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Combing Wool

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I decided to do this post to try and show ‘how’ I comb my wool with my diy combs. I find it’s easier to comb sideways. It keeps my fibre on the combs and it seems to do a nice job too!

After a little comb with my dog rake, I place a bunch of locks onto the comb, so the tips are farthest from the tines. I then comb them off, onto the moving comb.

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Since I HATE waste, I save all these bits in another pillowcase. I suppose I could use them in lots of ways…carding (if I ever try that), felting, needle felting, stuffing…

Then I comb back onto the stationary comb…

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I usually give the last bits a bit of a pull…to get as much of the fibre as possible…

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You can continue this ‘off, on’ as many times as you like. I usually just do two passes (one off, one on). The more passes, the more perfect the fibre becomes but the more waste as well. It depends what you like.

Next, I pull off the combed top, as evenly as possible. I don’t have a diz and frankly, am not planning on getting one. I have no trouble pulling off the top and then drafting it out evenly to spin.

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Give it a little twist and move my hand up to the comb again…

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When I’ve pulled all I can from the comb, the rest goes into the waste bag…

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The finished combed top….

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I’m spinning some of this right now, for lace…

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I hope this post was at least a little helpful 🙂 Have a great day!

Did-It-Myself Combs!

They’re all done 🙂

The ‘how to’ is HERE

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I’m happy with how they turned out!

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I even managed to get the handles on a slight (and shockingly almost uniform) slant even though I was working with the drill freehand, LOL.

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I think I love tool making almost as much as knitting – maybe more!

Have a great day, my spinning wheel is calling…

One More Time!

I’m loving the wool combs I made a little while ago.

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They’ve successfully combed most of my shetland fleece and about 450 metres of two ply sock yarn (for which I used the blended superwash that I played with at first).

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They are great!

But.

They aren’t really that pretty. Or that big. More minis than anything I think.

And I really, REALLY wanted to try to make a better set! So, I did 🙂

I bought oak boards at the hardware store – less than $10. One is 1/4″ x 3″, the other is 1/2″ x 3″. I cut, from each, two 5.25 inch lengths – giving me two thicker ‘fronts’ and two thinner ‘backs’.

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I wanted nice handles and couldn’t find anything that I liked at the hardware store for a decent price. SO! Waste not want not right? Went to the second hand store and found two bbq forks with really nice solid wooden handles. Using a hacksaw, I cut the handles about a half inch down the steel prong. I’m planning to drill a hole the size of the prong and use the epoxy to cement it.

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I marked the holes 1/4″ apart and the rows 1 cm apart with a 3/4″ ‘buffer’ of undrilled wood along each side. Since I offset the nails and decreased the amount each row, I ended up with a triangle shaped bed and wanted to get rid of the extra wood so I trimmed the extra off with my saw on the backs and the fronts.

I sanded the pieces clamped together to make sure they were exactly the same sizes and shapes. LOL, ok, close to being exactly. I’m not too picky.

I made a plate out of a scrap of the thinner oak and drilled a sample of each drill size I would use, drilling as straight as possible. I used this as a sort of ‘jig’, to help me drill straighter holes.

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I used three rows of nails so I needed two different bits for the nails themselves and bits to countersink the heads as well. I also needed a bit that I’ll use to insert the handle. (Oh, and one to countersink the handle’s wooden base but I forgot at the time)

The first two rows of nails were 3.5 ” finishing nails that I bent slightly using a wrench and a pair of plyers. I measured about 1.25 ” down each nail as a guide of where to place the nail in the wrench, bent the nail with plyers and then compared it to a tracing of the correct shape. I trace the top and bottom (both sides) of the nail for accuracy, up to the tip.

The third row of nails I made shorter, using 2.5″ finishing nails.

Ah, this time I used a file to smooth the nails…

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I drilled the holes in an ALMOST straight line, lol…took me a few minutes to come up with the best idea…

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After tapping a nail in each mark, it was still hard to keep the drill from ‘wandering’ so I used popsicle sticks and marked three marks 1/4″ apart and drilled, as straight as possible – making a little template. I did try more than three but the popsicle stick broke every time. And yellow seems stronger than any other colour. Weird.

By lining up the first hole with the last drilled hole I could easily keep it all neat and even. The templates did wear out fast and I had to make new ones a few times but I was really happy with the results. Maybe I should have made a template out of a scrap of the thinner oak, I’m thinking in retrospect.

I stained/protected…(about another $8)

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Placed the nails, after drilling the holes a little larger at the top, to countersink the heads.

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I used the styrofoam (out of an old box in the basement) to hold the nails in place…it helped SO MUCH to keep the bends in the right place and to space nails that wanted to drift together. The epoxy helps everything hold together in the end.

I don’t have pictures of the epoxy stage (too busy-it’s 5 minute epoxy and dries in 5 minutes or so, lol) and I’m only halfway done this set…

I’ll update when they’re done…I can’t wait!

The Second Set

I wanted to try to make another set of wool combs.

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This time, I used some scrap needleword framing wood (no idea what type but it seems really light) with bamboo handles (from the dollar store wooden spoons) and again the 3.5 inch finishing nails but I bent them this time.

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LOL, not easy but possible. I used a large wrench, a set of pliers and traced the original on paper to match the rest with.

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I used the 5 minute epoxy again and left them to set for almost 24 hours.

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They seem to work a bit better than my first set because of the curved ends. Really happy with them!

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They Work Great!

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Some small blended rovings? tops? whatchamacallits? that I made with my handy homemade wool combs — playing last night, you know, it was impossible NOT to try them out a bunch of times, lol.

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They sit nicely in my hands and everything – as a first attempt I am thrilled with them.

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Oh, yeah, the paintbrushes ARE dollar store crappy and they aren`t going to work for this wool comb project. I`m keeping my eyes open for some better quality ones.

Since I Don’t Have An Extra $120

I’m working on building my own wool combs!

After much research (looking at wool combs on the net, different styles and types) and after reading these instructions , generously provided by a like minded soul —

There was the first attempt…

I tried using some old pine I found in the basement but it was too weak and tended to crack along the lines of nails – not to mention that this is my very FIRST time using a drill, lol, so there was a lot of learning to drill straight!

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Not really very pretty. I scrapped the first few.

I regrouped. So far I had spent zero dollars since I got the nails (3.5 inch finishing nails) at Canadian Tire with Canadian Tire money (love that) and didn’t want to spend a lot on wood.

So! My husband and I decided to check the dollar store and found these lovely things…

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5 minute epoxy – $1
2 4″ paintbrushes – $2 (I’m thinking these are fabulous candidates for comb-i-fying, great handles, great width and I think I can drill through the metal sleeve which I’m thinking will help support the wood. We’ll see!)
4 bamboo sets of utensils – $4 (The spoons will go in the kitchen and the spatulas are what I wanted for the first set of combs)

So, I’ve spent $7 (and I have four new wooden spoons) in total!!! Very exciting, lol.

Ok, and a day and half but I’d be knitting anyways 🙂

Here are some pictures as it went…

I drilled holes with centres approx 1/4 inch apart and a second offset row about a 1/4 inch away, in two of the spatulas (sanded it down when it was done but the bamboo drills beautifully)…

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I fitted the third and fourth spatulas to fit underneath the nail heads, held by epoxy (maybe I should have added screws, we’ll see in time). First I used a larger bit to make halfway holes that the heads of the nails could sit in. I clamped the two pieces together and marked the holes first.

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I then fitted the nails into the holes, cut the handles off the third and fourth (backing) spatulas, on the marked lines, and mixed the epoxy in an old cup. I spread a thick layer of epoxy onto the nail heads and their side of the first and second spatulas and fitted the backs on. I could have done a better job but I’m giving myself high marks for a first try 🙂

Now they’re clamped and drying for a bit…

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See the holes on the far one? I got a little excited it was going so well and drilled a little too far on that backing 🙂 I’m thinking it will fill in nicely later with putty, if I want to go that far.

And VOILA! The finished combs, yet to be tested on actual fibre…

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I may yet get fancy and use the sander to smooth them out around the joined edges – maybe even stain them 🙂

Next up…the paint brush wool comb project 🙂