When one have been hand carding for a while, usually one starts to dream about a carding machine. One thinks it will get the job done so much faster.
The truth how ever is that, well yeah maybe you will get more wool carded but…. It’s not the same. A machine carded batt is NOT the same as a lofty nicely hand carded rolag, not at all.
First of all the wool tends to be more aligned like combed wool rather than as in a hand carded rolag, you will have big difficulties spinning woolen from a batt. It is also much more dense, so it will need you to adjust your drafting. It isn’t bad it’s just different.
The second truth is that it doesn’t go as fast as you imagined, you have to tease the wool carefully to get a good result AND you have to put in just a little wool at the time. Also you will have to do it several times, at least twice per batt.
Third truth: The card cloth is very important!
The normal cardcloth has 72 tines per square inch and that is important to you since it determines what wool you can efficiently card and how your batts will end up. 72 TPI let’s you card pretty much all wool with good enough results. It also usually has pretty long tines (about an inch) and that is important because it tells you how thick your batts will possibly be. A 120 TPI cardcloth is made for the finest fibres like angora and extreme micron wool, it’s much more dense and CAN card more normal range wool but in very thin layers and with some problems. You will always end up with thinner batts than with a 72 TPI cloth. And the fine wool will be carded just as well with a 72 TPi cloth you just have to tease it welll and feed it slowly and maybe feed it not on the small frum but firectly on the larger one. (especially angora f ex.) My opinion is: to go with a longer tined 72 TPI card cloth, it leaves you with a machines that can do everything a carding machine can do.