Drum Carder Trick

I recently posted on Facebook asking friends for plastic netting that wrapped a ham or turkey.  I use them with my drum carder for a nifty little trick to lift the wool off the carding cloth. Discussion ensued, wondering if the little kind around cheeses would do, or the softer kind like tangerines and oranges and onions come in.  Nope. It’s the ham netting that works.  It’s the right size, the right texture, and stiff enough to stuff down in the drum carder teeth.  This is what’s known as a “doffing net,” and it makes the removal of a batt of carded wool so so so much easier!

rose pink wool on drum carder

The wool is wound around the large drum, and you can see the black doffing net peeking out on the edges.  This is the Louet Classic Drum Carder, available from The Woolery.

The net is wound around the large drum before any wool is added. Stretch the net to fit just to the outside edges of the drum. On my Louet drum carder it fits perfectly end to end if the outside edges meet.  If it doesn’t fit your carder, stretch it taught or cut off the ends to make it fit.  Card your wool until you have a full batt, ready to remove from the drum carder.

wool batt coming off drum carder

Loosen the wool at the seam of the carding cloth, take hold of the doffing net, and pull.

Split the wool at the seam of the carding cloth, where there aren’t any teeth.

To make this job easier, I highly recommend a Strauch Knuckle-Saving Batt Picker from

The Woolery.  Click on the picture to save your knuckles!

batt picker drum carder tool

 Once the fibers are separated, grab the ham net you’ve recycled and pull up. Voila! Almost no wool caught in the teeth of the drum. Any that is left, use a Strauch Doffer Brush to clean it up.

removing the wool batt from the drum carder with a doffing net

Almost off the drum carder, the wool batt leaves almost nothing behind on the teeth.

Yep, there’s a LOT of VM on that carder! It was a very dirty fleece. I’ll write another blog post soon about using dirty fleece. Believe me, I have a lot of experience!  See how nicely that net fit the drum? It made a perfect batt. Sometimes, without a doffing net, the fibers you’ve just neatly straightened get messed up again. I find I have to re-card less if I use a doffing net.

rose pink batt showing doffing net off drum carder

Once it’s off, you can see how the netting was laid down under the wool.

Just peel the netting off for a perfect batt! Don’t forget to lay it down again before you crank the drums. Bits from the small drum will still lay down on the large drum once it’s empty like that, so there will be wool under your doffing net on the next batt. Or you can clean the small drum between batts, but I find that to be a lot of trouble.

There you have it! An easy trick to getting a clean, neat batt off the drum carder, using an old net from wrapping ham or turkey.

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All text, photos, and graphics are the property of Kelley Adams, unless credit is given to an alternative source.

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9 Responses

  1. Wanda Merrill says:

    I received an old louet drum carder. Is very old and the only number I found as an identification is 8605. It looks very similar to yours according with your photo. May I ask how old is your carder? Thanks

    I’m starting to spin fabric and found your idea brilliant.

    Wanda Merrill

    • Kelley says:

      Yes, Wanda! I know exactly how old mine is! I purchased it brand new in 1990 with money I won in an essay contest at my University. (I think we both just called me old.) Happy spinning!

  2. Jason says:

    It’s truly amazing how puffy the wool gets after it’s caedrd. Is there any way you can contact the farm from which you purchased Molly fleece? I haven’t knitted in a long time either, just a little spinning, reading and reorganizing. The reorganizing thing is always good for finding stuff you’ve misplaced!!

    • Kelley says:

      The fleece I used in the “Drum Carder Trick” blog was from my own sheep. I no longer sell any of my own wool. The SlowYarn site is filled with lots of links to The Woolery or to Paradise Fibers, both of which carry beautiful fleece, both raw and processed.

  3. Bet says:

    I use bird netting meant for use to keep birds of fruits. It comes in varies sizes and can be bought almost anywhere. It is nylon and the mesh is about 1/2 inch. A small net is about 14 feet square, sells for 7.00 or less, and can be cut in numerous “doffers”.

    • Kelley says:


      Great idea! I find that I really don’t buy enough ham to get all the netting I’d like to have. I hadn’t thought beyond, “Cool, it’s free with purchase of ham.”


  4. Marian says:

    Great idea, l,m off to buy some bird netting

  5. Mary Dunn says:

    What a great idea! A different note-on my older Louet, where the handle meets the large drum I get fleece wrapped around it and can’t get it out since it’s between the wooden side and the drum. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

    • Kelley says:

      I have a pair of long, skinny tweezers that are intended for silversmithing. I use them more for fetching hair out of my fiber equipment (and my shower drain) than for silversmithing! RioGrande jewelry supply has them– called “Fine Tip Utility Tweezers.”

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