Ashford Spinning Wheels Overview

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Every part of an Ashford Wheel is available as a replacement spare. Contact us for more information.

 

Spinning wheel types.

There are 2 types of spinning wheel. The most common is single drive with a braked bobbin sometimes called Scotch Tension. Less common is the double drive wheel, a one piece drive band goes round twice and drives both the flyer AND the bobbin.

How does my spinning wheel work?

There MUST be a difference between the rotation speed of the flyer (the bit with hooks) and the bobbin (where the spun yarn is stored). This is achieved by using a brake band (Scotch Tension) single drive OR Double Drive where the flyer and bobbin spin at different speeds.

The single drive wheel uses a brake band, usually nylon, that has a small spring at one end. The brake band goes over the bobbin, into a groove on the bobbin end piece. The single drive wheel therefore has a FASTER FLYER and a SLOWER BOBBIN; the greater the difference in speed the greater the strength of the ‘pull’ of spun yarn onto the bobbin. If there is no difference in speed then the fibres just twist round and are not taken onto the bobbin.

The double drive wheel normally has a flyer that is driven at a rotation speed that is SLOWER than the bobbin. The drive band tension determines whether this speed difference is achieved. Double drive spinning wheels are, in our experience, prone to ambient conditions. Dry and the drive band shortens, wet and the drive band lengthens. This means that the condition of the drive band can change whilst you are spinning so tension changes are often required during prolonged spinning sessions.

Changing a drive band.

Rule 1, the most important one for both single and double drive wheels is to check the relative positions of the drive wheel and the flyer. Usually by the time you decide to change the drive band your tension adjustments have taken the flyer to its furthest position away from the drive wheel. So BEFORE you fit the new drive band MOVE THE FLYER BACK TO it’s nearest position the drive wheel.

We recommend and sell a high twist cotton drive band. Use a flat or reef knot to tie the drive band.

There are hundreds of different spinning wheels but the essentials remain the same. The wheel drives the flyer, a bobbin, on which the spun yarn is ‘collected’ fits inside the flyer. You need a minimum of 3 bobbins - 2 are used for the ‘singles’ (a single spun yarn) and the 3rd bobbin is used to ply the singles together.

Please note ASHFORD wheels are supplied in ‘Flat Pack’ form by HILLTOP. If you can collect the wheel from Lyminge we offer an assembly service for £25 that includes a Danish Oil finish for Natural Wood wheels.


Spinning is a relaxing and therapeutic hobby. Hand spun yarns are wonderful to use and totally unique.

A Spinning Wheel should speak to you, pick a design that both fits your home and is aesthetically pleasing.

Ashford wheels are work horses, the ones we use were purchased 30 odd years ago. We must have spent a fortune, at least £5, on spare parts over the years.

Our wheels are given an annual Tender Loving Care (TLC) session after which they are a joy to use. A TLC session involves cleaning the wood, we use tepid water and a drop of washing up liquid - just dampen the cloth. Then a buff up with furniture polish - if possible beeswax.

Lubricating Ashford wheels should only be done when they ask - usually asking by squeaking. Use a fine oil and not too much otherwise it will spatter everywhere.

Ashford are gradually changing the wheel bearings from nylon to ball bearing. This will make treadling even easier and the ball bearings will not require lubricating except on very rare occasions.

We stock a wide range of spares for Ashford wheels, everything from screws to replacement wheels. The picture above will help you to both locate where the part is required and, maybe, put a name to it. If it is still a puzzle take a picture of your wheel or email, or telephone us.

A warning - textile crafts are relaxing, therapeutic and addictive, both sociable and secretive. When spinning with a group of 25 spinners at the Kent Agricultural Show some years ago 2 women walked around us then one said in a stage whisper “ Well it’s all very well Mildred, but they’re not real people are they.”

Textile crafts are a vehicle for your talents, there a so many different ways to express them.

"We offer a personal service and like to speak to our customers - please contact us to learn more"