Sunday, December 6, 2009

Her name is Eleanor

As I slip down the antique spinning wheels rabbit hole, I thought I’d introduce you to Eleanor. (All pics are clickable for larger.)

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With help from the spinning wheel inspector

There’s a whole set on Flickr. I’m open to any and all suggestions, help, comments and info. I’m working my way through the cleaning and refinishing threads on the Antique Spinning Wheels group on Ravelry, have books on the way, but would love to know where else to start to figure out what the old girl’s history is.

How old is she? Are the pointy feet a clue?

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Where’s she from? I think she looks a lot like some of the PA wheels in the Pennington book, but she came to me from near the VT/Quebec border.

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What the heck kinds of wood are those? (I see oak on a few little pieces and the treadle, and am guessing maple on the rest, but the knot has me stumped on the table.)

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There are some odd inconsistencies, and I know some work has been done in the past. There are pegs that look like twigs, yet metal inserts on the bobbin. There are some goopy repairs to the edge of the drive wheel in a few spots, and the footman may be newer.

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Cleaning has started, and the first layer of plain old dirt came off with Murphys Oil Soap. A few pieces got the denatured alcohol treatment, and the before and after are pretty amazing. I mean, the wheel is made of wood, not brown crud! The whole wheel is going to need the alcohol, but it’s just too cold to do much heavy work outside at the moment.

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It will be an interesting process, cleaning, oiling, and tightening up some wobbles. The drive wheel spins well, the mother-of-all adjusts easily, and I’m working out an issue with the flyer binding on one of the leathers which was really dried out. But, she spins!

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