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 wool combs
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npdennis@gmail.com
New Pal

USA
6 Posts

Posted - 07/08/2010 :  04:57:00 AM  Show Profile Send npdennis@gmail.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am contemplating purchasing wool combs. Is there a huge difference in the results from using two tine comb vs the 4 tine comb? There certainly is a difference in price. I have been spinning awhile but am just beginning to process my own fleece and I like the process, but need some tools to help.
Thanks, Judy

Ceil
Permanent Resident

USA
1810 Posts

Posted - 07/08/2010 :  08:41:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit Ceil's Homepage Send Ceil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You DO know that you get a different kind of processing with combing vs. carding, no? Combing makes all fibers parallel, while carding makes them "crisscross" some. So, spinning combed fiber will head more towards worsted spun yarn, while carding produces woolen spun yarn (the fiber ends stick out more and give the yarn a "halo"). How the fiber is handled while spinning also determines woolen vs. worsted spun yarn.

Combing removes a lot of "trash", meaning good fibers whose staples are shorter.

I have small pair of 2-tine combs (bought them ten year ago for $90), and imagine that 4 tines would be even more exacting, removing even more "trash".

I learned about all of this, and actually did it, in a class with Maggie Casey (who lives near my locale; talk about being fortunate!). She has a book on spinning, which probably talks about the differences between combinb and carding and explains how to do both. Worth a look. In any event, I would certainly hook up with spinners who have both cards and combs, or see if there is a class in your area to try it out for yourself so that you understand the results of each before putting out a LOT of $$ for combs. They really are an investment!

HTH,

Ceil

Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2366 Posts

Posted - 07/08/2010 :  09:23:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There is quite a lot of difference between 2- and 4-pitch combs (pitch refers to the number of rows of tines). There is also a lot of difference between sizes of the tines, from very fine to medium, generally found in all pitches. The finer the tine size, the finer the wool to be combed on them. This also applies somewhat to the pitch, I find that the 4- and 5-pitch combs are best on long luster wools and medium/coarse wools, such as Wensleydale, Border Leicester, and single-coat Shetland. Combs don't work well on dual-coated sheep breeds, unless you're looking to separate the inner and outer coats.

I teach combing and carding, so I have a number of sets of combs. If you're looking to just invest in one set, I would recommend matching the comb to the type of wool you will be processing. If you'll be doing Cormo, Rambouillet, Merino or other fine wool, I'd go with a single or 2-pitch very fine or fine set. If the down breeds, BFL or Finn or wools on the finer side of medium, I'd buy 2-pitch in a fine weight, or move up to a fine weight. Long luster wools, Border Leicester or Romney, medium wools would work best with 4- or 5-pitch combs in medium weight. I don't like mini combs for much except exotics such as alpaca, llama, angora, or dehairing bison or qiviut. Weight can be another determining factor - the more tines the heavier the combs will be, and even if you're using one clamped down you'll be swinging the other.

Now for some IMHO-only personal recommendations - look for good used combs when you can, they don't come up often but can be a great deal when you find them. Combs are not inexpensive, so they are an investment in fiber prep, be sure you like doing it! I like Lani Combs, which are available online, and they have the advantage of interchangeable heads which make a couple of types a bit more affordable. Don't get Louet mini-combs, I love a lot of Louet products (such as their hand cards, wheels, and fiber) but the mini-combs break easily. The very high-end of combs are Forsyth combs, also available online. You'll pay up to $400+ for 4-pitch combs, but they are really wonderful. I personally love Valkyrie combs, which are back in production after a hiatus, light in weight and what he calls his minis are really large and sturdy enough to be regular combs. The St. Blaise combs are nice as well. I'm not a big fan of Indigo Hound, as I like the woodworking to be a bit more refined and they are heavy, but they do the job. Alvin Ramer combs are good, too, though hard to find in the western part of the US. Still available from time to time though not in production are Peter Teal combs and Meck combs, which are great for the multiple pitch combing. I wouldn't wait for these to come up to invest, but grab them if you see them and can use them.

My last comment (sorry this is long!) is advice to take a class or work for a few hours with someone who has good combing technique and multiple sets of combs. I've recently seen a 1-year spinner buy combs from Craigslist and start using them only to complain that her knee is really starting to get a lot of puncture wounds! Safety is an important issue, and you may not think about the various issues until you've "stabbed" yourself. Also, combs need to be contained where they are inaccessible to very young children, or even older ones sometimes, as sharp things can be irresistable to boys. You'll want to make sure your tetanus shot is up to date, too.

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
ravelry name - sheliaknits
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npdennis@gmail.com
New Pal

USA
6 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  06:08:47 AM  Show Profile Send npdennis@gmail.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sorry, I'm late in responding but I've taken both of your advice and at this point am using a pair of Lani 3 tine combs, loaned from a member of our local Weavers/spinners guild. I like the 3 tines and the feel of the combs, but I think I would prefer a holder-pad for the Lanis. Is there such a thing- not on the web site, I've checked- but I'm wondering if there is another holder which would work for different brands of combs?
Judy
ravelry name- Bilbo
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2366 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2010 :  09:10:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There is a generic holder, I think the peg would fit the hole in most brands of combs. It doesn't come with clamps, but those are easy to get at a hardware store. I don't know who makes it, but I know that I have seen it at several large-ish shops and vendors like Susan's, Carolina Homespun, and the Wooolery.

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
ravelry name - sheliaknits
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La galloise
Chatty Knitter

France
163 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2010 :  1:30:31 PM  Show Profile Send La galloise a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For information a British firm www.winghamwoolwork.co.uk have just restarted making Peter Teal wool combs,with advice from Peter Teal himself.You can see them online in their accessories category .They are expensive about $300.They are made to order and come as a complete set 2, 4/5pitch combs plus the stand they will make them for left or right handed users.Hope this helps
Mary
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La galloise
Chatty Knitter

France
163 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2010 :  06:41:35 AM  Show Profile Send La galloise a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lucky me!
My husband bought me a set of these combs for my birthday,they are beautifully made and work like a dream.
A serious investment ,but I think worth it .
Mary
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2366 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2010 :  1:37:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Congratulations! What a lovely gift to get, enjoy them.

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
ravelry name - sheliaknits
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La galloise
Chatty Knitter

France
163 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2010 :  09:52:36 AM  Show Profile Send La galloise a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thankyou Sheila,
Yes, it was a super gift,I'm really enjoying them.......sorry not to have replied sooner, we've been on holidays in the Ariège
Mary
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hotzcatz
New Pal

22 Posts

Posted - 05/01/2012 :  01:01:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit hotzcatz's Homepage Send hotzcatz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Where does one get tempered steel wire? That and a drill press would pretty much get a comb made. Stainless wire would be nice, too.
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Linda Eastman
New Pal

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2012 :  6:00:42 PM  Show Profile Send Linda Eastman a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hotzcatz

Where does one get tempered steel wire? That and a drill press would pretty much get a comb made. Stainless wire would be nice, too.


I'd also like to know that. I tried to make a pair of combs using finishing nails -- it was a disaster.
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Shalee
Permanent Resident

USA
2046 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2012 :  10:17:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shalee's Homepage Send Shalee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
People who sell combs or process a lot of fleese are going to gasp, but here goes:

About 30 years ago I took a spinning class and then got a fleese that had to be cleaned. I didn't have a lot or money for all the goodies but I did have dogs and a wire dog brush! I washed the fleese, a bit at a time, layed the locks out to dry in the laundry room. Then I put a large square of leather on my lap, and proceeded to take each lock, holding the cut end and laying the lock on the leather I "dog brushed" the tips clean and straight. I made piles of these ready to spin locks and spun some beautiful worsted wool! I still use that dog brush and the same piece of leather to prepare my fleese for spinning. It works for me.

Sharon in NW PA
I always wanted my own library but I didn't realize it would be all knitting books!


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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2012 :  06:10:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Why would we gasp - that's classic flickcarding!

Instructions for building English wool combs are in Peter Teal's book. I bought welding wire in a specialist tool shop (and then never built my combs - in my opinion it's more work than Indigo Hound combs cost.) In addition to the drill press you need a way to grind the wire into points which is long, noisy and possibly dangerous with lots of sparks flying around.

Bye, Klara

http://www.lahottee.info
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