Friday, August 8, 2014

Francis, the Rescue Wheel, Part 1

Karen Ford's latest fiber-related adventure began with a call a few weeks ago from one of the volunteers preparing for the St. Francis Xavier garage sale. Someone had donated a spinning wheel and they asked Karen to come by and tell them if all of the parts were there. 

Photo by Nancy Wooldridge, a St. Francis Xavier volunteer

They told Karen that there were parts in the bag that was duct-taped to the treadle, which you can just barely see in the photograph above. Karen forwarded the pictures on to me (Mary Spanos) and I was skeptical. I thought it was unlikely that all of the parts would be there, I doubted that there was room in a bag that could be taped to a treadle for three bobbins and all of the other missing parts. I also thought it was unlikely that Karen could find a woodworker who would have experience working on wheels and who would be willing to make replacement parts. Fortunately, Karen did not listen to me. 

Even without all of its parts, this walnut wheel is a beauty (this and the remaining photos by Mary Spanos).
Karen had noticed that the small brass placque on the far side of the wheel's table said that the wheel had been made by Rick Reeves. She called the Schacht company, who makes a version of the Reeves wheels now, and they told her that the parts they are currently making wouldn't fit, but they gave her the name of a woodworker who makes replacement parts for old Reeves wheels, Carl Spriggs.

Karen has the wheel at her home now. She has been working to get the adhesive residue from the duct-tape off of the wood and has been corresponding with Rick Reeves. Rick told Karen that this was one of his early 24-inch wheels, prior to this he had made only smaller wheels.

Karen has also been corresponding with Carl Spriggs (see his Etsy shop), who says there shouldn't be any problem with making the replacement parts. The wheel is missing the flyer, whorls, bobbins, and one of the uprights that hold the wheel.

There is a mystery about this wheel. There is a carving on the top of the table with "1976 SJK." From Rick Reeves carvings on the bottom of the table, this wheel was made in 1976. "SJK" may have been the owner and she (or he) may have loved it enough to have her initials carved into it.


Karen has decided to call this wheel, Francis, because Karen found her after she was donated to the St. Francis Xaviar church garage sale. I've been very lucky to get to tag along on this first part of the "Francis, the Rescue Wheel" journey. We'll post Karen's and Francis' progress here, as important events happen, so you can follow along on this adventure, too.

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