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Respooling Stainless Steel Thread: The Knack

The comments on my previous stainless-steel thread respooling attempt suggested that I was entirely too much of a sissy, so, when another empty spool appeared, I tried again with more vigor:

Stainless steel thread - second spool

Stainless steel thread – second spool

As before, I put the larger spool on the floor under the lathe and let the thread spill straight off the top toward the smaller spool. This time, I didn’t have a twist accumulating in the loose thread between the two spools:

  • Grab longer lengths of the loose thread
  • Absolutely no slippage between the fingers!
  • Put more tension on the thread at the takeup spool

As nearly as I can tell, the thread still has a slight twist coming off the larger spool, but grabbing longer lengths captures the twist and more tension lays it on the smaller spool. After cutting the thread, what was left had maybe three turns of twist, which was no big deal and obviously hadn’t accumulated.

Seems better: thanks for all the comments!

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  1. #1 by Keith Ward on 2016-12-30 - 09:21

    My dad used to work in the braided hose industry and observing the braiding machines was always fascinating to me. I recall that they used strobes for troubleshooting the machines since they were so complicated during operation. If you notice in most videos pertaining to this and similar industries, spools used to wrap other spools revolve around the target rather than just paying off a stationary spool. Obviously for braided hose and multiple spools this is necessary to achieve the weaving effect, but even on single spools it still plays a part in eliminating twist. I believe that the wrapping is converted from one direction to the other when unspooling. If you picture the material as being something that has two sides such as webbing or tape it may be easier to envision. We are all similar with tape coming off the roll sticky side down but when being used to wrap something else it might be payed off sticky side on the outside of the target to eliminate or counteract twist. I don’t have any personal experience in respooling great volumes of material but realize what a pain it might be until having the secrets revealed. After many years of climbing and mountaineering, I do realize the importance of rope management. Imagine sitting on narrow ledges and dealing with 300 feet of rope repeatedly and knowing that any tangles could be life threatening.

    • #2 by Ed on 2016-12-30 - 11:15

      Such complexity behind what seems like such a simple operation! I shouldn’t need more than a few feet at time from those little spools and, if I can manage to not drop ’em, it’ll be all good.