ring clip pliers, Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP


Tighten things up
Make no mistake, spinning wheels are machines. You wouldn’t drive your car or ride your bike across the country with loose bolts or screws.Begin at the bottom front by tightening all the fasteners, work your way around the wheel systematically.

If the front feet of the spinning wheel are adjustable, level the wheel at this point, though you may need to level them again when the wheel is on the floor. Tightening and leveling your wheel periodically is a good habit to get into especially if you take the wheel to spinning functions. Every floor is different so leveling the feet is essential to optimal functioning of the wheel.

Sidekick

Tie a new drive cord: I cannot stress this point enough: if you are using a drive cord of cotton, linen, etc., you must change it regularly, like NOW. A good drive cord is essential to the functioning of your Matchless or Schacht-Reeves wheel. Absolutely nothing will improve performance like a new drive cord tied or sewn correctly. Clean the excess grease and fiber off the flyer shaft while you are working with this portion of the setup. Test the rotation of the bobbin by spinning it on the flyer by hand before assembling it to the wheel. If it doesn’t spin freely it will not draw on once assembled.

Before you tie a new drive cord, I want to discuss the proper alignment of the front maiden, flyer, bobbin, and whorls. Start with the flyer arms parallel to the top surface of the mother-of-all. The Matchless flyer is tensioned by moving the rear bearing, so setting the flyer arms parallel allows the maximum amount of adjustability. The front bearing should rest about 1/32” off the shoulder of the flyer. An excellent way to test free rotation of the flyer is with the drive cord dropped off the flyer—the setup is correct if the flyer rotates freely when spun by hand.

Schacht-Reeves 30″ Cherry

To tie on the drive cord, think of the drive wheel as a clock face. Beginning at 2 o’clock, wrap the drive cord clockwise twice for double drive, returning to tie it at 2 o’clock, right over left, left over right. You may find that you like a slightly heavier single cord for scotch tension or you can use your double drive cord for scotch tension by simply using both loops over the whorl.

If your wheel has a poly band and you spin consistently with one size whorl, your drive cord probably functions fairly well. Nevertheless, when you are finished spinning, drop the drive cord off the flyer to allow the poly band to rest. If you are switching from one size whorl to another frequently, let the poly band relax for about a half hour to allow it to regain its shape before spinning with a smaller whorl. Using the tensioner will help achieve the right amount of tension if you don’t have time to wait.

Schacht-Reeves 24″ Ash


Check and adjust the maidens
In the case of the Sidekick, be sure that both maidens are square and fully upright. It is also important to note that the bearing in your front maiden should not rotate; the flyer rotates in the bearing.

On the Matchless, Ladybug and Sidekick, the flyer should be able to move back to front just a little bit—1/8″ or so. If you don’t have this little bit of play in the flyer, adjust the front maiden.

The Schacht-Reeves maidens are essential to the free rotation of the flyer. Perhaps the hardest part of using this wheel is finding the sweet spot where the flyer rotates freely.

Oil, oil, oil
Your last step is to regularly re-apply lubrication in the critical places listed in your maintenance book. If you don’t have it handy, you can find it on our website. These simple adjustments should help you reach your maximum spinning potential.

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Jane Patrick

Jane Patrick is Creative Director of Schacht Spindle Company. She is an author, lecturer, and teacher. You can find her class: Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom, on Craftsy.