Spinning Wheel FAQ’s

Spinning Wheel FAQs.

The Good Yarn Ashford Spinning Wheel Traditional traveller espinner

How do I make my wheel light and easy to treadle?

The wheel, flyer and bobbin must all rotate freely. Check by first removing the drive and brake bands. Apply Ashford spinning wheel oil, light oil or vaseline as illustrated.

Your Spinning Wheel

  • Spin the wheel. It should rotate freely for around 20 revolutions.
  • Wheel bearings. Prise the wheel supports apart and apply a drop of oil onto the crank between the hub and bearings.
  • Con rod bearing. Oil and check to ensure it isn’t pinching.
  • Treadle pins. Use either candle wax or oil to reduce noise and friction.
  • Hinge pins on double treadle wheels. Oil as necessary.
  • Check there is approx. 1 – 2mm (1/16in) side play between the hub and bearings. If the wheel is being pinched between the wheel supports loosen the bolts holding the frame or wheel supports until it is free, spin the wheel and then gradually retighten the bolts.
  • Check that the gap between the bottom of the con rod (pitman)and the treadle rail is approx 12mm (½in). If greater than this it can cause ankle strain and if closer the two can bind thus stretching the joint.


  • Spin the flyer. It should rotate freely›
  • Oil the flyer bearings.
  • Ensure the flyer bearings are at right angles to the flyer shaft. If not loosen the screws holding the maid upright, align and tighten.
  • Check there is approx. 2 – 3mm (1/8in) end float between the flyer, bobbin and flyer bearings.
  • Check the drive band is aligned with the wheel. If necessary, loosen the screws holding the maiden bar, align and tighten.


  • Oil the bobbin bearings.
  • If the bobbin doesn’t run freely the bearings may be a littletight on the flyer shaft. If so ream them with a ¼in round finechain saw file or fine sandpaper wrapped around a pencil.
  • If your wheel has been factory finished, clean any lacquer off the spindle.
  • On double drive wheels the flyer whorls have “V” grooves. The bobbin whorl is “U” shaped. This difference enables the wheel to drive the flyer at a constant speed and allows the bobbin to accelerate or slow down when drafting. Check the bobbin whorl is smooth and “U” shaped.

What do I do if the yarn won’t draw in?

  • Ensure the bobbin rotates freely on the flyer shaft.
  • Check the flyer hooks are smooth and are not catching the yarn.
  • Check the orifice is clean.

Single drive

Check the brake band is over the bobbin whorl and the springs are just starting to extend.

Double drive

  • Check the drive band is around the small whorl on the bobbin and the largest flyer whorl.
  • Check there is sufficient tension on the drive band.
The Good Yarn Wool fibre for spinning Australia

What do I do to prevent the yarn being pulled out of my hands?

Single drive

  • Reduce the brake band tension until the springs are just starting to extend.
  • Check the bobbin whorl is smooth. If necessary smooth with sandpaper.
  • Apply a drop of oil to the bobbin whorl.

Double Drive

Reduce the drive belt tension.

How much tension should I have on the drive band?

Only have sufficient tension to drive the flyer and bobbin without slipping. Too much tension makes treadling harder.

Generally the drive belt should be able to be easily depressed about 25mm (1in). Turn the belt tension knob until you have the correct tension.

If the drive belt has stretched, shorten and retie it.

Why use two tension springs on the brake band?

Two springs fitted either side of the bobbin whorl will make plying easier as it allows the brake band to flex rather than pull against the tension knob. Spare springs are available from your Ashford dealer.

How do I avoid my yarn getting over-twisted?

Put the drive band onto a larger flyer whorl.›

Treadle slower. Around 60 RPM is a nice easy treadle speed.

Draft your yarn faster. This may require you to better prepare your fibre prior to spinning.

How do I avoid my yarn breaking?

Make your yarn stronger by treadling a little faster.

Draft more fibres to make the yarn a little thicker.

Pinch and slide your fingers along the spun yarn so you are always in contact with the yarn. This also prevents the ‘twist’ entering the undrafted fibres.

How do I prevent my spinning wheel walking away from me?

Check the wheel is free running. (See question 1)

Treadle with a down-wards action rather than away from you.

Spin with your wheel and chair on carpet or a rug.

What is the best finish for my spinning wheel?

Ashfords spinning wheels are made from Southland Silver Beech, a beautiful native timber of New Zealand sourced from sustainably managed forests. If your wheel is natural timber it should be protected as soon as possible to avoid staining and provide protection from any climatic changes. We recommend Ashford Teak Wax, however any reputable wood oil or wax finish would be suitable. Factory lacquered wheels may be further enhanced with our Teak Wax finish

What year is my Ashford Spinning Wheel?

If you’re unsure what year your Ashford Spinning Wheel is, download our free timeline to help you out