Frequently Asked Questions
Our company consists of a father and son team and our last name is on just about every item we make. That means something special to both of us, and we do not put out any item that we felt does not represent our family or the quality of work that we are capable of. We guarantee our products to be free of manufacturing defects, and we work with our customers to ensure they are happy with both the form and function of any product we make.
On the rare occasion that you are unhappy with something you have purchased from us, you may return it via pre-paid freight. A credit will be issued minus a 25% restocking fee.
The wheel ratio of a spinning wheel is that of the groove diameter of the flyer whorl to the groove diameter of the drive wheel. For example, our Modern wheel has a 16” drive wheel and 2.9” flyer whorl, giving it a 5.5 ratio. A higher ratio will create more twist per revolution of the drive wheel. Both of our wheels are capable of spinning from laceweight to bulky with the supplied ratios.
Double drive wheels have virtually no slippage, so they have true ratios. In normal usage, Scotch or Irish tension wheels have a considerable amount of slippage – up to 50 percent or even more on large ratios – so the ratio is theoretical. The higher the ratio, the more slippage will occur.
When comparing double drive wheel ratios to Scotch or Irish tension wheel ratios, a Scotch or Irish tension wheel will spin similarly to a double drive wheel with a ratio that is half the ratio of the Scotch or Irish tension wheel. For example, a Scotch or Irish tension wheel with a ratio of 10 will spin comparably to our Modern Wheel with a 5.5 ratio.
We are happy to supply parts for our Modern and Traditional wheels. In the past we have repaired all makes and models of wheels, including making custom flyers and bobbins, but at this time our backlog of work is too great to take on any more.
Card clothing is used in a variety of applications, many of which have nothing to do with the fiber arts. The card clothing we use is custom made for us to our specifications and closely resembles what is used in large mills. Each tooth is sharpened to a point and the cloth comes in narrow strips called fillet, allowing for a very uniform installation on the drum.
Unfortunately, we have found that most – if not all – of our competitors use an off the shelf cloth with blunt teeth that come in large sheets. Sheet cloth, while cheaper than fillet, cannot be installed as precisely on a drum as fillet. This leads to variances in the diameter drum and as such, the spacing between the lickerin and swift on a carder with sheet cloth generally needs to be larger than one with fillet.
More importantly, if the teeth on a drum carder are not sharpened, they will create neps and noils. When a single fiber approaches a carder with a sharpened tooth, it will either go to the left or the right of that sharpened tooth. When a single fiber approaches a clipped or blunt tooth, it can either go to the left, right, or sit on the flat spot of the tooth and make a nep.
For most fibers, a business or credit card thickness is the desired spacing. When carding very fine fibers such as cotton or down fibers, the drums should be as close as possible without any of the teeth touching. The spacing on our Standard series carders is set in our shop and cannot be changed. The spacing on our Elite Series carders is easily changed and can be adjusted as often as desired.
Absolutely. We are happy to tune-up – that is, assess, adjust, and – clean any Clemes & Clemes drum carders. If your carder needs a few parts or is ready for refurbishment, we will provide a quote before proceeding with any work.
For brands other than our own, we charge a $75 fee tune-up fee. That fee is applied to any parts or labor if further work is required. It is imperative that anyone bringing another brand of drum carder to us for repair or tune-up understands that despite our best work, they will never function the same way a Clemes & Clemes drum carder does.
Due to the vast differences in the carding cloth that we use and the carding cloth other drum carder makers use, we do not re-cloth other brands of drum cards. We do make custom urethane drive belts for most carders, including Patrick Green.
The carding cloth is the most important part of a drum carder. It is also the most expensive to replace and therefore has the largest influence on the cost of a used drum carder. If possible, ask the owner where the carder has been stored. Our preference is for a temperature and humidity controlled setting. Continued exposure to extreme temperature, humidity, or both can do serious and often irreparable damage to a drum carder, including creating rust on the teeth of the carding cloth. A light amount of surface rust can often be removed by carding several batts of nylon or similar synthetic fibers. If the rust is heavy enough that any pitting is visible, the card cloth will need to be replaced.
If any teeth bent in a way they should not be, individual teeth can be gently moved back into place with a needle nose pliers. However, if a large section of teeth is bent - IE, a heavy object was dropped on the carder or the carder itself was dropped - then the carding cloth will likely need to be replaced.
To check the health of the carding cloth (it never hurts to ask if you can card a batt of clean, well-washed fiber before purchasing) , press a fingernail into the card cloth foundation (be careful not to poke yourself on a tooth) at the doffing seam. If it is hard or brittle, then the card cloth has dried out and will likely need to be replaced. If it is soft and has some give, there is most likely some life left in the carding cloth. Carefully place a fingertip on some of the teeth and wiggle from side to side and front to back. If the teeth are stiff and do not move freely then the carding cloth will likely need to be replaced. If the teeth move easily, then it is likely your card cloth is in good shape.
If the carding cloth will need to be replaced, then it is important to compare the cost of a new carder with the cost of purchasing a used carder, plus shipping from the buyer to you, from you to us, and back to you, plus the cost of refurbishment.
We don't recommend carding greasy wool on a drum carder. The lanolin will break down the rubber backing on the carding cloth and greatly reduce the working life of the carder.
If you have never scoured fleece before, Henry's Method for Washing Wool is a great place to start.
If washing wool sounds like too daunting of a task, or you lack the space required, Good Clean Fiber provides spinners and felters with washed, ready to process fleece.