Spinning Wheel Troubleshooting

Click for Spinning Wheel Maintenance for the Ashford Spinning Wheel

Below is specifically related to Schacht Wheels,  But many suggestions will work with many spinning wheel.

Flyer won't turn.  The drive band is not over the flyer whorl, or the drive band is too loose.  Make sure the drive band is positioned correctly in the flyer whorl.  Tighten the drive band.

Yarn won't wind on. There may not be enough tension. Tighten the drive band or the Scotch tension band.  - In double-drive mode, the whorl on the bobbin should be smaller than the flyer whorl.  If it isn’t, use the smaller end of the bobbin, or change the flyer whorl. - Check to be sure that the yarn is not wrapped around a flyer hook.

Yarn takes up too fast. Slow your treadling, or loosen the tension on the drive band.

Yarn doesn't have enough twist. The yarn is probably being drawn onto the bobbin too quickly. Hold back on the yarn to allow for more twist to be transferred to the yarn, treadle faster, or change to a smaller whorl.

Yarn has too much twist.  This is a common problem for new spinners. Generally, when the yarn overtwists it kinks up and results in yarn breakage. Usually overtwisting is caused by holding the yarn too long before allowing it to take up onto the flyer. Try slowing down your treadling and drawing out the fibers faster so that they can be taken up more quickly. Also, you can try tightening the tension so that the yarn takes up faster.

Scotch tension rod slips and doesn’t hold tension.  Tighten the thumbscrew underneath the mother-of-all. If your wheel does not have the thumbscrew, you have a couple of options to try. You can put a couple of drops of water in the holes for the end of the scotch tension rod. This will let the wood swell a bit, and hold the rod better. Or you can widen the end of the rod by hitting the end of the rod with a hammer and nail set.

Bobbin isn't turning on the flyer shaftCheck to see if the wood of the bobbin has become swollen. First remove the flyer assembly from the wheel and try spinning the bobbin on the shaft with your finger. If the bobbin doesn't turn freely, it needs to be reamed.    Contact Schacht Spindle in Colorado to set up service. 

Treadling is too hard.   The tension on either the drive band or the Scotch tension band is too tight. Loosen and then retighten the tension only enough to make the yarn start to draw in. You may also want to try a lower or higher seat.

Yarn draws in erratically.  If you tied your drive band, check to see that the knot isn't too large or too hard.

Bobbins are noisy.  Climatic changes may cause a bobbin to become noisy. Also, bobbins may become noisy when they are very full. To fix noisy bobbins use white grease. Place the bobbin on the flyer shaft. Then place a small amount of white grease on the flyer shaft at either end of the bobbin. Put a drop of oil on top of the white grease.  When finished spinning wipe the white grease off the flyer shaft to prevent the shaft from becoming sticky.

The problem could also be a noisy whorl.  To determine if the noise is coming from the bobbin or the whorl, place the drive band (or bands) first over the whorl, then treadle and listen for noise. If the whorl is quiet, place the drive band (or bands) over the bobbin, then treadle and listen for noise. A noisy bobbin should be treated as discussed above. To fix whorl noise, the flyer and all whorls should be sent to Schacht for tightening.   Contact Schacht Spindle in Colorado to set up service. 

Schacht Spinning Wheel Care
1. Try to keep the wheel in a dry, moderate climate.

2.  Try to avoid temperature extremes (i.e. keep out of direct sunlight and really damp and cold climates).

3.  Do not use Liquid Gold or other water-based cleaning products.

4.  If the wheel needs cleaning, use a cloth with paint thinner or similar non-water based product to wipe off dirt (once a year at most) and then re-oil with a natural oil like Deft or Watco (follow the directions on the can!).  Steel wool, grade 00, may also be used to clean the wheel.

5.  Use 10-20 or 10-30 weight oil sparingly, rarely on the footman, mostly just on the flyer shaft and bobbins while spinning.  Regularly wiping the shaft clean will prevent the oil from becoming gummy.

6.  No oil or lubricant should be used in the spinning wheel hub pin hole, in the center of the hub between the spokes.