The Time Has Come

A couple of years ago, which would be long before I started spinning this spring, I bought a drum carder – or more accurately, a Strauch Petite Drum Carder kit. Why? Well, let’s just say that I dream big. I KNEW I was going to be spinning, and if I was going to spin, I’d read enough to know that eventually I’d want a drum carder, so when I received a generous cash Christmas gift, I invested in my future. I’ve spent two years wondering if I was crazy – until just last week when I met that roving from – well…

Sunday, I managed to excavate the big brown box from its “safely stored” location, and this evening was the big event. My drum carder is officially birthed! I chose the Strauch Petite for both size and price. I purchased the kit version with a brush, rather than assembled without, and it was a good trade off.  I bought it from Copper Moose – an absolutely exceptional dealer, who in addition to providing perfect service, is kind enough to send babies to their new homes liberally padded with generous packs of fiber. I received silk noils, bamboo, mohair, icicle, and some wool, which I’ve managed to temporarily mislay, so I can’t say what it was. I’m eager to put some fiber through my new machine, but first I wanted to share the excitement of putting it together. Besides, I figure there is at least one person out there who will actually need these pix eventually, and if I start playing before I put them up, guess what will never happen. 😉 So, here’s how to assemble a Strauch Petite Drum Carder:

Despite there being what looks like an awful lot of pieces, I had it together in less than 45 minutes. This would have been a bit faster if I’d realized there were more instructions to part one than just the first two lines… The directions are clearly written and complete – if you read them carefully again when you begin each step. The only tools I used were a #2 Philips screwdriver, and a slotted screwdriver, though I have to confess that I used my screwdriver as a light hammer a couple of times. 😉

Step 1 – Attach the back and base to one side with 5 screws. Take it back apart, align the back correctly, and reassemble, using the pretty little finishing washers this time. 😀

Step 2 – Insert the drums. The big one is prickly, but can be handled. The small one is like picking up several hundred razor blades. Happily, it came wrapped in a foam sheet. I decided it was expedient to use that foam for a mitt…

Step 3 – Attach the other side of the frame with the remaining 5 screws, remembering those pesky, but snazzy washers.

Step 4 – Slide the adjustable bearings onto the small drum, then adjust them and tighten the thumbscrews. (I believe this last part is so the small drum remembers who is really the boss…)

Step 5 – Tap a pin through the axle on the large drum with your screwdriver small hammer. Mount the pulley. Spend 5 minutes trying to figure out how to squeeze the retaining clamp in place, then get a slotted screwdriver, place it flush against the pulley and tap it lightly with the other screwdriver small hammer. Pat yourself on the back for having wasted only 5 minutes.

Step 6 – Install the removable tray, adjusting the tray holders. Then be wise enough to store it in the slot under the carder so you don’t have it in the way during the rest of the assembly process. Note later that being this wise also means you took the finished project picture with the tray stowed…

Step 7 – Install the highly recommended brush, with 4 little screws, 4 washers, and 2 wing nuts.

Step 8 –  Install the large pulley the same way as you did the small one, omitting the 5 minutes of frustration. Skip ahead to Step 10 and install the band because you are impatient to do that part.

Step 9 – Screw the threaded handle onto the other end of the large drum axle. Important note: It is totally unnecessary to attempt this step five times. There really are only two ways to screw something down, and counter-clockwise is rarely the correct option.

Step 11 (Remember you already did step 10…) – Run into the house and douse bug bites with anti-itch stuff before you go completely mad!

Step 12 – Step back and admire your new toy tool. Note: If you have a man nearby, he should be suitably impressed with this item, as this is not only mechanical, but it’s sharp and has a danger sticker on it, so be sure to show it off.

Voilá! Wasn’t that easy?! 😀

So, does anyone want to hazard a guess as to the topic for my next post? 😉


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