A couple of months ago my daughter was given a Haldane Hebridean wheel by a member of the spinning group we attend. It had belonged to her friend who had moved into smaller accommodation and she no longer had room for it. People had tried to put it together but it was not being very co-operative about treadling, so it became a project for me!
I had a search for some information and it seems that the company named Haldane still exists, but they make staircases these days rather than wheels! There are quite a few owners out there, and a Haldane Fanciers group on Ravelry. After some advice, oiling, adjusting and generally wiggling things about, I managed to get the wheel to treadle and rotate fairly smoothly – most of the problem seemed to be around getting bits to line up correctly. Originally the treadle bar kept popping out from between the legs and the drive band kept jumping off. Lining up the legs and then adjusting the whorl so it was lined up with the wheel seemed to resolve most of the problems. It still has a desire to spin counterclockwise if you don’t treadle just right, but I’m working on that.
The wheel came with the original instructions. They were amazing – one page of vagueness! It suggests looking at the (blurry) photo they provide and reading a text book on spinning. If you want to read more, they are here: Haldane Instructions
Once I was convinced that the wheel would actually function I started thinking about the condition of the wood. It looked blotchy, almost water stained. In the end I decided to use a wood treatment called Liquid Gold:
I bought it from Lakeland for £8.99 – http://www.lakeland.co.uk/liquid-gold-wood-reviver/F/keyword/wood+cleaner/product/22551
It’s obviously serious stuff, Liquid Gold, if it is misused – I thought this warning image was a very dramatic way of expressing the harm it could do! I did remember to open the windows and use gloves after seeing this though.
I took the wheel to bits so I could clean all the parts properly. One of the things I love about this wheel is that you can see how it works, it is so simple and makes sense! There are no screws or bolts, everything just slots together. That didn’t stop me having a slight wobble about how it was all going to go back together again when I got to this stage:
Two of the legs and the wheel supports did not want to come away from the table, so I decided I wasn’t going to force them!
The Liquid Gold itself is clear, but it managed to rub off some of the many years of accumulated grime – the cloth I used became very grubby very quickly. I was probably a bit too generous with the amount I applied, so having wiped the excess off I left the wheel overnight to soak up what it could. In the morning I gave it another wipe over and then put it all back together and treated it to a new drive band and some more wheel oil on all the moving parts.
It looks much better now, you can certainly see a difference in the appearance of the wood:
Next plan is to try and acquire a larger whorl – at the moment everything my daughter produces is very overspun and I cannot get her to treadle at anything other than breakneck speed! Hopefully a big whorl might force things to slow down a bit and encourage her to continue spinning!