Tying a double drive band by yourself, if you’re not a dexterous octopus, can be frustrating. It’s easy to keep ending up with something like this.
Charlie Wong, “spin doctor” and valued correspondent, has devised a method which may help, and kindly agreed to it being published here.
The way I have always done it, which is fairly standard, starts with a loose slip knot or half hitch on the back maiden just to keep things under control a bit. Then over and around the drive wheel, under and around the bobbin groove, around the drive wheel again, and under and around the flyer whorl groove. Release slip knot from maiden and join the ends with a reef knot.
Whichever method you are going to use, start by adjusting the drive band tension so that the flyer is as close as possible to the drive wheel. Most string stretches in use, and you will probably soon need to tighten it! And remember to allow plenty of string! It’s helpful to keep the string you haven’t got to yet (the working end) rolled in a little ball.
Charlie’s system may seem complicated at first, but it’s less likely to leave you with unruly string everywhere. Personally I’d still suggest hitching the end of the string to the back maiden before starting, but undoing this before making the first knot.
Step 1 – Starting near (or temporarily attached to) the back maiden, bring the string over and around the drive wheel, under and around the bobbin groove and lay it over the drive wheel (beside the first circuit of string).
Then take the end you started from (detach it from the maiden if necessary). Tie it firmly with an overhand knot around the string leading from the bobbin groove. You are tying it with itself, not with the other string.
Pull the end from the knot and the string that is to go round the drive wheel in opposite directions so the band is taut. The first stage is now secure.
Step 2 – Go around again, passing around the whorl groove this time. Go past the first knot, and firmly tie a second overhand knot to the string you tied the first knot with (not the string you tied it to – I got this wrong on my first try). The string you tied it with is the one that can slide along the other string.
Step 3 – Cut off the first knot. Be careful not to cut the string it’s tied to – if you are uncertain, test which string is which by loosening the knot a bit and sliding it. It’s the string that moves with the knot that you cut. Then all the strands should stay in their proper places.
Step 4 – Tie the cut end with an overhand knot to the other strand (not to the one it was tied to before) close to knot 2 – closer than in the diagram. Pull the two ends tight. Knots 2 and 3 should now neatly become one, and you can discard the remains of knot 1.
After trimming the ends, Charlie likes to rub a drop of PVA glue into the knot, just to keep it firm and tidy.
Thank you Charlie, and also thank you to my friend Sue who helped troubleshoot the instructions.
And now for something completely different … here is a Rappard Mitzi, seen in Denmark.
Look closely at that treadle –
Isn’t it lovely? Nothing is known of the wheel’s history, though it has clearly had a lot of use. I wish Maria Rappard were still alive, so we could compliment her on her artistry and ask how she came to create this special design.