That’s a Mighty Red Wheel

Earlier this week I responded to a post on Ravelry about an antique spinning wheel in need of assistance.

The style was of interest to me, and I was excited that it appeared to be pretty complete- even finials intact. It was hard to discern from the photo what exactly might be keeping it from being functional. So I went and picked it up on Friday.

Upon seeing it in person, the picture became much clearer.

The primary issue is paint. Lots of paint. In places that there shouldn’t be paint.

I felt an immediate need to start getting her freed up, and was able the first night to separate the bobbin and whorl and remove the decorative caps on the wheel uprights. So that seemed promising.

Check out these end caps. so pretty, though one has sustained some damage-

and now the bobbin and whorl are moveable, which is good.

Now the issue is getting the maidens freed up from the mother of all, so I can remove the flyer assembly.

Lots of paint at those joints, so I’ve been using denatured alcohol to un-goop them. They seem pretty clear at this point, but the maidens are still very solidly stuck in place. I’m starting to think that they may be glued.

I figured it would be easier to work on them if I removed the whole assembly from the table. I was pleased to discover that the tension screw was in good shape and operated smoothly (no paint in there).

At the very least I need to get the rear maiden out, because it is currently rotated 90 degrees and the flyer axle is inserted through it. Though I think I’ll probably need to remove the front one as well, to be able to safely remove the flyer. Got a suggestion today from a woodworker to try steam and see if that helps loosen them up at all. If that doesn’t work, I might try some oil of wintergreen.

If nothing is successful in easing them out, we might have to do something more invasive. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that.

A couple of other neat things I noticed about this wheel- the threaded rods that run from the elevated table to the wheel uprights are free-moving

And it has threaded ends on all the uprights, with caps underneath which are free-moving as well

Cool, eh? I thought so!

Lovely wheel under all that red and blue craziness. It’s clear that she was a working wheel for some time before she was “decor-ized” (wear on the treadle and flyer), and I have great hopes for her spinning in the future!


    • denisemor

      thanks Michelle- the only clue I have is the marking in the last photo. some very curvy initials and 1887. I’m guessing that might be an owner rather than the maker. its possible that there is a makers mark somewhere under all that paint, but since I’m not planning to strip it down, it will likely remain a mystery.

    • denisemor

      thanks Donna. It is a really neat wheel. lots of lovely details and fine workmanship. It is a shame that she’s got such a crazy paint job, but it is really gratifying to get her spinning again!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.