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Ball Winder FAQ

Click on your question below and you will be directed to the answer.

How do I prevent the yarn from slipping off the ball?

Over the past 9-years of making the Strauch Jumbo Ball Winder, customers have made beautiful balls out of most of the yarns available. But with some yarns it is nearly impossible to wind a good ball. This often occurs with slick yarns like fine silks, superwash merino, microfiber, sock-yarn, or rayon.

The problem can be compounded if the ply of the yarn creates a very round yarn. Because the winder spins rapidly, the yarn will slip off the ball while you are winding making it difficult to create a nice looking center-pull ball that pulls effortlessly from the middle.

Viewing the video to the left may help:

If your slippery yarn still doesn't work well on our winder we recommend a few alternatives.

You can, of course, wind the ball by hand. But..........

If you want to use the ball winder, and you don't mind going VERY slowly, put some stiff paper or a toilet paper core on the winder before you begin winding. When you remove the ball, take the core off with it.

You may want to slip something around the yarn to keep the ball intact until you are ready to use it. To use, put the ball on a lazy kate, a free-standing toilet paper holder, or other device that will let it turn freely. You then wind off the yarn from the outside of the ball.

If you are working with a very fine yarn or if you plan on using the yarn for weaving, winding the yarn onto a large cardboard bobbin with a bobbin winder will allow greater control as you wind from the skein. This will make it much easier to wind your warp with consistent tension, or to wind the bobbins for your shuttles.

Routine maintenance?

Think in terms of housekeeping. Be careful not to allow fiber to be packed around any of the moving parts of your ball winder. As this photo shows, fiber pushing against the bearing will cause the winder to bind. The result is irregularly shaped balls.

What is the proper height of the yarn guide?

The bottom of the yarn guide loop should be even with or slightly above the top of the wooden yarn cylinder support disc as shown to the left.

Why does the base wobble?

Most of the folks we spoke with when we were designing the original table clamp indicated that the table they commonly use has a drop down piece of wood under the table so only the outer lip is available for clamping. Therefore, there is a tendency for the base of the winder to bounce up and down while winding. This usually produces an odd shaped ball.

You have two choices.
1. Upgrade to the new clamp design shown on the Pricing page, under categories, ball winder.

2. For those who want to keep their old style clamp, we have an extension that will extend the reach and allow the clamp to hold the winder securely on the table. It easily attaches to their existing clamp and eliminates the wobble. It also works great for folks with round tables that do not have a wood drop down.

To order specify part number: 7125. Price for the clamp extension is $8.00 (includes shipping).

I've lost some of the little feet on the base. Can I get replacements?

Some of the older winders had feet that were stuck onto the base. Occasionally these would fall of. There is a replacement kit available containing four white rubber feet, installation screws and a drill bit to make the pilot hole. To order specify part number: 7110. Price for the kit is $4.00 (includes shipping).

How can I prevent the red handle from coming off?

There is a new bolt/nut combination, and new red handle, that won't come loose. Comes with instructions and is very easy to install. To order specify part number: 7140. Price for the hardware package is $6.00 (includes shipping).

How do I keep the clear plastic cone from coming off?

If the clear plastic cone loosens, screw it back tight. The top of the black set-screw inside the cone needs to be even with the top of the cone. You can slightly tighten the set-screw with a 1/8" Allen wrench to lock the cone in place. Don't over tighten or you will crack the cone!

How do I pull the yarn off the Swift while winding a ball?

The yarn should flow evenly from the umbrella swift as it feeds through the eye rod onto the ball winder. Keep the winding speed reasonably constant. The yarn should be under a consistent tension, such as running through your hand, as it winds onto the ball winder. If you're forming a misshapen ball (a "bee hive" shape, for instance), hold the yarn tighter to increase tension. Winding too fast may cause the swift to get ahead of the ball winder, followed by too much tension when the ball winder has caught up.

Can I purchase replacement belts?

Yes, you can. They are $9.00 each (includes postage).

When ordering, specify whether it's for the newer 15" long base winder or the older 14" models. These belts for the 14" base will also fit the old, obsolete Fricke ball winders.

Note: To extend the life of drive belts, remove them from the machine when you are finished for the day.

Does the Strauch Jumbo Ball Winder ever need to be upgraded?

Over the years there have been many improvements to our ball winder. Some, shown to the left, include bearings in the upper winding mechanism, a single, long table clamp, and, most recently, incorporation of an engineered polymer drive pulley to insure an even smoother operation.

With the older winders, if they are functioning perfectly, nothing needs to be done. As one says: "If it ain't broke....don't fix it!".

Can obsolete Fricke ball winders be upgraded?

In a word..no. Here's why: Over the years there have been many improvements and re-designs to the Strauch Jumbo Ball Winder:

These many redesigns of the Jumbo Ball Winder make upgrading old, obsolete Fricke winders no longer economical. Practically all of the components of the winder have been changed. It's like upgrading a 2000 car so it functions like a 2017 model. By the time you spend all the money to do it... it would have been less costly to just buy a new car!

You'll be much more satisfied purchasing a new, fully functional Strauch Jumbo Ball Winder.





I have an older ball winder, how do I stop making poorly shaped balls?

If you have one of our winders that used a wooden pulley to support the winding mechanism, check underneath the pulley to see if the black bearing has slipped down.

The top photo shows the slipped out bearing.

The middle photo shows the way it should look. It's an easy fix. Unscrew the plastic cone to remove the entire winding assembly. Use something flat to push the bearing back into the wood.

To prevent it from again coming out, install a small screw as shown in the bottom photo.

What is the guarantee on Strauch Ball Winders?

All Strauch Ball Winders come with the Strauch Guarantee.

Click here to view our guarantees.