Care and maintenance spinning wheels

Ease of use for the spinning enthusiast is the number one priority in the design of our spinning wheels. Our ball bearings allow easy, smooth rotation of the main wheels and the footman connection. The belt is made from flexible polyurethane and doesn’t needs adjusting. To maintain the belt’s flexibility, it is important that you take it off of the pulley or bobbin when your wheel is not in use.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to best care for your wheel, whether it’s brand new or decades old.

Your brand-new wheel

The flyer orifice and brass bearing need time to ‘break in’, most spinners find that 1-10 hours of spinning is sufficient to eliminate any squeaking. In the meantime, applying a small amount of lubrication to the orifice (see instructions, below) will reduce the squeaking.

Please note that the ball bearings are all sealed and lubricated for life. Oiling these bearings will break down the seals and expose the bearings to spinning dust and dirt.  This will cause the bearings to wear.

Regular maintenance instructions

The flyer bearing of the Irish Tension spinning wheels and all bobbin bearings are made from POM (polyoxymethylene) or nylon (polyamide), depending on your model/date. These materials are self-lubricating and this means that no additional oil is required.

Adding oil to these bearings attracts dust and residue from spinning fiber, creating build-up and friction on the flyer. Over time, this can lead to wear and even grooves in the flyer rod.

To maintain the flyer bearing and bobbin bearings, clean it using a small, soft implement, such as a Q-tip. If it has become very dirty, a small amount of rubbing alcohol (a small quantity, applied to the implement) can be used as well. Continue cleaning until there is no longer any discoloration visible on the cleaning implement.

If there is squeaking at the orifice/brass bearing, you may apply a small drop of sewing machine oil, which is widely available. Keeping the orifice at proper oiling will assist the tension on Irish Tension wheels, as well, since the tension is regulated by braking the flyer with the brake band on the orifice. If the yarn is still pulled in too hard when the brake is completely off, a drop of oil on the orifice/brass bearing will help.

It is best to not to use Vaseline to lubricate the orifice; because of its high viscosity, buildup may occur (as it combines with dust and particles). To remedy this buildup, wipe the orifice with a cloth and apply a drop of oil. A small drop of oil is all that is needed to remedy squeaking.

In the event that the treadle hinge makes noise,  put a drop of oil on the metal at the hinge. Hold the wheel at an angle while applying the oil and while moving the treadle, so the oil gets into the hinge. Also, the rocker arm may need a drop of oil.

Especially if you spin unwashed wool, you must keep the rotating parts of your spinning wheel clean and not use excess oil. Greasiness attracts dirt and that causes wear.

When the spinning wheel is not in use, we recommend that you take the belt off of the pulley (Scotch tension) or bobbin (Irish tension). This allows the belt to rest in a relaxed position and extends the life of the belt.