The Pocket Wheel requires minimal maintenance to provide years of trouble-free spinning.
The bearings for the cranks, the big wheel axle, and the flyer shaft are all sealed with lifetime lubrication, and need no attention.
Once a year, a small dab of lithium grease should be applied to the main axle, to prevent the axle getting stuck inside the bearing race over time. Your neighborhood hardware store sells this grease in a tub like shortening, a toothpaste-shaped tube, or in a spray can – it’s used to lubricate garage door tracks, so you might already have some out in the garage or shed. To lubricate the shaft, remove the right crank arm by loosening the setscrew. Remove the spring and slide the shaft out of the bearings. Smear a minimal amount (a bead about the size of a lentil) of grease on the shaft and re-insert the big wheel, then install the spring and right crank arm.
Two or three times a year (or whenever a treadle gets
squeaky), apply a drop of lubricating oil to the inside of the hole in each treadle tab. The wood will absorb and save most of this oil, making a less
frequent task as years pass. Sewing machine oil, 3n1 oil, gun oil, or spinning wheel oil all work fine (wd40 is not a lubricating oil, and won't work here).
For the bobbin to spin freely, a very light amount of oil needs applied where the wooden ends of the bobbins touch the metal flyer shaft. Apply a single small drop of machine oil on those two spots when you first use the wheel, and again when you first use each bobbin. After that initial time, oil each bobbin perhaps every third or fourth use, but not so much it runs down the flyer shaft. As with the treadle tabs, the wood will soak up this oil, eventually needing oiling only rarely. Sometimes a favorite bobbin “feels” better than another, mostly due to the bobbin holes being polished and well-oiled over time.
The o-ring on the flyer drive wheel may eventually need replacement, especially in drier climates. Current wheels have a non-marking amber urethane o-ring, which is available from me as a replacement part. Older wheels were built with black rubber o-rings, which can be found with the faucet repair parts at your local hardware store, although I recommend replacing them with the sturdier urethane version.
For the standard wheel, use a Danco size #18 o-ring – actual dimensions are 1-3/16” OD x 15/16” ID x 1/8” wall.
For the hi-speed wheel, use a Danco size #92 o-ring – actual dimensions are 3/4” OD x 1/2” ID x 1/8” wall.To replace the o-ring, first locate the flyer shaft collar, directly underneath the bearing in the handle. Loosen the collar setscrew 1/4 turn and allow the collar to slide down the flyer shaft. Loosen the setscrew in the flyer drive wheel, and move the big wheel away from the drive wheel, enough to let it slide to the bottom of the shaft. Pull the flyer shaft out enough to allow the flyer drive wheel to be removed and the o-ring to be replaced.
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