I designed this drive band cord aiming to fit any antique spinning wheel, including the CPWs, or Canadian Production Wheels, be it small or large, of lighter or darker wood.
This drive band cord is just the right thickness to fit an average groove, and has been tested on a few CPWs, and it is hand spun. I used 2 bobbins of 8/4 cotton and 4 bobbins of 20/2 worsted wool. The cotton yarn provides solidity, and the wool yarn is there for elasticity. Thus, your drive band will be solid enough to last and will not stretch with time.
The advantage of a hand spun drive band vs a cotton or hemp drive band is that it has greater elasticity, which makes your tension adjustments smoother and more precise. It also has better aesthetics compared to industrial rope bands. Plus, if you join the ends in a due manner (please, see below for details), you will have no knots or seams but a beautiful joint known as “splice”.
The drive band is sold by meter. The lengths listed are supposed to satisfy the most common demands. Should you need a length that is not on the list, please do not hesitate to contact me for a custom length. To know what length you need to order for your spinning wheel, you have to take a measurement directly on your wheel. To give you an idea of what length you might need, below are some approximate common drive band lengths in relation to the wheel diameter. This is the length you choose when placing your order.
EXAMPLES OF DRIVE BAND CORD LENGTHS FOR ANTIQUE SPINNING WHEELS (based on the information shared by my customers):
23” double drive – 413 cm (4.52 yards) plus extra for splicing = 5 meters
28” double drive – 492 cm (5.38 yards) plus extra for splicing = 6 meters
30” double drive – 549 cm (6 yards) plus extra for splicing = 6.5 meters
HOW TO MEASURE THE DRIVE BAND LENGTH TO PURCHASE FOR YOUR ANTIQUE WHEEL
You will need to measure the approximate length of your drive band and then to add about 1 meter (1 yard) to this length.
1. Adjust the tension of your spinning wheel to approximately one quarter away from its lowest position (the lowest position is when the mother-of-all is at its closest to the wheel).
2. Make sure your bobbin is on the flyer.
3. Take a piece of a non-stretchy yarn or cord (for example, a cotton yarn or a rope that does not stretch) of the approximate length as per the length indications above (ex. if the wheel of your double drive spinning wheel measures 28”, take about 6 meters of such yarn or rope).
4. Double drive spinning wheels: place this cord in a double loop around the wheel with one loop over the bobbin pulley and the other loop over the flyer whorl. Single drive spinning wheels: place this cord in a simple loop over your wheel and a whorl.
5. Tighten the cord on the wheel and make a knot (no matter where and no matter how, as you are measuring simply the length you need to purchase).
6. Take the cord off the spinning wheel, mark where the knot is, undo the knot and measure the distance between the two marks. Add about 80-100 cm to this length (for subsequent splicing, see below), and you shall obtain the length you need to purchase.
BEFORE INSTALLING YOUR NEW DRIVE BAND, it is very important to put your new drive band cord under tension for a minimum of 24 hours just before you measure it precisely to know where to splice. To do so, adjust your tension position to its lowest (closest to the big wheel). Put the cord on your wheel like you would normally do and make a solid bowknot. Now, adjust your tension to stretch the drive band cord quite strongly and leave it to rest.
Once you have your stretched drive band cord in hand, you will have to join the two ends in a seamless manner and at a right place. Such seamless connection is achieved by splicing the ends of the drive band (like in the marine science). You can see an example of a splice on the picture before the last one: the splice is where the drive band is slightly thicker. A detailed tutorial on how to splice is now available on my YouTube channel. Splicing is not difficult at all, but requires to be seen at least once so that you can do it yourself correctly and effortlessly.
Please, note that there will be a short length of a drive band cord included in your order for training purposes.