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Spinning-wheel oil

Kate Hutcinson asks:

Where in Boston can one purchase spinning wheel oil? I made minor improvements to my antique wheel today, but I still have trouble getting the bobbin to spin independently of the flyer.

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No guarantee they'd have it, but worth a call: Sewing & Vacuum Center, on Blanchard Road at the Cambridge-Belmont line.

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Try Time Machine Center first.

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Haven't heard of it. What city or town? Do they have a website?

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Sorry, Ron, I'm fairly certain that this anon is making a joke about spinning wheels being old-fashioned. Although I'm not sure there's any different, more modern tech available for folks whose DIY urge involves spinning their own yarn.

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The sewing machine repair shops use sewing machine oil which is gums up with time, thus assuring a steady income stream servicing them.

Enthusiasts who restore sewing machines have found Triflow to not only help break up gummed up oil, but keep the machines running better than ever, almost indefinitely.

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It has graphite in it. Frees lock cylinders and doesn't attract dust. Dust in the oil might be a problem here.
Perhaps wipe off the contact surfaces then hit it with the graphite.

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Too much of a chance of the graphite getting into the fiber/and ultimately the yarn.

Maybe this article from Ply Magazine can help: https://plymagazine.com/2017/01/oil-spinning-wheel/

Sources: I own both an antique Ashford wheel plus a locally made Electric Eel Wheel (https://www.dreamingrobots.com/)

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Sewfisticated in Cambridge/Somerville, at the Twin Cities Plaza might have it, try to talk to the owner lady there, she's deeply knowledgeable and if anybody would know she would

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Try an antique store that specializes in early American stuff. Charles Street?

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Mind’s Eye Yarn in Cambridge

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I *think* I've seen spinning supplies at Mind's Eye, although I haven't been there in a long while. If all else fails, you can mail order from various places such as yarn.com in Northampton or Paradise Fibers in Spokane, WA. (Picking two at random from places I get emails from, although I'm just a knitter, not a spinner.)

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I know Mind's Eye sells wool roving (and possibly other fibers as well) for spinning, and IIRC the owner has a spinning wheel in the store. If she doesn't carry spinning oil, she probably has a decent idea of who does. Either way, I've heard it said that wool spins more easily at night, because that's when the sheep are resting, so it might be worth a try. (Seriously, this was a quote from an elderly Irish woman in the notes accompanying the Folkwear Kinsale Cloak pattern; said notes went into considerable detail on how such cloaks were made, starting with shearing the sheep, spinning, dyeing, weaving, and continuing through the actual sewing. Since I don't spin myself, I couldn't tell you if it works or not, but it can't hurt, so give it a shot.)

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since my impoverished punk-rock late teens and early 20s because it was a deadly-square, old-man style that made it dirt-cheap in thrift shops, I stan this particular anachronism.

Mad Men made my preferred after-work duds look kind of costume-y, so I stopped wearing them for a few years, but I ain't retiring them yet. Their cut and fabric and construction are sturdy in a way that almost no modern apparel is. Those clothes (as well as my 40s and 50s vintage stuff) will outlive me.

Nearly nothing I've bought new in my lifetime will endure that way. I eventually learned the virtuous frugality of buying fewer new things of better quality. That's one lesson I'd time-travel to teach my younger self if I could -- along with advising against certain haircuts, and spending a year dating that Brittany Spears lookalike with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. (Good news: she eventually got the right treatment, is happy and healthy now.)

I started with better shoes from heritage American makers like MA's own Alden, having learned from a girlfriend that certain not-too-shallow-for-me-at-the-time women judged my fuckability based on them, and worked up from there. Still, give me good-and-old vs. good-and-new: spin, baby, spin! I'm a dedicated tech nerd and modernist yet often prefer antiquated-at-first-face things. "Old-timey and made to last" is underrated.

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Home depot

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I'll bet the folks at Old Sturbridge Village could help. Their site discusses spinning, so they might have spinning wheels there they maintain for demonstration purposes.

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I'm curious because I find that a lot of lubricants are the same liquid marketed for different purposes. I wouldn't be surprised if a more common lube would work just as well as a specific spinning wheel oil.

Perhaps some chain lubes for bicycles would work? There are dry and wet lubes.

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The two spinning wheel oils I linked in my post above are different - one is described as a "motor oil" and the other as "mineral oil." What they have in common is an unusual bottle with a long needle tip, in order to get the oil into some difficult-to-reach parts of the spinning wheel.

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Oil can be put into any container.

After my post, I did a search for "spinning wheel lubricant" and saw that a number of lubes are used. Allstonian mentioned motor oil, I saw 30W specifically. Oil used for cleaning firearms was mentioned.

It seems like a lube that doesn't attract dust is desirable, and some chain lubes have that property.

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I don't understand what you mean by "doubt it." Of course oil can be put into any container. What I was trying to say was that the dispenser bottle, designed to deliver oil to parts of the spinning wheel that are difficult to reach, seemed to be at least as important as the type of oil. Why exactly do you doubt that?

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Hmmm, not sure.

OK, after looking at this, I think my "Doubt it" was in response to your "Delivery system?" statement. I read that as you saying "the delivery system is the important part, not the actual oil". Maybe that wasn't your intention al all, and yes, being able to get into tight spots with the lubricant is important.

Anyways, hope the OP got his stuff.

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Try Halcyon Yarn in Bath Maine. They have maddes of spinning supplies and equipment.

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Unlikely to find locally, even the crunchy small indie yarn stores don't carry much fiber stuff outside of knitting/crochet.

Might try Fashion Place Basement in Natick since they have a big fibers program.
Or just try sewing machine oil.

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But unfortunately no spinning wheel oil.

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I did not see this until just now on the blog!

The spinning wheel is a late 19th century Saxony style wheel, and when I was little it lived as a showpiece in my grandmother's house and we were all forbidden to touch it. I stayed with my parents for most of 2020, where it had been stored for the past several years in the room I was using as an office, and eventually I began researching how it worked and what kind it was, and asked my dad about it. He thinks it belonged to my great-grandfather, maybe someone further back, but it was very much used for a long time, there's a lot of wear on the parts. We put it back into mostly working order and now I'm planning on learning how to actually spin with it, and my issue has been with the flyer/bobbin spinning independently.

Sadly, in working on adjusting the drive band this week, I loosened the flyer/bobbin from the maidens, and it fell to the floor and a piece of the flyer snapped off. I know it can be glued--my dad fixed a previous break on it. I'll just have to wait until I can get back to my parents' house to get the right kind of glue now.

For anyone curious, I found a New Zealand spinning wheel forum that recommended olive oil, and that actually helped quite a bit, and I already had some in the house. I will eventually be dropping by Mind's Eye though, to see what they might have in stock.

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