Common errors people make while drum carding:
1. Fiber preparation: don’t expect your drum carder to take a knotted and almost felted clump of fiber and magically convert it into a beautiful batt. Tease out any clumps and locks so that a loose, fluffy mass is being fed.
2. Don’t over feed. Put about a handful of teased fiber on your carder’s tray.
3. Amazingly enough, don’t underfeed. If you try to feed one fiber at a time —- nothing will happen!
4. Don’t hold back. Most folks have a tendency to hold onto the fiber as it’s being carded. This will cause it to wrap around the small drum. Allow the carder to draw in the fiber and pull back just enough so that the entire mass is not gulped into the small drum. Another technique is to “snap back” on the fiber as it’s being fed thus not allowing the carder to pull in too much material. This will take practice.
5. Feed clean fiber. Wool, especially, needs to be washed prior to carding. The lanolin will coat the drums and makes for a real mess. Make sure your fiber is free of vegetable matter, droppings etc.
6. When feeding, keep the fiber one inch away from both ends of the small drum. This will eliminate wrapping fiber around the bearings supporting the drum.
7. Don’t over fill the large drum. Watch carefully; when fiber starts to be airborne or wraps itself around the drum’s axle–stop These tips from Otto of Strauch Fiber Equipment.