The Wingham Drum carder is designed and built by us in South Yorkshire, allowing us to create a piece of equipment that has all the features we consider to be the most important. We think that our carder is excellent value without compromising on either materials or build quality, we dont rush the making of them.
Within the design are the features that are not always visible but important. All the shafts rotate in bearings. The drums are easily adjustable to get the carding gap set. Robust stainless steel handle with an option for an extended length handle to make rotation easier.
Constructed from European Beech finished with Danish oil, the Wingham Drum Card cloth is set at 72 points per inch (PPI), the same grade as our Hand Carders. Coarser and finer grades are available, but the 72 PPI is a good balance for the vast majority of fibres that will be used. It takes very heavy use to wear out card cloth and its not something we see often, you'll be using this carder for many years to come.
The main drum measures 20cm (8") in width and has a diameter of 18cm (7"). This means that a final carded batt (sheet) will be approximately 62cm (25")long. A rolag for spinning would be 20cm long.
Unit dimensions: Length 47cm, Width 33cm, Width including handle 41cm, Height 20cm.
Weight: 7.2 kg
The carder frame is individually hand-made from certified sustainable European Beech, high grade furniture quality, finished in Danish oil. The side panels are fixed with machine screws and barrel nuts. More secure than screws and easier to take apart. Screws into end grain of woodwork are not as structurally secure as the barrel nut system.
All rotating shafts are set in Oilite self lubricating sintered bronze bearings, ensuring not only that you get a smooth action on the carder but also that there is no wear leading to misalignment of the drums. These bearings are industrial standard designed to last a long time in high speed machinery so in the drum carder it will last a very long time.
The handle is made from heavy duty stainless steel with rotating wood grip. It's easily detached for storage and there's also the option of a longer handle to make turning easier. The extended handle does reduce the turning effort but increases the arc of movement therefore, increasing the amount of space required.
Included is the packer brush which locates on the frame at the back of the main drum, no clamping, it sits on the frame. In this position when blending it packs the fibres before they pass under the drum. This ensures any loose material placed on the top of the drum when blending is pressed into place before it has a chance to drop off.
Self adjusting drive belt.
Two speed drive, useful to use the slower drive when carding and faster when blending.
Includes the following
Packer Brush, fits to the back frame. It can be lifted off if not required
Cleaning Brush, small hand carder for cleaning the wire. Can also be used for preparing locks prior to carding.
Doffer awl spike, designed to easily slide between the wire and to cleanly lift out the fibre.
Table clamps x 2
Optional: Long stainless steel handle.
This is intended for those who may have difficulty in turning the drum with a standard length handle, as the extra long handle arm increases the mechanical advantage, making it much easier to turn. Please be aware that this will be sent instead of the standard length handle, not in addition.
Washing wool for carding and spinning
When purchasing a fleece always check the strength of the wool. For various reasons there can be a weakness in the staples of the fibres that cause fibre breakage making it no good for carding and for spinning as the subsequent spun yarn will be weak.
Take a staple from the middle of the fleece ( a full lock of wool) grip tightly at each end pull hard and flick the bunch of fibres with your second finger. If it breaks it is faulty. Try a couple of staples, Any seller should be willing to allow this level of inspection
Next check that the fleece pulls apart easily. Some fleeces can be felted on the skin side ("cotty") and whilst they look good they are extremely difficult to work with, best avoided.
It is important to only use clean fibres when carding. Working with greasy fibres only causes problems. Greasy fibre sticks to the wire and does not get opened up sufficiently and results in a poor quality carded product. Dirt builds up on the wire and reduces the efficiency.
Fibre has to be washed at some point so better done at the start of the process. Consider that wool can be holding 40% plus dirt and grease. If washed after carding when spun or felted 40% of your work goes down the drain. Better to get rid of this at the easy washing stage rather than waste muscle energy.
In hand-spun yarns left greasy there can be fine particles of dirt trapped in the twist which reduces the quality of the product.
How we wash;
Sort out and throw away, compost heap, any badly soiled fleece from around the edges (dags). If you wish you can separate the fleece into the different qualities. If working with just one fleece you may end up with many small lots and not enough of one grade to do anything with. Often its just two grades are good enough or the whole lot together depending on your project.
There are many similar methods, this is how we have done it for the last 40 years.
Depending on the quantity of wool give it a cold soak overnight. Ensure the container, sink, bowl or bath, is deep enough for the wool to float. The heavy dirt will sink to the bottom. Remove the wool and drain. Add warm water slowly bringing the temperature up to hand hot. Don't rush this stage as hot water shock and heavy agitation will cause felting, Add detergent, either a specific wool wash or washing up liquid. Soap flakes can be used if fully dissolved into a solution. If added direct to the fleece soap flakes are very difficult to rinse out later.
Gently agitate and squeeze, lots of dirt will appear. Give a gentle rinse and repeat the washing process until the wool is clean. Some fleeces are quick to wash others take several washes.
Spread out to dry. It can be put into a spin dryer, not a washing machine, to remove excess water.
Even after thorough washing a very small percentage of grease will be left. This tiny amount is enough to give the fibres lubrication in carding. Old washed fleece does tend to dry out and may need a very light oiling, a tiny amount of spray cooking oil very lightly applied is an easy method