Christmas Card(ing)

Earlier this month, I was hoping that Santa would bring me a new a carder.

Specifically, I was dreaming of a Patrick Green Big Batt carder.

Yeah,  it’s pretty sweet (especially with that cool burnishing tool).

And there are some videos on You Tube of it in action that just made me think that it must be a quantum leap from my current equipment.

So smooth, so quiet. Such lovely fluffy batts.

But then there’s that big price tag. And the wait list.

I wouldn’t have gotten it by Christmas (or even my birthday) anyway.
So I got this


Yep, that’s still Clem. But he feels like a whole new machine since he got is Christmas tuneup!

I’d known for a while that his alignment wasn’t really right.

There was too much turning resistance.

And noise.

There was quite a lot of fiber that had gotten stuck down on the drum axles, and he probably hadn’t been lubricated in ages.

So we took him partially apart. Thankfully that’s not a tricky thing. Pretty simple construction.
But it really made getting all the crud out a lot easier, because it turned out that the wool that was building up had gotten shoved into the brass bearings in the frame because of the rotating motion.

I should have taken before pictures, so you could see how much junk came out of the poor guy.



It’s hard to keep fiber out of those gaps, but I’m going to try and be more diligent from here on out.

And while he was apart, it was a lot easier to adjust the alignment of the smaller feeder drum to get the right spacing of the tines between the two drums.


He was way too tight. The tines were meshing and causing a lot of resistance and noise.
I learned that the right spacing is to have them about and index card (or Christmas card!) thickness apart. This allows for the fiber to transfer effectively without causing a lot of stress and tension on the machine, the wool, and the operator (Go figure) 🙂

Now that I’ve got Clem all tuned up everything goes faster and easier, and I’ve been carding up a storm-


The batts are fluffier, and he seems able to do a better job on just one pass.

Not only that, but while I was looking into drum carder use and maintenance online I discovered a handy little trick or two-

Turns out a flick carder is really great for cleaning his drums



And also held lightly against the big drum for a couple passes after all your fiber is loaded, it can act as a burnishing tool as well, smoothing the surface of the batt very nicely.

Turn out Clem and I probably still have many happy years and batts ahead of us!


  1. Kirsti

    Hello Denise, I’d forgotten what fun it is to watch sheep grow! Thanks for your card–loved the picture of nose-to-nose. I have now subscribed to your posts so I’ll have no excuse for not knowing what you are up to. All the best in 2012. Love, Kirsti


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