Ashford pack most of their spinning wheels flat for transportation. They really have it down to a fine art; it's hard to believe that such a large thing is packed into such a small box.
So that means a bit of assembly when you get it. It looks to be a daunting task when all of the bits are laid out on the floor, but it's surprising how quickly and easily it all goes together.
The assembly instructions are very clear. Beware - there are some helpful tips and written instructions near the back, which you won't see until you've finished if you just open it at page one and make a start!
This one is the natural option (not lacquered). It needs a finish to protect the wood, and I think this is best done while all the bits are still separate and before the lubricating oil gets near it. It takes a little time and some elbow grease to give it a proper wax finish, but it's well worthwhile. It really brings out the beautiful grain of the New Zealand silver beech.
It feels remarkably robust and sturdy. The Traditional now comes with ball bearings and so the wheel spins very freely.
In other news, I'm up to the ankle of (still the first) sunset hug sock. I'm really chuffed with the colours and I've managed to get this far without any serious problems. I've only ever used three needles before for knitting in the round, this is my first go with five. I have to say it's a lot better, the angles are less severe and it's helping me keep track of the stitches now that I have one needle for each half of the pattern repeat.