Having problems, or questions about your spindle? Please browse these FAQs carefully, and if your question is not addressed please feel welcome to contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
Taking care of your spindle and the shaft
1) A slender shaft with a small finale produces a faster spin, the trade off is that wooden shafts are fragile and easily broken. To prevent breaking a shaft we recommend always keeping the spindle in a rigid container with the shaft removed and placed next to the arms, especially if you’re out and about with your spindle.
2) Remove the shaft and lay it alongside the still assembled arms – spun yarn left in place – and store it in a rigid container : lunch box, card file box, tea tin, eyeglass cases, etc.
3) If you love looking at your spindle (who doesn’t?), display it on a high self safely out of reach of pets or children.
Most of my spindles live in their individual hard containers. The shaft is always removed and placed next to the arms when transporting the spindle.
- Help, the spindle shaft is stuck!
Each time a spindle is dropped take the time to test that the shaft will move. The impact acts as a hammer driving the shaft more firmly into the hole, the more times it is dropped and the shaft isn’t gently twisted loose, the tighter it will become lodged.
1) Hold the arms steady in one hand
2) Grasp the bottom of the shaft in the other hand
Warning: Holding the shaft at the tip when twisting to release it is a good way of breaking it!
4) Gently turn the arms while pulling down on the shaft.
If this doesn’t work, put the entire spindle into the freezer for 15 – 20 minutes. The shaft should then be easily removed.
- Dye has rubbed off onto the shaft.
1) Remove the shaft.
2) Rub it well with a hand-sized piece of a white Scotch Brite pad, 7445 — usually found in the automotive sections or stores. If you can’t find any then use a green Scotch Brite pad. Green SB is rougher which is why we recommend the white.
3) If using a Scotch Brite pad doesn’t do the trick then use a piece of 320 sand paper.
Lay the shaft on a towel on a table then roll the shaft with your non-dominate hand with the sandpaper lightly against the shaft as you roll.
Sanding the shaft while it’s on a towel will avoid putting too much pressure on any one point or risk the chance of breaking it. Rotating it as you sand will help you to sand the round shaft more evenly.
- My spindle feels/looks dry, or the shaft is getting grungy.
Mix thoroughly 1:1 parts of lemon juice with avocado, coconut, grapeseed, or olive oil (any natural oil that doesn’t go rancid quickly), and rub onto the spindle and shaft with a soft cloth. Let sit for several minutes then rub off with a dry cloth.
Or, apply a thin coat of Wood Beams from Goodies Unlimited if you have some of on hand. It’s great for spindles. This is what we use for the last coat of finish on all our spindles. Don’t worry about this last bit if you don’t have Wood Beams the juice/oil should be sufficient.
For a grungy shaft: Remove the shaft
Rub the shaft well using a soft, clean cloth dipped into the juice/oil mixture. The lemon juice cuts dirt and grime, the olive oil replenishes the oils that wood needs.
When the wood feels clean and glows gentle rub with a dry cloth.
Tip: Lemon juice and oil is also great for cleaning looms & spinning wheels.
- The shaft spins inside of the hole.
This problem is more common with the non-maple and non-walnut shafts, of which Ed made only a few. The harder, tighter grained hardwoods don’t grip the sides of the holes in the wings the way Maple or Walnut do. The worst offenders are the ebony shafts which is the main reason Ed stopped using ebony as for shafts; slick wood inside of slick wood becomes like a ball bearing. This is why Ed doesn’t sand smooth the inside the holes.
Still, there are times that the walnut or maple shaft is prone to twirling inside a slick hardwood.. In this case push the shaft more firmly into the hole until it’s securely gripping which solves the problem.
Another solution is to do what violinists do with an ebony peg that keeps slipping: rub a pencil around the area that sits inside the hole. The graphite in the lead will help grip the walls of the holes.