Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Wheel and Advice on Maintenance

I’ve got a new spinning wheel.  It’s a Lendrum double treadle“complete”.  I’ve been needing a new wheel that I can use for teaching at venues to which I need to fly.  My sisters, Meg and Jo, bought it for me from The Woolery.  I’ll be paying them back as I can.  Thanks Jo!  Thanks Meg!

I’ll be taking this wheel with me when I teach at Spin-Off Autumn Retreat  in October.  One of the classes I’m teaching is “The Mechanics of Your Wheel”.  This new wheel is making me think a lot about the mechanics associated with wheel maintenance … because I want my new wheel to work well, and I want my new wheel to last!

Wheel maintenance can largely be considered in terms of the mechanical concepts of friction, elasticity, and plasticity.  When it comes to maintenance of your drive bands and brake bands, the issues of elasticity and plasticity are important.

Drive bands (and most brake bands) are typically made from cotton (or linen) or from some synthetic substance that is stretchy.  Both of these types of bands have some elasticity (meaning that when you pull on them they stretch and when you let go they go back to their original length) and some plasticity (meaning that if you pull on them for an extended period of time they will stretch but will not return to their original length when that pull is removed).

The elasticity of these bands is a good thing and makes your spinning go smoothly.  The plasticity is not really helpful.  For example, I’ve seen a lot of wheels with synthetic drive bands that have been held under stretch for so long that they no longer spring back to a short enough length to be used for the wheel’s smallest whorl size.

This problem is avoidable.

My advice:  when you are not using your wheel, take the tension off your drive band and your brake band.  These bands will last much longer and will work much better if you do.

I’ll address the wheel maintenance issues associated with friction in a later blog entry.

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