Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Too Much Fiber

After starting Ferndale Fiber processing, in 1999, I had a back log of 9 months of custom processing. What to do, get a bigger boat, er Card.
BTW the machine used for carding wool is call a "CARD" the person operating the machine is the "CARDER". So began my online research to find a larger machine. Lots of old equipment on the east coast, but heavy and difficult to ship.

Out of the blue (this is the summer of 2000) we get a phone call from the plant manager at Mt. Jefferson Woolen Mill in Oregon. We had met him while doing research on starting a wool mill and had visited the mill. This nice man had given us about a 2 hour tour of their mill. They were processing wool from the washed state through dying, carding, spinning, weaving and fulling the cloth. They made the fabric for the US Forest Service green wool uniforms, felt for lettermans jackets and the black/red check Filson outdoor coats. The mill had been in operation for about 50 years and was being closed down by their corporate headquarters. They had all their equipment for sale, including two carding lines.

Mt Jefferson Woolen Mill, just east of Salem, OR

Mill worker at the spinning frame. The white rolls with "strings" are actually the end of the card showing the "pencil roving" being made and coiled on long bobbins.
(I guess I'll have to make a post with wool mill terminology and definitions!)

This equipment was way, way, way bigger than our planned size increase, but who could pass up this opportunity. We made a ridiculously low offer on one of the carding lines plus other misc. equipment. Our thought was that we would drop the other un-needed equipment off the bid for negotiating if they didn't like our offer. At the last minute before faxing in the offer, Dave told me to cut the dollar amount in half. Totally freaking scary because by now we really wanted that carding line.

The end result- they accepted the bid as it was, low price and all equipment. The only stipulation was that we had to come dismantle the machinery and move it- we had two months....

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