Where can I find a used spinning wheel?

Clemes & Clemes Wheel© Amelia January 29, 2009

I get asked fairly often, "Where can I find a used wheel?"

First things first ... I am not endorsing any particular seller or venue by listing these, just providing the information. Buyer beware, that is the best policy. Also, buying solely based on a photograph is taking a risk. Get out there and see it yourself, or if it's not by you, find a relative, friend, or associate who can see it in person before it's shipped to you.

If you don't spin yet, take an experienced spinner with you to try out the wheel, too. Even if the seller can spin, this gives you a less biased opinion.

I know second-hand can be quite a bit less expensive than new, but consider also any manufacturer's or store's warranties evaporate that way too. Just sayin'. Especially for power equipment (there are electric wheels, after all). If you're handy with tools and glue, though, your standard spinning wheel may be quite fixable or maintainable.

Little Gem wheel, backI have not used all of these placed myself to sell or buy used equipment; I've visited them all, sold on some, bought on some. Most of my used sales have actually been in person, at shows, in my vendor booth. So that's another place to check for used equipment -- wool show vendors often have an item on the edge of a table that is second hand equipment for sale; and some conferences, like NwRSA's, have used equipment tables. Check with your local guild, someone may be considering selling a wheel; and perhaps your local yarn shop has a bulletin board for used equipment sales.

Here is a list of handy links for used spinning & carding equipment:

FiberArts.org's Classified ad page
Fiber Equipment and Barter's Spinning Wheels & Accessories for sale/wanted
Association of Northwest Weaver's Guilds Classified Ads
Vermont Weaver's Guild Looms and Equipment For Sale

Homestead Weaving Studio's For Sale/Wanted lists
Spinner's & Weaver's Housecleaning Pages - Spinning Wheels
Apple Hollow Farm's Used Equipment Page
The Online Spinning & Weaving Guild Discussion pages
Ravelry's Spinner's Marketplace
Ravelry's Used Tools & Equipment Marketplace
Woodland Woolwork's Used Equipment Page

Check out your local Craig's List or use http://www.craigshelper.com/ to search all of the ones within 250 miles of you (handy, that!)

There's ebay too, though then you have bidding to deal with and commercial suppliers selling new equipment as well. Occasionally spinners will sell an older wheel on etsy. Though there are new ones listed there by commercial suppliers as well, so not all prices are second-hand prices.

And, drum roll please, my big tip ... some of these pages have RSS feeds, but not all of them. Set yourself up with an account on ChangeDetection.com so you can monitor the non-RSS pages for updates.

Spin It, Electric WheelOf course, this works the other way around too -- are you selling a used wheel? these are options for listing it. Pick one local to you, or with the kind of exposure you want.

These websites can also be handy for researching the value of a wheel, for buyers and sellers alike. Consider age, condition, and accessories. I've been told that when selling, offering a price point 30% less than new for a like-new-condition wheel will usually be successful. If your wheel is old, consider discounting from the price you paid for it or its price when it was new. Some wheels gain in value due to their no longer being made, having a high-quality well-respected maker, and availability; others maintain value, and others, well, you know.

I was working on this blog post when the request came for this info on Spindlers today ... Nannette (list mom) added that a number of wheel vendors also accept trade-ins, so will have used wheels. So be sure to check with your favorite local or mail-order vendors too!

Anyone have a Reeves Production Wheel? Treasure it. Not a Schacht-Reeves, those are still being made. I'm talking about an original Reeves. I've spun on one. I'd almost be willing to add an addition to the house to have one ... but they're pricey, so I'm not sure what would cost more, the addition or the wheel. Besides, right now I am suffering from loom lust. (Update 2/25/2010: got the loom 9/9009! working on getting my head wrapped around it still, wow what an amazing piece of equipment!)

It's darned hard to find a good "starter wheel" second hand for under $200 any more, though the occasional $20-$50 garage sale find does still pop up. So we're lucky to have low-priced-new options like the Babe Fiber Starter.

Did you guess it? Yep, I'll be following up in time to come with, Where can I find a used loom? and Where can I find a used sock machine? Stay tuned.

Oh, and the wheels in the photos? past wheels of mine, all now enjoying new homes.

Looking for knitting needles and gizmos? Besides garage sales and thrift/second-hand/Salvation Army/Goodwill shops, Ravelry's Used Tools & Equipment Marketplace often has knitting needle listings.

Do you have a site you recommend for used spinning items? Let us know in the comments ~ thanks.
posted 29 January 2009 at http://askthebellwether.blogspot.com/


EGunn said...

Thanks for the tips! I have been dithering about loom-buying for a while now...what are you selling, and how much? I'm a rank beginner, so not looking for anything too complicated, but I do want something I can grow into. The blogosphere can be so dangerous when you're trying to be good! =)

Unknown said...

I just happen to have a 30" Reeves production wheel, which I bought from Mr. Reeves himself, at MDSW in 1997! I put a Woolee Winder on it and use it for plying. I'm so glad I had the chance to meet him - he and his wife are good people!

Anonymous said...

Wow, really helpful information in this post, Amelia! (Not that I need any more looms, but a smaller spinning wheel would be welcome...)

Anonymous said...

Wow! I was looking for just this type of information. You saved me alot of "finger work". Great article!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips. I have another question - once you find a used wheel and look it over (or have someone else with more experience look at it), how do you determine a fair price? I have found 2 different wheels but don't know if the price that they are asking is fair. Any suggestions?

Amelia of Ask The Bellwether said...

@Anon: re pricing used wheels ... that's a tough one. pre-Ravelry, used mainstream wheels seemed to go for about half their price new. These days, sometimes that, but I also see them often listed on Ravelry at about a 30-20% discount off the current new price, almost regardless of age -- and like new, less than 6 month old, 'it just wasn't the right wheel for me' mainstream wheels going for the price of close to new.

Some wheels demand a current retail or even higher than retail price due to the makers' waiting lists or their retirement. A recent example would be Magnus Drudick wheels (hope I got his name right).

Now, no-name or antique wheels are pretty hard to price. I'd say the low bar on a fully functioning no name wheel would be something in the $200-$350 range, depending on the appearance/state of wheel, number of bobbins, and if it has a lot of extras, possibly more. That said, sometimes bargains pop up in garage sales, estate sales, and on Craig's list. For example, about 8 years ago, I purchased an early Ashford kit wheel (pre-dates the Traditional), complete and in great shape, for $75.

Unknown said...

Hello Bellwether, I know this is a really old post but I'm very curious to know the name of the very first wheel pic....I believe the second wheel is a Little Gem??

Amelia of Ask The Bellwether said...

The first wheel is an original (1970's?) Clemes and Clemes wheel. They are recently back in production again, so you can find new and used ones out there.