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Working the wheel

Time to work on this spinning wheel! It's in really good nick so I'm going with a ~*light touch*~ approach, as we say in the public service trenches.

This wheel was previously owned by a sheep farmer, who apparently spun his own fleeces in the grease (unwashed). How do I know? The first part I was told when I picked up the wheel, the second part is pretty self evident.

So. much. grease. But that's nothing some hot water and some scrubbing can't fix. There's also a few decades of wheel oil in the whorl.

I love how you can see the years of use in the flyer hooks. Here you can see a noticable difference between the first hook (which is always used) and the last hook (which is used the least) on the flyer.

I took the hooks off to give them a good soak in vinegar. That go rid of the touch of rust they had as well as the coating of grease.

I also took the leather connector between the footman and the treadle off because it was a bit mouldy. Again, nothing some scrubbing won't fix.

I treated this leather connector and the leather flyer bearings with the same Howard's Butcher Block Conditioner. It's mineral oils and wax, which is good for leather, and also has mildly antibacterial properties, which might help keep future mould at bay.

Here's the wheel and treadle all cleaned, marks and stains scrubbed off, leather and wood reconditioned. I didn't want to take the wheel itself off because it still spins beautifully and I didn't want to muck with that. But I wrapped a vinegar soaked cloth around the metal spoke to remove rust.

This wheel is badged as a Sheridan Macarthur, but didn't have any date marking. Sheridan was a fibre art equipment maker in Victoria operating from 1969 to 1985. Given the condition of this wheel I guessed it was from the 90s, but it's a bit older than that!

This wheel sports the original 'Australian Made' sticker, used from 1961-1986. So this wheel is 39 years at the youngest, or 55 at the oldest. So not antique, but certainly retro. And likely a world-weary, cynical and disregarded xennial.

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