Restoring "PANDORA" - Lithuanian Spinning Wheel

The photo above shows my newly restored "PANDORA" spinning laceweight yarn singles! This after 4 days of near-constant swearing, scraping, cleaning, researching, UN-GLUEING {GAHHHH!!!} & making a few little not-so-spinning Kosher bits & alignment pieces to restore her back to being merrilly spinning again as she'd probably been sadly longing to DO for quite some time!  

The photo below is a close-up view of PANDORA's lovely hand-turned Maiden & her Flyer & Bobbin set-up. It's very obvious that she has been repaired several times over the years & was created with all hand crafted parts & pieces. I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover if it were possible to retrace her exact timeline - that her maker used a foot-treadled lathe & handforged chisels to create her intricate turnings. I never could find a "maker's mark" on her & being at least a circa late 1800's Centurian - suspect she is indeed & has always been a one-of-a-kind "one-bobbin wonder"!

The NEXT photo is of PANDORA restored to her gleaming glory once again! STILL have more research to do for more detailed tweaking & re-feeding on her - since she is quite "thristy" & enjoying being "fed" healing & rejuvenating oils again! Ain't she a PRETTY thing tho?!

Spinning Purists will notice the not-so-Kosher repair bits on her & that I did indeed use TWO separate Drive Bands - I HAD to in order to get PANDORA to STOP thowing off the Bobbin's cotton twine Drive Band! So I made an elastic polymer Drive Band for the Flyer - since it needs constant & consistent traction while the wheel "drives" it round & round & the Bobbin needs to be able to "SLIP" on it's cotton non-elastic Drive Band so the spun yarn will consistently be wound onto the bobbin core as it's spun twist into it while being drawn into the Flyer.

There was a LOAD of "Grinding Paste" to be removed - scraped, filed & sanded OUT & off of everything that MOVED on PANDORA. Grinding paste - it the awful thick sticky black goo that forms from ground up wood bits, dirt, minute fibers & forms an abrasive schmutz that accumlates in the works of the wheel, Flyer, Maiden Leathers & the Bobbin when not properly maintained, oiled & cleaned over time. It is also a mother BEAR to get OUT of the Wheel upright support "Forks" - OUT of the Bobbin core - OFF of the Flyer's metal bits & Orifice fiber feed tube & other places it migrates to & renders the wheel unspinnable.

For some reason - one of her previous restorations involved GLUEING her Mother of All {the thing that HOLDS the Maiden {the thing that holds the Flyer & Bobbin} into the wheel table & is SUPPOSED to MOVE backwards to TIGHTEN the Drive Bands & TENSIONING on the fibers while they're being spun - OR using the rounded Tension Screw handle {at the FRONT center portion of the wheel's table - Unscrewed to MOVE the Mother Of All -aka- MOA- BACK towards to wheel to make LESS tension on the Drive Bands AND lighten the DRAW or PULL in of the fibers being spun & wound onto the Bobbin's core... That's basically how you adjust & DRIVE a Double-Drive spinning wheel.

Anyway - her MOA had been working loose over the years & a previous restorer had used something that shot me RIGHT back to my own Grandparent's little house in Charleston, S.C. - where I immediately recognized {once I got the bugger LOOSE & unstuck underneath the MOA wooden bell "cap" & freed it from the wheel's table - was the very identical 30's & 40's counter top laminate with an off-white top & metallic gold flakes in it!!! I think all our grandparents' homes had that VERY same laminated kitchen counter material! Realize I'm pushing 60 here myself - so MY long gone Grands would have placed that material circa 1930's -1940's vintage.

Ohh WHAT to USE to make a NEW set of MOA "flanges" to fill that nearly 1/4" gap - underneath the MOA that prevented it from aligning the Maiden - Flyer & Bobbin grooved Drive Band "Whorls" now??? Well - Ya USE what ya GOT! I happened to look round my former guest BR now mini-shop & caught quick glance of an old clipboard! I mean the ones that LOOK like wood-fiber & HARD as ROCKS! It's really more thin compressed layers of paper & glue slurry that when dried & cured - made that rock-hard near-wood - that was so popular during the Great Depression era when hard-woods & materials all went to the war efforts & no one had money to spare for such luxuries as solid hard-woods!

So - I nearly burnt out my poor Dremel trying to cut - carve & hand-file two of the former "clip-board" rounds into perfect fitting slots for PANDORA's tilted MOA to rest upon & center herself with the wonky spinning WHEEL...

It took me most of the 4 days to clean - scrape - swear & gouge out all the "grinding paste" from the wheel's utpight support "Forks"... This after oiling - cleaning - more oiling & more cleaning. Finally ended up having to hand file down to "clean wood" - then re-oil & finally BASH on the forged iron  "crank" side's axle that was anything but TRUE & caused PANDORA's wheel to spin wonky at ONE top of the wheel's movement pitch - where the wooden {Pitman} hooks into the crank to SPIN the wheel when the foot treadle is toed down. JUST at the pivotal {pun intended} moment & forward drive motion!

So - I figured by now - I'd either end up with $140 worth of FIREWOOD - OR - By God - PANDORA would be Spinnable - or BUST! Suffice to say - The Spinning Faes were WITH me on that one - And - PANDORA is spinning beautifully now. I just need to tweak some more to get the tension PULL a bit looser without throwing the Drive Band off the Bobbin every few rounds of the wheel.

For NOW - I don't think I could be much more pleased with how well PANDORA has lived up to her NAME during her mini-refurb despite of her decrepitude and is once again rather like ME - Wrinkled, sagging in places, marred a bit here & there from earning her Battle Scars of Living & moving just a bit wonky... All of which only ADD to her alluring charm!  I think this is the beginning of a long & beautiful new relationship together!!!

I have the distinct feeling that PANDORA will NOT be my LAST wooden Double-Drive spinning wheel! Tho SHE was the very FIRST wooden spinning wheel I've ever touched - much less a Double-Drive spinning wheel - Kinda THREW me at first - Cuzzz I couldn't figure out - WHERE the heck to PUT on a BRAKE BAND!!! Sorry - Only experienced SPINNERS will completely understand that one & WHY my PANDORA just LAUGHED at me until I finally figured out WHY she doesn't USE one!

You can see she is much happier all cleaned up & shiny compared to her former piteous dust grimy unspinnabe condition in the previous posting below where she was a Lady In Waiting quietly hidden away in a dusty little corner of small Montana antique shop where my son {THANK YOU Michael} found her there just waiting for me!

1 comment:

cyndy said...

So lovely! Nice to see her back up and looking good! May you share many happy miles of yarn together!

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