Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Used Spinning Wheel for Sale

My friend, Sylvia VM, has several lovely wheels. She even has a Reeves upright castle wheel just like mine. She has too many wheels. And she wants me to help her sell one of them.

She bought a Schacht-Reeves wheel new in 2005. This wheel was made by the Schacht Spindle Company . It’s serial number is #1-0170. It’s got a 24” drive wheel with the flyer on the right, it’s double-treadle, and it’s made of cherry wood. It comes with 2 whorls (for 4 drive ratios), a lazy kate (in ash), the owner’s manual, and 5 bobbins (in cherry). The original orifice hook is missing, but I’m contributing an original Reeves orifice hook (in cherry). The wheel can be used in either double drive or Scotch tension. It is currently set up in Scotch tension.

This wheel is very handsome, beautifully engineered, and in very good condition. I’ve just oiled it, and put new leaders on all the bobbins. It treadles very smoothly. New, this wheel and extra bobbins would cost about $1600. Sylvia is asking $1000 (other reasonable offers will be considered). I would rather not ship this wheel, but if I did, the buyer would cover shipping and insurance costs. I am willing to drive a bit to deliver or meet. I live in Lake Ann, MI.

If you are interested in buying this wheel, you can contact me at

A Note on Left Versus Right

When Sylvia ordered the wheel she asked the folks at Schacht whether she should have the flyer on the left (most typical for a Saxony-style wheel) or on the right. They asked her which hand she uses in front, closest to the orifice. She uses her left hand in front. They then suggested she get the wheel with the flyer on the right.

Some folks would argue that the location of the flyer matters, but I don’t agree. Whether you use your left or your right hand forward, or whether you are left or right hand dominant, I think you can get used to – and become skilled with – whatever spinning wheel setup you have. It may take awhile; facility and skill do require practice.

I understand that a spinner might have a preference. I’m ok with that. However, I’m pretty well versed in the scientific literature of neuromotor control and motor learning (MS and PhD), and I know of no evidence that would suggest there is a physiological or mechanical rationale for location of the flyer on a spinning wheel.

I can say that I had no trouble spinning on this wheel, even though I mostly spin on upright wheels, and the Saxony-style wheels that I have owned in the past have all had the flyer on the left.


  1. Let the debate begin! I'm a confirmed left hand forward, and I like my flyer on the left. Besides the fact that I've always spun that way, I feel it has saved my back as I always work over my lap. For short draw it gives plenty of length to determine of you have enough or too much twist. For long draw I can get almost 30 inches in one sweep since the draft crosses my lap and sweeps out to the right, it saves my back. But like I said, I've always done it this way.

    1. Hey Patsy! Good to hear your thoughts. Habit is strong! I use my left hand in front and I prefer a left flyer. Actually I prefer a centrally located flyer. But I move my hands all over the place, so the relationship of my arm location and back is changeable. Being nice to one's back IS important! It's possible to hold your arms anywhere relative to the location of the orifice.

  2. I think I'm missing something here. With her left hand in front and a right side flyer, isn't she working with her left arm all the way across her body? Like I said, I'm probably missing something...

    1. I don't think it's necessary to hold the front hand right in front of the orifice. Any angle will do, so it's not necessarily so that the left arm is crossing the body (or twisting the torso). Thanks for your thoughts!!!

    2. Greetings all, sorry I'm late to the discussion here. Here is my 2 cents and experience (20 years worth). I am right handed, but I spin right hand forward. I'v had some pretty darn nice wheels, including an original Rick Reeves 30" Production! That is a HUGE wheel! And I'm pretty darned short, especially in the leg department. THAT said, I could not sit in front of the flyer and spin and reach the treadle! My wheel was a left side flyer. My spinning went into the orifice at darn near a 90 degree angle! It was OK when spinning fine, but if I was spinning for a worsted weight yarn, when PLYING, the take up was compromised and slowed the whole thing down....making everything slow down and treadling slower and more laborsome. Corkscrews seemed to pop up more frequently at that time then. Created more "drag" on the orifice, drag you don't get when yarn or single are going straight into the orifice. It also, over time, started to wear away the orifice, and I could tell if I had this wheel for many years, replacing the flyer int he future would have been mandatory. I ended up selling that wheel for a smaller one for me, and with a right side flyer wheel. Works SO much better!