Letter Re: Wool Carding Questions

Jim,
I love your blog. Thank you so much for running it in these challenging times. God bless you and your family. It read top to bottom daily.

My family and I are now raising meat rabbits since early April: one California buck and 5 does, New Zealand, Rex and SilverFox. We now have 39 kits and the first litter is weaned and growing at an amazing pace. My wife only bought into this idea after I committed to be the butcher and the final product looked like chicken. Deal. Only the parents have names. The kits are all very cute and we enjoy them for the season they’re with us, but their destiny is a 100 day life span.

I’m studying how to best tan the skins and prepare the pelts for sewing. Brain tanning keeps rising to the surface. My wife enjoys working with textiles so we eventually want to procure a long haired French Angora rabbit(s) that we believe we can “harvest” the hair twice a year, actually spin it right out of the rabbit while it sits comfortably in one’s lap.

I’d like to know more about the tools people use to card the hair “carding”  and spinning and a good loom manufacture and plans to make all three.  I can google to my heart’s content, but I’d rather lean on the huge and more trustworthy survivalblog audience.

Again, thanks for all you do. – J in Colorado

JWR Replies: Carding combs are a must to transition wool from a fleece into “bats”, that can be then hand spun. I recommend that you buy a couple of pairs. As long as you keep the steel tines dry (to prevent rusting), they will last a lifetime. For larger-scale production, a drum carder is a good investment. This is a 2-foot long wooden machine that clamps onto a tabletop. We have one that was made by Ashford of New Zealand.  These are built to last, but be sure to teach your children early on to never reverse the direction that you turn the handle!

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