I found this sweet little flax wheel on eBay in April of 2014, and drove to Rhode Island to pick it up. I had no idea what I was doing with an antique wheel, but the seller managed estate sales and specialized in reselling gun collections, so he had even less experience than I did, given that I had actually spun fiber before. In truth, I was suckered in by the beautiful patterning in the wood I could see in the eBay photos. That pattern is caused by quarter-sawing boards from trees, which produces lumber that is stable but more expensive because of the higher ratio of waste.
I took a deep breath. I took the whole wheel apart. Cleaning each piece and giving it a coat of lemon oil was most rewarding: the wood glowed.
Here you can even see scribe marks made by the wheelwright (those vertical lines down the center of the bench).
Like many old wheels, this one had a lovely well-worn imprint on the treadle, made by the ball of the foot of a previous owner.
(Spinning Wheel Sleuth #48 has two articles about Londonderry makers and Hugh Ramsey.)
It was a perfect first-wheel restoration project: my HR was completely intact and needed only minimal shimming to get everything into alignment. I added a nylon spacer to snug the bobbin up to the whorl and part of a bamboo skewer to peg the wheel axle in place, and away we went!