14 August 2012

Norwegian Wheel Restoration Project

I was asked by a local spinner to see what could be done with a lovely wheel she acquired awhile back … a job I’m always happy to take on!

The wheel is a Norwegian split table design – like the one I recently got in a trade, but this one’s an actual antique whereas mine’s a vintage reproduction.

The wheel itself is in really good shape – the wheel is well balanced and not warped, the flyer is intact (though a few hooks are damaged or broken), the bobbins (yes, it has three!) have chips in the whorls but at least two of the three could be used as-is, and with a quick twist of the uprights to align the wheel with the flyer, we had it up and spinning within 30 minutes of me setting eyes on the beauty.

Now, the bad news is that someone plastered this gorgeous wheel with what I can only assume is a version of deck stain – some nasty pale brown opaque stain that covers most of the wood grain and makes the whole thing look blah and wrong. What on earth would possess someone to cover up beautiful wood grain with such an ugly stain? We’re not talking about a deck or a picnic table here that needs protection from the elements … it’s a spinning wheel!

This is what was on the wheel to start with:

The picture doesn’t do it justice. It was truly horrid. The wheel, though, is beautiful, even with that washed out finish covering the wood:

Six hours and a litre of nasty chemicals later, we have this:

Look! Wood grain! And can you see the captive ring on the rear cross bar? There are more on the Mother of All (the thing that holds the flyer) too!

Captive rings show off the work of the woodworker who turned the piece – a circle of wood is shaved off from the base, but kept intact around the shaft, like a bracelet. There are four rings on the horizontal piece under the flyer – I’ll have to get better pictures.

The wood looks terrible after the chemical bath, but it is still so much prettier than with that horrid beige stuff on it, I cannot even begin to imagine why anyone would’ve thought the wheel would look *better* slathered in that gunk. I need to get a new attachment for my Dremel (a ‘whappity thing’) to help get rid of the remaining residue from the stripping job, then I will be able to refinish with Watco Natural and show off all that gorgeous wood.

I think this wheel is really very old – it’s all pegged together, the only metal is the flyer rod and the hooks, and the bar that the treadle rotates on. I’ve put out some queries on Ravelry so we’ll see if anyone knows more – but it is an absolutely lovely wheel, and I am honoured to have a chance to work on her!

1 comment:

  1. It is really nice! We were in an antique shop yesterday, found this very little wheel and a thingie - not sure what it was but it had been well used, just sat on a table top. Much more aware of these old treasures now that you are so involved! Nothing like old and real wood!!


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