I've been doing a lot of spinning in the past couple years, and when I sat down to my wheel on Saturday afternoon, I realized that it was getting hard to treadle. I started troubleshooting- it wasn't wood rubbing on wood from the treadle and it wasn't the drive wheel sticking since it would spin freely when the drive band was off. I narrowed it down to the flyer mechanism, specifically the bearing hub that carries the back end of the flyer spindle in the back support. The shaft itself was also a bit draggy and the bobbin didn't spin as freely as I would like.
I took the rear hub off and cleaned it by flushing WD-40 through it. It worked really well to hold it at an angle and use the straw attachment on the can to spray in the top of the front and let the WD-40 run through and out the bottom of the front. I did it several times, and the black gunk and fiber dust that came out was incredible. I've never cleaned inside this piece before, so it's likely that this is the first time it's been cleaned in 21 years.
While I was at it, I also used some 0000 steel wool and WD-40 on the flyer shaft to smooth out any gummy spots.
Then, I figured since I had the wheel in the garage, I might as well clean the drive wheel axle. Since it was there, you know. Before I knew it, my wheel looked like this:
I partially disassembled it so I could more easily access the main hub and bearing. I ended up not taking the drive wheel completely off, since the pin through the hub into the axle was really firmly in place and I didn't want to damage anything, but other than that, this wheel is really easy to break down and put back together. I flushed the brass bearing with WD-40 (more gunk! yay!) and gave all the wood a coat of Danish Oil, since it's been a year and a half since the wood has been treated.
This is my favorite part of the wheel. The walnut inlay is so pretty.
So that was my unexpected Saturday. I didn't plan to take my wheel completely apart, but I'm glad I did. Sunday, I had a marathon spinning session, spinning 24 ounces (a pound and a half!) of fine cashmere singles in ~8 effortless hours. The time spent thoroughly cleaning the wheel was well worth it.