In the 18th Century carding was usually done by children. This involved using a hand-card that removed and untangled the short fibres from the mass. Hand cards were essentially wooden blocks fitted with handles and covered with short metal spikes. The spikes were angled and set in leather. The fibres were worked between the spikes and, be reversing the cards, scrapped off in rolls about 12 inches long and just under an inch thick. There were three main stages to making cloth: carding, spinning and weaving.
Today carding is a mechanical process that untangle, cleans and mixes the fibres to produce a sliver suitable for further processing. This is achieved by passing the fibers between differentially moving surfaces covered with card clothing. It breaks up clumps of fibre and then aligns the individual fibers to be parallel with each other.