I am a huge fan of my antique wheels. They aren’t exactly traveling models, but they do hit the road from time to time for demonstrations and living history. I have learned the hard way to keep a spinning tool kit with my wheels at all times.
The first tools that come to mind are a threading hook and oiler. Be sure to include extra oil as well, especially if you are spinning raw fiber. The dirt in the fiber tends to catch and clump in the moving parts creating the need for more frequent oiling.
Some threading hooks include a notch that measures out an exact inch. If you don’t have one of these, it is also a good idea to have a small ruler. The ones that are included in date books are my personal favorites as they aren’t very long and are usually flexible.
A dry dusting cloth is also very useful to get the grit off the wheel once you are done spinning. Be sure to check the specifics of your wheel as to any cleaners the manufacturer might suggest. I just use the dry cloth to preserve the patina on my wheels.
Now for the “real tools”. I keep some extra leather for the maidens and an Exacto knife to cut the leather. A needle, heavy thread, and cotton shipping cord are essential if you have to make a new drive band. For a newer wheel, you would just include an extra drive band. A chunk of scouring pad is useful to clean out the bearings should they become too gritty.
Be sure to include some leather lacing to replace the piece that connects the footman to the treadle. In a pinch, the shipping cord can be substituted, but it will not last as long as the leather.
If you are using a wheel that has a scotch tension system, you will also need to include an extra spring as well as extra line.
A few cup hooks are always a good idea as they can be used for modifying the scotch tension system, replacing a flyer hook, re-shape with pliers to make a threading hook, if you happen to forget your own. Also a few sturdy paper clips can serve the same purposes as the cup hooks with some modifications.
And last but not least don’t forget the pliers and a screwdriver.
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