Monday, March 03, 2008

Quebec wheel

I saw an advert in the Guild newsletter for a very adorable, small, and portable wheel known as the peacock for sale at an exceptional price. The problem is that although my Ashford Traditional wheel works marvelously well, it is rather large for taking from one place to another. I thought that perhaps one additional, but considerably smaller wheel would fit nicely in the apartment and would easily satisfy all my spinning needs. It's funny how life doesn't work out according to plan.

Instead, the peacock wheel was sold, but there were some lovely other items available at a 'considerable discount'. I received three items from her, and each one of them will receive a different post as they are all special and delightful in their own way.

First, the Quebec Wheel

Isn't she gorgeous? When I saw this wheel I thought to myself, I simply have to try it out. What do you know, not only was it in working order, it spins exactly like I love to: thin and fast. I knew immediately that this was the wheel for me. Even though I still love my Ashford dearly, I feel that as time goes on, I'll use my Quebec more and more as it really is a perfect match.

I know the ownership pedigree back to the 1940 or 1930s, but I suspect her of being considerably older. One of the previous owners spun exclusively flax and linen on it. It may be that I failed to achieve my aim of buying a smaller, more portable wheel, as you can see from this next photo that my new Quebec wheel is considerably larger than my Ashford.

The Quebec wheel has had a lot of life and it shows. It's a double drive single treadle wheel, but the little details like the addition to the treadle (both the rubber no-slip bits and the extension where the heal sets to make for a more rocking action) and the previous applications of wood filler here and there are all monuments to different owners and different stages of its life so far. The drive wheel shows gaps where the sections are held together. Despite all the rain we get, the air is surprisingly dry around here. It doesn't effect the operation of the wheel in any way that I can discern. Someone has tried in the past to fill in the gaps with wood filler, to no avail.

There is a small bit of paper glued to the wheel, I cannot quite make out what it says, but I think the signature is "S Jensons" and there is a "J8" carved into one end of the wheel. There isn't enough information on the Internet at the moment to do any in depth research, so I'll subscribe to the Spinning Wheel Sleuth. If I enjoy their publication, I'll order some back issues that might prove helpful in learning more.

Even though it works, the wheel still needs a bit of love and attention. For one thing it has been sitting around for months if not years without being used and gathering dust. So I take a gentle cleanser like Murphy's Oil soap (made of natural ingredients specifically designed to GENTLY clean wood) and following the directions on the bottle, take a soft cloth and wipe down all the wooden parts of the wheel.

Then, once that's completely dry, I take a natural oil, in this instance lemon oil as it cleanses even more as it conditions the wood, a different soft cloth, and some gloves and rub in the oil.

This is almost all the wheel really needs. I could of course remove all the additional modifications, but that would be only if I wanted to display it as a work of art. I would much rather leave on the wheel all the additions that previous owners lavished on this wheel as it makes me feel humble and honoured to spin on it.

I am having trouble removing the flyer assembly for cleaning. I want to get the gunk and dust out of there and to give it some fresh lubricant but the maidens are seized up. It also only has one bobbin so I will want to get more in the near future. I'll deal with that later on as it spins delightfully at the moment and I have other toys to play with.


Anonymous said...

Oh, wow! I hadn't yet seen this post when I posted my comment on the other one, and I'm glad to see that the wheel you've found is such a good match to you! Enjoy spinning on it!

Holly said...

and that is how a collection of wheels starts, with that one wheel that offers somethign new, something special.
and the next that perhaps has two treadles and the
next that has...
Agree that this one is pretty old, and may go back to the late 1800s. It is not fancy, just a good working wheel that deserved its new life
(and doesn't look like anything from Jensens in Wisconsin)

TinkingBell said...

What a lovely wheel!! Always lovely to gain items with a history! Happy spinning!

Robin said...

Your new wheel is beautiful and so full of character! The lemon oil is perfect for a little cleaning/moisturizing. It's all my grandmother used to dust with as a professional housecleaner.