handmade wool picker

A few weeks ago I received The Woolery’s newsletter and it told me I needed a wool picker. I agreed. Not because I had been wanting one for so long and now was my chance, but because The Woolery brought it to my attention that I did not have one. It’s one of those things where you may have been needing it all along and you didn’t even know it! Or I just like gadgets and it’s been a while since I got a new one.

Even though The Woolery brought this deficit to my attention, they did not get any money from me. Instead, I bought plans for a box picker from Minnetonka Works. It cost $5.95 and the materials ended up at $27.50, which is much less than buying one already made. And I have an awesomely handy husband, who is just sitting around waiting for me to give him things to do (not really).

poplar wool picker
Poplar wool picker

We got the whole thing done in two days. I won’t say it was easy and maybe not altogether fun, but it ended up beautiful! And I helped — drilled holes, sanded, hammered nails, applied linseed oil, measured pieces. As for the functionality of it, I think it works. Honestly, I am not terribly familiar with these things. When the paddle goes back and forth, the fiber gets pulled between the teeth and fluffs it up. So, I guess that’s a success. The plans were pretty easy to use, although the measurements for the sides didn’t fit within the actual piece of wood. And there aren’t really an instructions on how to use it.

wool picker

Did I mention Rich and I make a good team?

12 thoughts on “handmade wool picker

    1. As far as I understand it, it’s like a pre-carding thing. You are supposed to pick or flick your fiber before sticking it through a drumcarder, so that is what this can be used for. You could also spin the fluff as-is. It’s a big cloud in your hand.

  1. I know you were saying that Rich wasn’t sitting around waiting for you to give him something to do. Not that he wasn’t awesomely handy, Right?
    (only kidding)

  2. After washing some raw fleece yesterday, I can see how a picker could be very handy if working with fresh fleece. You want to “pick” open a fleece before carding it, or putting in a drum carder… you want it very “open” and light. With a picker, you should be able to open up more fleece at a faster rate, and cut-down on achy fingers, hopefully! Enjoy… it looks beautiful!! 🙂

    1. Indeed! You are absolutely right. One thing I am finding with this gadget is that the end product is a bit of an non-directional mass. If you want to keep your tips and cut-ends precise, you’re better off with a flicker. But if you just need things loosened up, it’s probably fine.

  3. Beautiful picker! I bought the plans from Minnetonka Works and hubby made me one. I can’t figure which end the fleece goes in and which end it comes out, I should add that I’ve never used a picker before or seen one in person. When I tried it, my fleece turned into a pile of neps.

    Hubby put the teeth so they ‘mesh’ about 1/8″. How much overlap do you have on yours between the top and bottom teeth? I’d love mine to be a success like yours!

    1. Well, I can’t say ours was a success… I am not entirely sure it works. The fiber tends to get mired in between the nails and then nothing is accomplished. We have a lot of overlap – maybe 3/4 to 1 in. But it sure looks pretty!

      1. Your nails may not be angled enough. The will drops in on the side that both top and bottom nails we’ll grab it and pull it in the back side the top and bottom nails are facing toward the back so the wool can be pushed out. If designed properly they should do great at getting vegetable matter out of fleece.

  4. This is a bit confusing, I went to buy the plans, but the plans don’t look the same as the picker photo’s shown above.

    I will order the plans anyway but I don’t want to have to buy several sets of plans to get the plans I want to build.

    1. It’s very possible that the plans have changed. I made this back in 2012, so things could have been adjusted in the meantime. Good luck!

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