Purchasing a new spinning wheel is an exciting investment, and one you want to protect. With proper care, your spinning wheel will be a sight to behold and a dream to spin on for decades to come. Let’s learn some ways and tips for finishing your new spinning wheel.
Finishing your new Spinning Wheel
When selecting a new spinning wheel, you will often get the option of purchasing as unfinished wood or finished. The price difference alone can be a convincing factor in finishing your wheel yourself, but also consider the process and how well you will know each of the parts by the time she is assembled. Today we are looking at my new wheel, whom I have named Drina. She is an Ashford Kiwi 3.
New wheels come unassembled, so the first step is to unpack your pieces and ensure that all parts are present and accounted for. Next you’ll need to decide what product you will use to either stain, seal, or wax the wood. You don’t have to stain it, but I would definitely seal it in some way.
This will help to keep the wood from getting dirty looking as well as just general protection. There are lots of products, you don’t have to do stain or varnish.
Some spinners prefer a more natural wood look, which of course varies depending on what type of wood was used to make the wheel. As with any other fine wood project, you’ll want to lightly sand the wood going with the grain (sanding against the grain can create scratches) with a fine sandpaper beforehand for best results. Ashford did send a small bit of 150 grit sandpaper with the wheel but that 600 grit made it feel like butter!
Test the intended product on an inconspicuous spot if at all possible. I am also adding an obligatory disclaimer that you should follow any information regarding such an investment with great caution and at your own risk.
Some examples of great finishing products include:
Stain & Polyurethane
IMPORTANT! Rags with various oils CAN actually spontaneously combust! This is real and should not be taken lightly. It won’t happen in your hand or anything, but as the oils on the rag dry, heat builds up and can start a fire. When finished using oils, lay the cloth flat to dry (driveway is fine) or over a fence etc. Anything to keep the heat from building up as it cures.
I personally chose to use several coats of Danish Oil purchased from my local hardware store followed by Howard’s Feed & Wax. There is no odor, it is easy to apply and dries super quickly. Best of all, it looks great! Danish Oil is such a thin coat that is it not sticky or gooey at all. I was worried that with a stain and poly (or even a stain/poly blend) the finish would be too tacky and could cause issues either with the moving parts or the grooved areas. The Danish Oil absorbed so quickly that this was not an issue at all.
A few more tips:
Try not to let anything accumulate in the grooves of your bobbins or they could have a tendency to slip. Just wipe excess off and make sure it’s still smooth.
If your wheel has any leather or plastic, do not add any varnish to that part.
If staining, you may want to lightly sand, apply one coat of stain, allow to fully dry, lightly sand, reapply the stain and then apply a light coat of polyurethane. Allow to completely dry before assembly.
Finish everything, but no matter what you use, be sure you wipe down the grooves when you wipe off the excess finish. If you don’t wipe the excess you may leave some “gummy” bits that will mess with your tension.
Note! If you have already spun on an unfinished wheel, the lanolin in the fiber (wax secreted by wool producing animals) will prevent a stain or finish from going on evenly. For this reason it is crucial to make sure any lanolin is cleaned and the surface buffed.
In the end, having done it myself, I highly recommend finishing your own wheel as opposed to buying it already finished – but not only to save a few dollars. Think of how intricately you will know the parts of your wheel by the time you sit down to spin with it for the first time. Just beautiful! ♥
Give these tips for finishing a spinning wheel a try, and be sure to share a photo of it with us in the Heart Hook Homespun Spinners group on Facebook!