07 May 2011

Another graduate of the Home for Wayward Wheels, ready to go out into the world!

One of the Czech Republic/Sudetenland (1930's era or thereabouts) lateral treadle wheels is now ready to go to a new home!

The wheel originally looked like this, when I rescued her from a garage attic:

This wheel is bobbin-lead, flyer-brake, and you sit at it side-on. You can treadle with either foot, left or right, though treadling with the right tends to keep your body offset nicely so that the yarn heads into the orifice cleanly. It's really nice to be able to see the yarn winding onto the bobbin as you spin, and the angle of entry to the orifice doesn't seem to do anything strange to the yarn.

An interesting feature of this wheel is the original sliding hook flyer. It required a bit of fiddling to figure out the best way to thread it - the way I have it pictured here seems to work well. Even cooler, Kromski bobbins fit on this wheel, meaning you don't have a one-bobbin problem! (although it only comes with one for starters, you can easily acquire more). The bobbins do need buffering to prevent chatter: I've included removeable plastic sleeves for the flyer rod that work quite nicely, and since they are removeable, you can switch the flyer end for end if you want to use the smaller whorl. If you intend to do that often, one of the stretchy drive bands would probably be a good idea - currently, the wheel has a wrapped cotton band in place.

Here's the wheel as a whole:

There's a 'sweet spot' for your foot: heel in the little circle, and treadle just on the down stroke. The wheel itself has awesome momentum, so do watch out for continued spin when you stop. I would suggest this wheel is ideal for spinning low twist yarns, or for someone who drafts fairly slowly and wants time to see what they are doing. Then again, I use a CPW most of the time, so my sense of 'normal drafting speed' is a little bit warped. :) Despite the weight, I think it'd be an excellent wheel for taking places because it's so sturdy - you wouldn't worry at all about it being damaged, and the flyer comes off easily so you could pop that in your spinning bag, haul the wheel to where you're going, and then sit down and spin. Okay, you aren't likely to want to take it on a plane or lug it too far across a parking lot, but for your average spin-in-public thing, it'd be very cool. Especially 'cause it's so unusual!

There are worm holes, but no worms (one advantage of being stored in a garage attic through several cold winters!). The verathane has been removed (ugh), and there are traces of green paint/preservative that refused to come off - I believe it is stuff that was used to prevent the worms from doing more damage. Several coats of Danish oil have been used to bring the wood back to life - the last coats were Watco Dark Walnut, but for future maintenance, plain tung oil or whatever wood oil (Woodbeams, Howards Feed ‘n’ Wax) that you normally use would be healthy. Of course if you have Watco in the house, a coat every so often will bring out the shine, but it's not necessary.

Asking $325 for this wheel: pickup anywhere in the Edmonton(ish) area is easy, as is delivery to Olds Fibre Week, or Calgary. I'll be happy to pack and ship - this wheel's quite sturdy, and I think it would probably survive a trip on the Greyhound/Canda Post without incident (well packaged, of course). If you want to estimate shipping, go to CanadaPost.ca and use a weight of say, 20 lbs, and dimensions of 22x18x36 - to southern Ontario, for instance (I happen to remember my Grandma's old postal code!), the postage is about $80. The wheel itself weighs about 15 lbs, and is approximately 20x16x34", so round up for packing materials etc.

Happy to answer any questions, as always!


  1. really lovely!
    i've never seen a wheel that positions the spinner on the side like that.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. There is a picture of St Elizabeth of Hungary spinning on a wheel like this on Wikipedia (scroll way down to the images at the bottom).


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