Ashford Traveller – in action

And the good news is, it works!

Ashford Traveller – grand opening

It’s not a present if it’s not wrapped, right?

Green note: the wrapping paper is back on the roll ready for next christmas. :)

OK the photo might be slightly staged, but the delight is genuine. Especially at how many people had contributed, which was much more of a surprise than the fact that I’d been building a spinning wheel in the cellar.
The accompanying card had a felt handpuppet goat on the front. Seemed appropriate.

Ashford Traveller – double vs single drive

I mentioned earlier that this was a double drive model. It will actually operate as single or double drive. Here’s what that means.

The drive belt (special string, but string nonetheless) goes around the wheel twice. In double drive mode, one loop is on the bobbin and one is on the flyer pulley. So the bobbin and flyer are both driven directly, hence double drive.

You can see that there is a second groove on the flyer pulley. This allows a different drive ratio to be used. All this movement of the belt changes the tension but there’s a cunning knob and hinge arrangement to retension it.

In single drive mode, both loops go around the bobbin. A brake band (transparent so hard to see, but it has springs at each end to ensure tension which may be easier to spot) is put onto the flyer pulley to stop it turning. Only the bobbin is driven, hence single drive.

Specifically this is “bobbin lead” or Irish Tension single drive. Alternatively, you can single drive the flyer pulley and brake the bobbin. That would be “flyer lead” or Scotch Tension single drive.

Ashford Traveller – 4

No work on this yesterday because I was busy with other things. So a big push now to get it ready for tomorrow. There was more wax polish left in the tin than I’d thought so everything has had a second coat and, in a few cases, a third.

The first parts to be put together make up the flyer assembly. The flyer is the U shaped piece holding the bobbin. The base it all sits on (with the Ashford logo) is called the maiden board – I have no idea why.
Then the legs are fitted into the base and the treadles are fitted into the holes on the rear legs. Screws which go in at an angle hold the legs on. You have to be careful putting these in.
The wheel goes on next with the cranked bar from the treadle drives acting as the axle. There’s a fiddly pin that holds axle and wheel together, which you can just see as a black line across the hub of the wheel.
Finally the posts to support the flyer assembly, and then the flyer assembly itself, are fitted. A few finishing touches, like the drive belt, and we’re there!

I’ll take some better pictures tomorrow when it’s out of the cellar (from which Theo is temporarily banned) and in natural light which should help the lovely colour of the wood show through. The flash is tending to make it seem a bit darker and redder than it really is.

Ashford Traveller – 3

A milestone – everything is now sanded, waxed and buffed. You can still see the variation in colour, expecially in those legs (top centre). About three quarters of the tin of polish has been used. The next step is to figure out which bits will be difficult to get at once it’s asssembled and give those areas a second application.

Ashford Traveller – 2

The spinning wheel is made almost entirely out of New Zealand silver beech. It’s finished to a very high standard so all that’s needed is a light sanding with the supplied sandpaper, concentrating especially on cut ends, grooves and sockets which tend to be slightly rougher. If you were using an oil or varnish rather than a wax, you might need to treat it differently.
These are the legs. Two have been waxed and two haven’t. Can you guess which is which?

Two legs have holes through and two don’t. I’d waxed the two with holes in this picture. When I waxed the other two, they hardly darkened at all. Presumably they were made from a different batch of wood and it just reacted differently. The colour is starting to even out already, so I suspect it will hardly be detectable soon.

Ashford Traveller – 1

In cahoots with some lovely and generous friends and family, I’ve bought Theo an Ashford Traveller spinning wheel for her birthday coming up this Sunday. It’s the double treadle, double drive model in natural wood. As it needs a finishing coat (I’m using Ashford’s own wax polish) and assembly, I’m going to try to get it up and running ready for the big day.

Here’s the first, and arguably most exciting, stage – unpacking it!

The box. The wheel was supplied by alpacaspinner.co.uk and safely delivered by Parcelforce.
The box – opened, and with the top protective packing removed. All the packing is paper or card, the only plastic is the bag that the screws and fixings are in. And that’s a re-usable ziploc.
The contents – lots of wax polishing to do now. The polish is in the shiny tin at the bottom, next to the spinning wheel oil (nope, I’d never heard of that before either).