Tag Archives: wool picker

Wool Picker: Failure And Success

Yesterday I finished a wool picker that utilized 3 1/2″ nails set at 90 degrees to the cards on which these were mounted.  While the opposing teeth were set closely, this did not work, but only seemed to roll the wool back and forth among the various sets.  I worked all day on this and went to bed disgusted.  Some of the wool pickers on the internet seemed to only have vertical barbs.  This doesn’t work…


Today I cut new wooden cards.  Then I used a 1″ grid from the internet to set out a pattern on it, including an offset grid at 1/2″.


In order to drill at an angle dimple the grid at each mark first…this will allow the angled drill bit to bite where you want it to.  Here’s my 45 degree template that I made up using scrap plywood/lumber and a small drill press.


This is the result on the wooden cards…


Top cards and bottom cards need to be this far apart if possible > <…


…I may have to adjust these a bit better, but they seemed to work well as is.  The nails are sharpened on a low-speed grinder/polisher.  They are very sharp.  And it worked well!


Here’s the machine at work…

There’s a lot of difference between the loft of picked wool (top) and unpicked wool (bottom)…


And there’s the dirt and dander left behind from picked wool/fibre as well….


Wool Picker Begun

After reviewing many different types of wool pickers I began to put one together. I liked the models that were longer, open ended, and with higher sides.



This box is constructed of 5/8″ plywood. It is 4′ long. The sliding top is approximately 1/3 the length of the box, 16″. Rather than dado a groove by which the slide is guided, I used 1″ lumber (thickness), 4″ lumber on the top and 8″ lumber on the bottom. The dimensions are 11 1/2″ wide and 12″ high sides, which coincided with the partial plywood sheet that I had.  At either end at the top are all-thread rods that serve both to strengthen the box as well as to fine-tune the distance along the length of the slide.  This allows it to experiences the least amount of play and to function most smoothly. As of tonight it works flawlessly. I also got the last boxes of uncoated common nails in the region, 3″ and 3 1/2″.  Tomorrow I will finish this picker by sharpening the nails and adding them to cards, and then attach these on the slide and the floor.  I am thinking that I will also add hardware cloth to the floor of the box to allow some debris to fall through during the picking process.  This box is made entirely from scraps and used hardware that I had on hand, only the nails were purchased.

wool picker frame
adjustable all-thread rod, slide, and slide track
3 1/2″ uncoated common nails

Wool Picking

This picker looks to be about a foot high, a foot across, and two-and-a-half-feet long.  I like the open ends on it, and its depth and length.  I think I’ll build one today as I await cream of tarter for mordanting to arrive from town tonight…