The Schacht 50th Anniversary celebration was last Friday, September 20, 2019. There was a full day of events - factory tours, shuttle races, a spin-in, demos, and more - to celebrate the occasion. My wheel is a Schacht Sidekick, and I’ve wanted to see where it was made since I moved to the area. Never got around to taking the tour in the last few years, and I’m happy to have finally gotten the chance.
I was there a few minutes before the next tour ran so I took in the sights. There was Oliver, a personable Corridale/Teeswater sheep, and a whole flock of chickens named after Lord of the Rings characters. This is a naming theme I can stand behind.
The factory was really interesting. Our guide showed us the whole process from start to finish. We saw the CNC routers cutting down blanks to make looms and wheels. There were the jigs used to make pretty much everything. There was even a crash course in how the “wheel” part of wooden spinning wheels are made which was so cool to learn. We saw how the various pieces were sanded and finished with oil before heading off to assembly. I got a little thrill seeing the stacks of cut wood that would become Sidekick wheels.
It was really neat seeing where my wheel was made and the people that made it. As expected the whole place smelled like wood and saw dust which was nice. Though I didn’t expect how loud it would be, not due just to the various machines, but the factory wide vacuum system for controlling sawdust.
I wasn’t able to stick around as long after the tour as I wanted to. The heat and a crushing headache were not a good mix. I was able to find some neat fiber and project bags though. On the left is a fun bump from Hummingbird Moon and the right bump of fiber is the 50th anniversary colorway from Sweet Georgia.
I did pack up my wheel and some fiber for the spin-in, but just wasn’t up for sticking around. Same deal with the Try Out tent. I’ll try my hand at weaving one day. Headache aside, I enjoyed myself and the peek behind the scenes.