Restoring an old spinning wheel

Amy Are you there ?? I am Craig Schultz. I have been restoring an old spinning wheel for my daughter wh o wants to learn and is an avid knitter. I am almost to the point of completing the project and have stumbled on what may be a significant problem. In removing the drive wheel for the flyer I noted the threads were destroyed so I welded a layer of metal and then cut threads that work well with the drive wheel. unfortunately it weems the drive wheel threads and the associated nnut inbeded in the wheel seem to be standard right hand threads and after realizing that the unit drives such that a right hand thread would loosen I am now in a bind. it seems others may have modified the unit for show rather than spinning. Is it possible to cross the drive bands to reverse the spin ? and if so is it acceptable to have thread spun in the reverse direction?? Bet this is the strangest question you have had today!!

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Welcome to KnittingHelp!
@mullerslanefarm Would you bring your expertise and experience here please?

Hi Craig. SWSO (spinning wheel shaped object) were popular in the 60s & 70s. They were just that. Objects that looked like a spinning wheel but were not functional. Fear not! Folks have successfully made them functional.

(Picture with labels to make sure we’re talking the same language.)

Please check the flyer bearing (see photo) to make sure there is a hole on the side of the bearing for the yarn to travel through from the hooks through the bearing.

I’m not sure if you are talking about the flyer and whorl or the drive wheel. If you’re talking about the actual drive wheel, the antique wheels sat freely and newer wheels generally have a ball bearing contraption in the drive wheel upright.

Some whorls did screw onto the the flyer axle (usually a left hand thread) but fear not. Spinners will spin and ply in both directions, we simply change the direction the drive wheel is going. The whorl spins at the same speed of the flyer & bobbin and only faster/slower depending what brake system is used.


Hope this helps you a bit. If you have any questions, just tag me by putting an @ and start typing mullerslanefarm!!


p.s. having a woodworker around is very handy for a fiber artist (my husband never runs out of things to make me lol!)… you might as well start looking into plans for a niddy-noddy (I find one that measures in 1’ or 2’ lengths most helpful) and a lazy kate (arched ones are the most stable.)


What brand of wheel is it? Often you can find parts, videos and/or instructions that will help. I have an older Ashford traditional. My other 2 are newer Ashford and Kromski. so I don’t know a lot about them as they age.

Thanks for your quick response Cyndi. The wheel I am dealing with does not have any identification on it but seems to be something other than someone’s project. The only thing I am a bit unsure about is that nut and threading for the
flyer drive wheel. The Bobbin of course runs freely but the flyer must be attached to the shaft. Given that, when you change directions the force however gentle would tend to unwind the threads. I guess I am more concerned because at some point it seems
the threads and the nut inside the drive pulley have been changed from left to right and therefore the normal operation of the wheel which I think is clockwise as the operator faces the wheel will tend to unscrew the pulley. As I look at the diagram you sent
the threads are definitely the opposite of mine. BUT after all that analysis, I am now thinking that taking your advice I will need to have additional Bobbins which may or may not have the right size shaft holes and length so is there a possibility I should
change out the entire assembly that rides in those leather bearings and add the appropriate bobbins while I am at it. Do all the Bobbins use the same diameter shaft? How about the length, that would seem to be critical but maybe its standard. If I cannot
find bobbins to fit then the flyer unit changeout will definitely be required. I suppose if I knew more about actual spinning I would not have to bother you with these simple question, but— I don’t know and I must ask—. When you change directions it
would seem that the flyer must have hooks on both sides to wind the thread properly or do they work in both directions as well?? I see the newer flyers have a sliding hook or loop that hangs from the center and that seems to handle that issue completely.
I am a little nervous about chasing a lot of money after this if it does not make sense or if she doesn’t take the process to heart. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Mail]( for Windows 10


Craig, I wouldn’t worry too much about the direction the flyer whorl (drive wheel) is spinning. As long as it is attached to the flyer axle (shaft), all is well. Most of the time we spin our yarns clockwise, however when we ply our yarn into 2- or 3- plies, we change direction and spin counter-clockwise. The attached whorl is able to handle both directions. Remember the axle (shaft) is spinning at the same time and speed as the flyer whorl (drive wheel).

Additional bobbins are always a good thing! It is one of the down sides of getting an antique wheel. They usually have just the one bobbin and they are generally small. How I wish that bobbins were interchangeable!! I’ve seen old wheels that only have one set of hooks, hooks on one side, hooks on both sides. They all work. (I have the WooLee Winder on my wheels. It works like fishing reel, automatically winding the yarn onto my bobbins!!)

Could you perhaps send a picture of the wheel? We may be able to identify it for you

The Woolery would be a great resource for you. They have an extensive catalog of various brands of spinning wheels and their customer service is excellent. They might be willing to measure the various flyers to see if a modern one (if you indeed have an off brand antique) would fit your wheel.

I will try to post a couple of pics of the wheel here. I have decided to go ahead with the present flyer at tjis time just to get her spinning. Then we will decide where to go from there. I would still like to invest in a couple bobbins for the present setup. They will need an attached drive wheel and the shaft size and length would seem to be critical. I will now try to attach the pics.

![20200208_174906_HDR|600x1200, 75%] (upload://gArvyLTQhKG6t6luR34qpKhhEAX.jpeg)

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Continuing the discussion from Restoring an old spinning wheel:

Now as I look at it again in light of the pic you sent which shows the flyer drive whorl(?) as smaller than the one on the bobbin, I wonder again if this flyer setup was a SWSO. It would seem important that the flyer should turn several times more often than the bobbin to allow the twist yet neither of these pics seem to allow that difference in speed. Another difference I note is that the shaft in the pic does not go through the flyer and may be completely independent of the flyer shaft. Comments?

Cyndi. After more thought I guess the size of the whorls(pulleys) should reflect the the difference in the size of the bobbin and the size of the flyer. Assuming that theory is correct, I wonder how the double drive system allows for the growth of the size of the bobbin as it fills. I am surprised that it operates without some flexibility in the drive system. Maybe when I make the drive belts they should be loose enough to allow for slight slippage. Thoughts? Craigschultz