Spindle Maintenance

So you’ve got a spindle and you’ve made some yarn, now what?  Do you just put it up on your shelf or in your project bag when you’re not using it?  We talk about wheel and drum carder maintenance, because these tools have moving parts, but we don’t talk nearly as often about spindle maintenance.

Spindle maintenance, since many are made from wood, is just as important, especially if you put a lot of money into custom spindles!  Without proper care, your precious spindle could warp and lose its balance or crack.

I treat my spindles with spoon oil.  My favorite recipe comes from a friend and is a mixture of one part beeswax, four parts mineral oil.  I rub the wood down until it soaks up the oil and then wipe off any excess.  This helps protect the wood from water and humidity damage.  An untreated spindle runs the risk of warping with the change of humidity levels and there really isn’t a simple fix for a warped spindle.

Some of my spindles have a clear coat or protective layer.  I like to also wipe these down with a smaller amount of spoon oil to clean off any dirt and, if there are any scratches in the clear coat, it helps nourish the exposed wood.

If my spindle has a hook, I like to check from time to time to make sure the hook is secure.  Some of my spindles are thin metal tahklis as well.  For these, I give them a test spin before I put them away to make sure I don’t need to straighten the shaft.

Finally, I like to store my spindles vertically, either hanging from the shaft or on the tip, not leaning.  Vertical storage also helps prevent a spindle from becoming unbalanced, as it doesn’t put pressure on one spot on the whorl and shaft.

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