Q: How long is the wait? Where am I on the list?
A: My Waiting List is a little under a year long, and is updated as wheels are built and shipped.
Q: How can I try one out before buying? Do you have "tester" wheels you send out?
A: I have a few not-for-sale wheels with cosmetic flaws, used for demonstrating and trying out at events and guild visits, but I don't normally loan these out. Many owners are willing to let the curious (gently) try their personal wheel, so look around at larger regional events, or inquire in the Ravelry forum about a nearby wheel.
Q: My wheel has become difficult to treadle (or seems to skip while treadling), what happened?
A: See the adjustments page. Wood moves with differences in humidity and temperature, from the changing seasons or travel to other regions, and two simple adjustments will address that movement.
Q: I heard about a high-speed Pocket Wheel, can you make me one?
A: No, the higher-ratio drive wheel proved rather finicky, requiring frequent adjustments to work properly. I've not found a solution that allows building reliable higher-ratio wheels, so only build the standard ones.
Q: Can you make my wheel and bobbins out of a different wood than maple or cherry?
Q: Can I supply the wood for my wheel?
A: Possibly, although some woods won't work for some of the parts. I wrote up some examples of semi-custom and custom wheels and their pricing, please ask if you're interested in something special. Bobbins are much easier to customize, I usually stock several different exotic woods for bobbins. If you'd like me to use a specific board for your wheel or bobbins, It will need to acclimate in my shop for several months, so best to discuss this well in advance of your wheel's start date.
Q: Can I visit your workshop and see the different wood and veneer options?
Q: Can I pick up my wheel, to save on shipping costs?
A: You are welcome to visit my shop on Whidbey Island to see wheels being built, to compare the different custom and semi-custom options, or to collect your completed wheel. Note that WA state sales tax will be collected for all in-state sales. Please call or email ahead of your visit, so we can be here to greet you.
Q: Can I order my wheel as bare wood, to stain and finish it myself?
A: Pocket Wheels can be delivered without a wood finish applied. I can include several wood "swatches" of matching hardwood, so you can test stains and finishes before applying to your new Pocket Wheel. You may find my finishing page helpful, along with one or two finishing books from the local library.
Q: If I cancel my order, is my deposit refundable?
A: Each deposit is fully refundable prior to order confirmation. Once I start on your wheel this deposit becomes non-refundable.
Q: How can I send you money? Can I use PayPal?
A: I accept credit cards online through the store, a personal check, money order, cashier check, or cash (although I discourage mailing cash). I do not use PayPal. Credit cards are usually the easiest method for overseas sales.
Q: I'm ordering from outside the USA, can you mark my shipment as a "gift" to avoid import taxes?
A: International shipments will include both a commercial invoice and any required export/customs forms, which will reflect the contents are purchased merchandise and the actual price paid. The recipient will be responsible for any taxes, duty charges or import fees. Please don't ask me to risk my livelihood by violating the laws of both our countries.
Q: Hooray! My wheel arrived! Now how do I put it together?
A: Check out the assembly page. Then read through the spinning tips to get the best performance from your new Pocket Wheel. I suggest reading these tips again after a week or two of spinning on your new wheel. If you have any issues or concerns, please give me a call and I'll talk you through the assembly.
Q: I ordered a Clever Kate with my wheel, but the bobbin rods are missing!
A: The rods for the Kate are stored inside the body, one end of the Kate pivots to access them.
Q: I've seen wheels with different colored flyer drive o-rings, black and amber, which one is right?
A: Prior to Spring 2010, a black rubber o-ring was used on all wheels, which was softer and sometimes left black marks on the big wheel. The newer amber or brow urethane o-rings are designed to last longer without leaving any wheel marks. Replacement rings of both types are available as repair parts.
Q: How do I change the drive ratio? Faster, pussycat!
A: See changing drive ratio. Moving the drive wheel up towards the bobbin is faster, with a 10.5:1 ratio at the outer rim. Moving hubwards is slower, with a 3.5:1 ratio all the way inwards. The position halfway between is about 6:1.
Q: What maintenance is required?
Q: The rubber strip underneath my treadle fell off! Now what?
A: If you need a new rubber silencer strip, it's cut from a small square of plumbing gasket material from the hardware store. The glue I use is a solvent-based rubber cement, also from the hardware store (water-based cement has not worked at all). Before gluing, I suggest scuffing the wood with sandpaper and cleaning the rubber strip with alcohol or acetone (to remove any wax residues that interfere with the glue).
Q: Do you make repairs or supply parts? What if Doug built my wheel?
A: Repairs and repair parts for all Pocket Wheels are available, as well as extra bobbins and accessories. Please contact me prior to shipping your wheel for repairs, as the root cause is often an assembly or adjustment issue.
Q: My wheel doesn't feel quite right, can you give it a "tune-up"?
A: Absolutely, as a standard tune-up I will clean and adjust your wheel to bring it back to as-new operation. For older wheels, I can also replace the hard plastic feet with softer rubber feet, install the amber o-ring (standard speed only) and the magnetic hex-key keeper. There is no fee for this service, aside from insured return shipping charges, and takes approximately 2-3 days to complete after receiving your wheel. Please contact me prior to shipping your wheel for this service.
Q: How long have you been spinning/weaving/knitting/crocheting?
A: I very much prefer wood as a medium, spinning it on my lathe. My dear wife is teaching me how to spin fiber, but I'm definitely still in the beginner phase, making chunky yarn in brief bursts (I try to avoid giving spinning advice at events). My wife is the fiber artist in our family, active in the local weaving and spinning guilds, and thoroughly spin tests every wheel and bobbin before shipment (those are her singles on each of your new bobbins).
Q: What other cool stuff do you make?
A: I make wooden spinning and weaving tools, specializing in adaptive tools fitted for my customers' hands. I also sometimes make replacement bobbins for antique wheels. I create functional bowls and art pieces -- if a bowl won't hold soup, then it's art. Some of my work can be found on the wood page, and in local galleries on Whidbey Island.