Tension

Let’s talk a bit about tensioning for scotch tension. In specific lets talk about the band materials and the springs themselves. There are so many different band materials and so many different types of springs. You can have a remarkable number of combinations. Then to think about the wheel/bobbin itself and there are certain materials that work better with others….and its all a personal decision.

Let that mull over for a bit.
Dizzying the number of things that one might have for their wheel. I’m going to talk about a few that I have liked and to talk about others that you might want to experiment with. It’s all about getting the right tensioning for you and how you spin.

SPRINGS
extension_springs
Look at all those options. Just because your wheel came with a particular spring, it doesn’t mean that you can’t change that out for something that works better for you. I personally like to change mine out for hair elastics.
7_goody-ouchless-hair-elastics-neon-29-count
My favorites are the ones that don’t have a metal piece and aren’t really thick. Just plain nylon covered hair elastics. Why do I change them out? I like them. I find they’re a little lighter, a little more sensitive and they give me the feel that I want. They’re just not as stiff and I really like that in my tensioning.
suzie

Another thing you can do if you find you need a little more play in your tensioning is to add a second elastic or spring. Certain wheels like the Joy from Ashford already come that way but you can cut in and add another elastic/spring on the opposite side of the one that’s already there.
fricke
This is my Fricke wheel and you can see that one of the springs is pretty well shot. When your spring looks like that, it’s time to get something new in there. The tensioning on this wheel is only still working well because there is a second spring in there.

There will be some wheels that you just cannot add a second spring like the Sidekick and the newer Matchless from Schacht.
sidekick
You can change out the spring for a different spring or a hair elastic but there really is only place for one. So in cases like this, or when you just aren’t happy with the braking, then you can also change out the band itself.

BRAKE BAND
Most wheels come with a material that the manufacturer finds optimal for their wheel and the materials really do range quite a bit. Nylon, fishing line, hemp, cotton… This means that someone has felt the wheel works best with one of these materials but that doesn’t mean that it works best for you with one of these materials. You can change that out and in some cases, the wheel will work better for you when you do. In some cases, it may not and you want to go back to the old manufacturer settings. This is a trial and error sort of thing. Gather some materials, spin 4 ounces or so (if you don’t immediately loath it) and figure out what works for you.
elastic
That thread I’m holding in my hand is elasticized thread. This is some fun stuff to have on hand. I have several cones of it and a couple of smaller spools like this. My love of this stuff is another post for another day. I’m bringing it up because it makes a pretty decent brake band. I haven’t tried it on the Sidekick but I have on the Louet Julia, Louet Victoria, and the Fricke wheels. If you have some on hand then add this to your box of tension experimentations.

As always, if you have a question, ask.

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