Spinning on a drop spindle that wobbles can be annoying. The wobble, and resulting imbalance, may well be due to the spindle hook not being aligned properly. What follows is a quick two-step method for checking and aligning your spindle hook. Each step represents a plane of alignment. Round-nose pliers are the preferred tool for adjusting the hook, but you can also use needle-nose pliers with a soft cloth to protect the metal.
Look at the rear of your spindle hook. If the hook is properly aligned, you should see only a straight line continuous with the shaft. If the line is not straight, adjust the hook by pushing it sideways to the left or right with your fingers. If needed, use needle-nose pliers with a soft cloth to avoid marring the metal. Although not as critical, you may at this point check to see if the “beak” is tilted and needs straightening.
Look at the side view of your spindle. Here are profile views of four common hook shapes.
To complete the process of alignment, you must observe the hook while it is spinning. Attach some fiber to the spindle, and spin it as swiftly as you can. Gaze at the hook while it is spinning. If properly aligned, the hook should look like one of these.
If you see "doubles," the hook is improperly aligned and needs further adjustment. Hold the spindle so you see the hook profile (at left). Using your fingers or needle-nose pliers with a soft cloth, push the hook forward or back as shown. Spin the spindle again, gaze at the hook, and recheck to see that the hook peak is uniform in appearance. The hook peak should not show doubles while spinning.
Tom Golding is known for his creative and precision-balanced spindles, spinning wheels, and accessories. He is founder of Golding Fiber Tools along with his wife, Diane, and sons Seth and Obe. He lives and works on a fifty-nine-acre Icelandic sheep farm in Saxtons River, Vermont. Learn more at www.goldingfibertools.com.
This article was published in the Fall 2014 issue of Spin Off.