Thursday, April 23, 2009

Made Well Co. Vintage Drum Carder



Here she is. My vintage Made Well Drum Carder from Sifton, Manitoba, Canada that I bought from a nice person on Ebay who had purchased it from an antique dealer in Canada. The antique dealer told them that it had been in Newfoundland, and was found in a old barn. I asked around on Ravelry to see if any one has information concerning this beauty. Luckily, my prayers were answered and here's what I learned about it's spinning wheels and such:

Quoted from info I have..Selected Canadian Spinning Wheels in Perspective by Judith Buxton-Keenlyside, 1980:
“The company was started during the depression by John Weselowski, it later became the Make-Well Manufacturing Company and was famous for it hand-operated drum carders as well as it’s wheels. Several of the stylistic features of this wheel were borrowed from the traditional Ukrainian wheels. Wheel and Flyer spindle are arranged vertically. The inner maiden bearing is a hole drilled in the wooden upright. Tensioning is accomplished by raising or lowering a tablet on the outer maiden. Hallmarks of the Spin-Well wheel include a solid drive wheel, pre-cast metal flyer, treadle-system using a fixed treadle bar, footman placement in front of the wheel and provision for extra bobbins.”
Here is a quote from a letter sent to my friend by Florence Feldman-Wood The Spinning Wheel Sleuth where she talks about info on this wheel from a man in Indiana who was in the business of repairing all types of spinning wheels, He states to her:
“These wheels were made in the 60’s and 70’d during the rebirth of the handspinning and weaving crafts. They are well built wheels made of maple and solid core maple plywood. At 27.00 they were prices well below the better New Zealand wheels which sold for 80 to 100 at the time I’ve had two in maple and one in walnut. Paula Simmons used their wheels.”

I also learned from the lady on Ravelry that Mr. Duncan on Duncan Drum Carder told her that this drum carder was the model for for Paula Simmon’s first husband who designed her drum carders as known as Patrick Green's Drum Carders. When you compare the two styles, you can see that they are very similar.


Now, I have not received my drum carding cloth, yet, from Howard Brush Company. As you can see, it is layered wooden wheels that have been glued together, very good construction. If you plan on restoring a carder, like I have, I found this to be the least costly approach. But, I warn you. it will be over $100 to replace worn cloth on both wheels, but compared to $350-$1600, it a steal. I had to replace the belt, as with most vintage carders. I found a lawn mower belt than was nearly the exact size I needed. I simple added a wooden cover to the large drum wheel, and it now works perfectly.

Now, a little disclaimer of sorts, I could be completely wrong, and all the information I have collected be false. I haven't found online sources to support these stories expect what I have been told from numerous people. So, if something here is completely and utterly false, let me know and I can change it. This blog is meant to inform others of the treasures they may also have hidden in their sheds and it's history.

ETA 12/20/2010: Pics of the relatively finished carder with new carding cloth and licker support blocks. Not pretty, but works like a dream.


21 comments:

OffTheHooks said...

I just got one of these too. I phoned Pat Green's and talked to Paula (I beleive) because at first I thought it was one of theirs. She told me it was not, since it has a leather belt. My problem is the tin feeder tray rubs on the big drum. Also one of the little spool/pulleys is missing- so I am trying to improvise with a new metal one from Cdn Tire. In reading your post here, I am also wondering if the big pulley attached to the largest drum is a home-made replacement because it's made out of plywood.

Anyways, thanks for your post, its another piece of the puzzle for me. If you have any tips or resources that you've found helpful, I'd appreciate knowing! -Ashley @ offthehookscrafts@gmail.com

Dawning Dreams said...

Wow! It's nice to see another one. I have the same problem with the tines of the new carding clothe catching the tray. I completely took the clothe off the smaller feeder drum and feed the wool directly onto the big drum with either my hands or a big dog brush. It works fantastic and I only have to pass things through once. Big saver on time for me.

Kathy Put said...

A very late reply here.. I just bought a Spin Well carder today through a kijiji listing. My husband and son are going to tune it up for me. Mine must have been stored well because it still has the original cloth and leather belt.
Very cool to find this blog post.

Anonymous said...

I have both a Made-Well carder and a Spins-Wel wheel that I bought at an estate sale (in Great Falls, MT), and I was glad to find this information on your blog. I also had to replace the leather drive belt (with an automotive belt),and I need to find the $$ to replace the cloth. My SO moved the smaller drum back to prevent it rubbing on the infeed tray, and we have yet to find out what is making the "thump thump" noise on the spinning wheel. But, it's neat to have both and to be able to use both! Sort of like touching history.

Lisa in Montana

missyisobel said...

Just wondering......was your new carding cloth the correct width? mine has just arrived in the post.....and its an inch too wide (my carder is only 7 inches wide). Does anybody know can you cut it long ways?? Thanks!! :) Love to see a pic of your finished restoration

Dawning Dreams said...

Yes, the cloth was a little too wide. I cut it using a box cutter to the right width. Also, I had to leave a gap, between one end when wrapped around, and the other, so there was a spot to take the batt off. It helps to look at another carder before cutting. : )

Lazysue said...

I just purchased a Made Well drumcarder from the 70's. The lady I bought it from said to leave the adjustment of the drums alone. However, one side of the small drum is touching the teeth of the large drum and I want to equalize the gap between them. Also, sometimes the crank won't engage the small drum. (Maybe trying to feed too much fiber in at once?) Can anyone tell me how to adjust the drums? I've tried moving the large drum because it has slots for the bolts but someone on this blog said that the small drum could be adjusted and I'm wondering how since it doesn't have slots. Thanks!

Dawning Dreams said...

I'm not sure how yours is compared to mine, but I simply removed the blocks that the licker drums sit in and made new ones. The new carding clothe I acquired had longer teeth and they kept grating against the tray and the other drum. It wasn't very difficult.

I found perfect replacement pieces at Home Depot where the window and door decorative corners are, and then drilled a hole where I wanted the drum to sit as well as two vertical holes to attach it to the tray again. You have to take some very precise measurements. As you have noticed, it isn't difficult to get a little off.

Ashley- OffTheHooks said...

I would love to see what yours looks like now with the new cloth on it!!

srisang said...

Nice! I'd love to see a review on the hub after some good use. The idea seems good, and solves the vertical dropout problem, but it just makes me a little nervous. Which is kind of funny since most of my bike parts come from the dump...


Wheels for Sale

Anonymous said...

I have just been asked to clean/tune up a drum carder that seems to be a duplicate of yours and Ashley's carders. It's in pretty good shape, but will eventually need new carding cloth. It is painted an orangish tan and has the original cloth and leather drive belt. Seems to be in good shape except for needing a good cleaning.

It only took me about 15 minutes to find your blog when searching for info about this carder. :)

Thanks for posting pictures, too.

Beth

teri-upnorth said...

I have restored a Made Well Drum carder with the help of an uncle who is a wood worker. I saw a couple people mention the teeth hitting the tin feeder tray. I finally found how to fix this!

I loosened the top bolts holding the small roller and "shiv'd" the blocks up a tiny bit at a time until the noise stopped consistently. Basically, just raised the roller.

I used folded business cards because they were handy, but plan to make a more aesthetically pleasing fix.

It has made a huge difference in the intake and my nerves. The noise does get on your nerves after awhile.

I hope this helps someone!

Andrea said...

Very interesting and helpful info. I have a chain drive (like a bicycle chain) drum carder nothing on it to tell who the maker is. It needs new cloth too and of course it is bigger than the ones I've checked so far. Will use your info to check others.

Fay said...

Thanks for posting information about this carder. I just bought one! 2 days ago I searched whole of Canada and US for a used drum carder for processing raw wool faster and with less carpal tunnel than my 2 hand brush-carders, because even tiny little new ones cost $500 and up. Used ones are as rare as Pope's po.... . I found this vintage one that was posted on free internet classified ads in Markham, Ontario the very day I looked! I am now facebook friends with very this nice lady, Laurie Brady who is willing to mail it to me (not recommended by the classifieds ads people). She works with dog wool too - Samoyed! Makes collectors' mohair teddy bears that are sold in Europe. https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?src=bm&u=http%3A%2F%2Ftoronto.kijiji.ca%2Fc-ViewAd%3FAdId%3D466182543%26utm_source%3DFacebook%26utm_medium%3DSocial%252BMedia%26utm_campaign%3DPost%252BTo%252BFacebook&t=Drum+Carder+and+spinning+fibers+-+Kijiji+Toronto+%28GTA%29&v=3

Vanessa T Cunningham said...

Hello!! I am so happy to find your page!! I have a nameless drum carder that is probably early 1900s and metal framed. All the bristles have been falling out for the last 12 years that I have had it so I started searching today for new bristles and I found your blog!! How did you decide what density of bristles you wanted? I spin with mine and I mostly card straight sheeps wool but lately I have been soaking and carding thrums into my batts. Thank you !!

Dawning Dreams said...

I've been lucky to try all the different ratios offered and I found the 90 TPI to be the most versatile. The finer clothe would be great for alpaca or angora if you plan to card a lot of that. The coarser clothe doesn't open the locks as nicely for me. I believe it has a lot to do with personal preference. Many of the older carders have a coarser clothe on them I have noticed. Is there someone around you that you can check out their carder and clothe? It would help bunches to see it in person.

Anonymous said...

Can I ask, if you were to sell your drum carder today, what price tag would you give it? I'm doing some research for a family who is sorting through their mother's estate and they found a drum carder by this same maker. None of them are fiber artists like their mother was so they want to know how much to ask for it. You can reach me at jay-cie@hotmail.com. Thanks!

Anonymous said...



Hello

So nice to see al the posts on the old Carders. I too have found an old Made Well. It is on the original stand. My husband use a wooden spool to replace a damaged roller. It works just fine now.

Alana Maaskant said...

WHERE DID YOU BUY YOUR CARDING CLOTH!!???

Janis Nickel said...

I was looking for info on drum carders and found this site. I just bought an old house and found a MadeWell Sifton Drum Carder in the attic,never used in its original box with shipping slip, dated 1982. I am wondering what its value might be and would anyone like to buy it.
Janis Nickel

Soulever said...

The original SpinWell wheels were actually made in the mid-1930s. The ones that were based on the Ukrainian wheel are not the more common frame wheels made by SpinWell slightly later, which continued to be made by MadeWell. If anyone is interested, there is a group for SpinWell and MadeWell products on Ravelry. I have quite a bit of verified information about these wheels, and Judith based her information on personal observation and measurement of the wheels in the Museum in Ottawa, and known documentation of the blacksmith and his partner who created the wheels and carders.