Louet has a long tradition of making tools for spinners: their new blending board is an updated version of one they produced about 25 years ago. Back then, it was called a carding board, and it had coarse teeth and a rolling pin which made it almost more of a drum carder. Today they have created a new blending board which is very user-friendly; it’s a fun tool for spinners and felters!
The Louet Blending Board has an attractive birch plywood base. It has a working surface of about 12 x 12 inches and a total size of 12 1/2 by 15 inches. There is a carry handle on top, and it comes with two dowel rods and a soft bristle brush. The carding cloth is 72 teeth per inch, which is a good moderate teeth per inch ratio that allows the board to be used with a wide variety of fibers. You can pack quite a good amount of fiber onto the teeth, which are 3/8″ deep. I have used everything from angora to romney on the board and the 72 tip has worked quite well!
A great feature is the adjustable keel, for which there are many possible adjustments. There are rubber feet on the back so that if it is flat, without the keel attached, it won’t shift around and on the table. If using the keel, there are three spots for the bolt to screw into and a long bolt that goes through the keel into the board. I really like the easy-to-use bolt with a finger-friendly loop on the top. No tools are needed to loosen the bolt and allow the keel to move, and the keel can rotate so the board can be set at any angle.
The keel can be placed into the three different spots depending on how you want to use it: If I am using it to prop on a table, I move the keel to the top spot. Sometimes I want the carding teeth to go sideways so that I can blend the fiber from side to side instead of top to bottom. It is easy to loosen the bolt and turn the keel sideways and move it to the center hole. This is also the spot where I put the keel if I am using it on my lap. Usually I have the keel in the center hole and turned sideways. Then the keel can go between my legs and I can easily blend the fiber side to side.
The board can be used for blending fibers to make rolags, making batts and preparing different fibers for spinning. This tool is a boon for felters also: due to the size, it provides a big canvas to make batts for use as felting base or to make pre-felts. While the board will not replace my hand cards, I think it is a great addition to my tool box!