The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

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Tools (remember tools… I love tools) need to be maintained. Knives, cameras, cars, wooden floors, etc., all require some level of care to not fall from disrepair to decrepitude.

Most have levels, and schedules. Kitchen knives want honing, on a moderate basis, but eventually need to be sharpened*. Cars need to have the oil changed, and the radiator topped up, lest you need to get the head decked, or the valves replaced.

Spinning wheels fall somewhere between knives and cars on the maintenance schedule. Schacht, in the manual for my Sidekick tells me to oil it much more frequently than I think it needs it (IIRC, after every two hours of use, which would, even with the most miserly of oilings, would soon have stains on my toes, and treadles.

My Matchless has fewer points which need oil (and they say not to oil the flywheel axle at all), but the collet pins connecting the footmen to the drive shaft want a little, every so often, or they start to squeak. When that starts to happen I also give the arbor which holds the maiden (which is the upright piece of wood holding the gimballed bearing the flyer-orifice passes through) a little wiggle.

Why? Because the wobble of the treadles, and the transmission of linear reciprocation from the crankshaft, works the rest of the frame, and the bolts locking it all together start to get a little loose. It’s not sudden, and if I didn’t wiggle the frame I might not notice; until, as with a car for which one hasn’t maintained the fluids, a sudden lurch would come as the tension required to hold all together failed and something actualy breaks.

*the steel which comes with most knife blocks doesn’t sharpen, it hones. If you examine the edge of a knife under a microscope, it’s a *very* fine toothed saw. As the knife gets used the teeth deform. Given the scale it doesn’t take much deflection to increase the surface area by a a huge amount. The steel polishes the teeth smooth again, and the knife feels sharper. It’s not. It’s just a lot closer to the edge which was put on the last time it got sharpened.

Eventually the damage to the teeth gets to the point the steel doesn’t seem to help; that’s when you need to put a new edge on it. I recommend doing it some time before that.

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