Foldable Spinning Wheel (Box-Charkha) as used by Mahatma Gandhi
Open the box-charkha carefully.
Remove the wooden disks (1) and (2).
Remove the wood/metal rods (3) and (4) and assemble them to a cross.
Place the disks (1) and (2) back upside down.
Attach the thicker string (5) around the larger disk (2) and around the lower part of the smaller disk (3). The spring mechanism (6) helps to keep the string tight.
Take out the spindle (7), the thinner string (8) and a cotton sliver (9) from the accessory compartment (10).
Bring up the wooden piece (11) which is kept down by the spring and fix it with the help of (12).
Hold the spindle (7) on the left side of (11) and attach the thinner string (8) around the upper side of disk (1) and around the moulded part (7a) of the spindle. The spindle should lay loosely in the mould of (11). You may need to adjust (11) with the help of the screw (12).
Now the box-charkha is ready for use. While turning disk (2) clockwise using the triangle piece the spindle should spin smoothly and produce a harmonious sound.
For getting ready for spinning it is necessary to get a feel for the material you are going to use. Therefore hold your sliver in your left hand (or right hand if you are left hander) and try to pull a little piece of cotton by twisting (spinning) it with your right (left) hand. You will see that the "yarn" is getting stronger as more you spin it.
The art of spinning lies in the co-ordination of the speeds of pulling the cotton out of the sliver and twisting (spinning) the cotton to yarn.
When you can produce a thin but strong piece of yarn by hand you connect the end of the yarn with the tip of the spindle and hold the sliver loosely in your left hand.
Turn the larger disk (2) – slowly – and pull the sliver – slowly – away from the spindle. Of course, it needs a little practice to co-ordinate movements. At the beginning the yarn will tear over and again. Just mend the torn ends and try again.
When you are able to spin about 50 cms of yarn without tearing it than turn the larger disk (2) counter clockwise so that the yarn becomes ca. 80 cms and bring the yarn to the upper end of the spindle (7b) by turning disk (2) clockwise again until only a distance of ca. 10 cms remains between the spindle and the sliver. Then spin another 50 cms of yarn etc. etc. Soon you will find your own speed, optimum length of yarn etc.
When your spindle is full remove it from the charkha.
Put the wooden cross (3) and (4) on top of the smaller disk (1) and lead the end of the yarn through the hole on top of (14) from the left.
Fix the yarn at one of the metal rods and start turning the cross clockwise.
The yarn unwinds from the spindle; one round is equal to one meter. Usually a spindle can host 1,000 meters.
When you are through remove the yarn from the cross and twist it strongly.
Now your yarn is ready for further processing (weaving, crotchet, needlework etc.)
To close your charkha follow the reverse procedure as at the beginning.
Take to spinning to find peace of mind. The
music of the wheel will be as balm to our soul. I believe that the yarn we spin is capable of mending the broken warp and woof of our life. The charkha (spinning wheel) is the symbol for nonviolence on which all life, if it is to be real life, must be based."
Harijan, April 27, 1947, p. 122