Friday, June 29, 2007

Drum Cards and Maintenance

It's been my experience to beware of any product that claims "maintenance free". There is no such thing. It's kind of like a self-cleaning oven...There's always something that you need to clean by yourself. The problem with my Louet Drum card is that it's one of those maintenance free jobs. As I was carding my fibers for my shawl, I noticed some "drag" as I cranked it. It was weird because I tried it with no fiber on it and it still got kind of hung up at a certain point....Well, I decided it needed a closer inspection.
The problem with maintenance free stuff is that it's not meant to be maintained and therefore not really meant to be taken apart. This one came apart pretty easy. What I found was a ton of fiber and fiber dust and grit embedded in the lubricating grease on the gears and it had dried rock-solid. I was kind of surprised at the amount of dirt as I always use clean fibers and keep the card in a box when not in use. Then again, it is 12 years old. All the parts are plastic and wood except for the metal crank and pin. I was afraid to use any solvents to break up the grease, so I tried using a tooth brush and tooth picks. I finally resorted to soaking the 2 small gears in some Dawn dish soap. That loosened up the gunk enough to remove it. Then I re-lubed the thing and put it back together.

So, a word to the wise...If it says it needs cleaning, then it is built to be taken apart and cleaned. If still needs to be done and it's a pain in the butt.

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