The lovely Canadian Production Wheel has been working reasonably well with the original flyer, but as it was cracked and a bit wobbly, I was keeping an eye out for a possible replacement. Several eBay sellers from Lithuania post wheel bits (or whole wheels, some of which are just amazing) for sale … and I found one that ought to fit. It arrived yesterday!
It’s in really good shape - the bobbin is obviously a replacement, and had not had any finish on it at all, just raw wood: I gave it a good coat of Tung Oil and the flyer and whorl got just a light rub - the flyer itself is polished to a hard shine that feels like it’s an oil finish but maybe is just years of lanolin, not sure. Most Lithuanian wheels spent their lives spinning flax, primarily - although out in the country, wool is common.
There was some gunk on the flyer rod, but it came off with elbow grease and some assorted degunking products. The whorl is threaded just like the one on my other flyer, I can interchange them. However, the Lithuanian bobbin has a wider whorl and it’s too close to the size of my original whorl, so they don’t play nicely together (you need one smaller than the other by a decent margin to get the differential rotation effect that is needed for proper take-up). No worries though - the entire assembly works very well!
As for fit: all I really needed to do was to keep the assembly from drifting too far ‘southward’ – the length was perfect, but in use it would slip towards the spinner and that would pull the whorls out of alignment with the wheel and the drive band would fly off in a temper. The solution was simple: wind a rubber band around the flyer rod tip as a stopper, so it can’t sneak back through the ‘north’ leather loop. Tada, fixed.
It spins nicely – very smooth and even, and it’s easy to spin fine yarn (in fact I think spinning anything BUT fine yarn would be a real challenge – incentive to get my other flyer repaired better, perhaps, as I think it would be more cooperative for bulkier singles).
And now I’m off to ply some yarn!