Whether you’ve just gotten a big bag of fleece or need to stock your shop or fiber bin with beautiful batts, your perfect day of drum carding requires just a bit of planning to ensure maximum efficiency. Today, we share our best tips to help you save time before, during and after each carding session. Make sure to download our FREE CHECKLIST to keep your fiber prep on track – click here to sign up for our newsletter & download the PDF!
Wash fiber. Wash and inspect all fibers ahead of time to ensure they are free of lanolin, grease, vegetable matter (VM), etc. In particular, lanolin and grease can cause damage to your drum carder. When in doubt, clean fibers again to make sure that any traces of lanolin or grease are removed (find tips cleaning fleece here). The amount of vegetable matter you remove is up to you, but keep in mind that the drum carding process does not remove VM – so anything that is in your fiber prior to processing is likely to show up in your batts.
Clean drum. If you didn’t clean your drum after your last carding session (and especially if the fibers you want to card are a different color from those previously processed), use the doffer brush to remove any fibers (the proper technique is shown below; click here for instructions on this process).
Check machine parts. Do a quick check of your machine to make sure that there aren’t any parts that need to be tightened or replaced. Consult the owners manual for your model to get a list of what parts to keep an eye on.
Take frequent breaks. Take frequent breaks to stretch or sit down as needed to prevent muscle stiffness or even repetitive strain issues (especially if you have a manual carder).
Keep work area clean. Fluff and fiber can end up everywhere once you start carding! Take care to keep fibers away from your drum carder – especially the handle that turns the large drum – so that they don’t get stuck in any of the moving parts. Clean off dust and debris from the infeed tray or pull-off board on our Petite model in between each batt – you’d be surprised at how much fluff can accrue while you work!
Clean your machine. This is an excellent habit to get into (and saves you time prior to your next carding session!). Not only do you want to remove any fibers that are stuck in the carding cloth of the large drum, you will also want to remove any second cuts, short fibers or neps that are stuck in the infeed drum. Finally, remove any fluff that has lodged in the drive mechanism. Click here for in-depth instructions for cleaning your carder.
Remove drive band. For most of our models, you don’t need to worry about this step – but if you have a Petite, make sure to remove the drive band once you are done carding. This will prevent it from getting stretched out over time and make it last longer!
Store away from children and pets. Make sure to keep your carder away from curious children or pets who could harm themselves on the sharp pins. While not essential, you can use a sheet or towel to keep dust off of your carder when not in use.
Click here to download our drum carding checklist to make the most of your next fiber prep session; if you already get our emails, just enter the address you used to sign up to claim your free download.
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