Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Make your own spindles with brass hooks

A friend asked about making spindles of the type seen in this blog post - Spindles with Brass Hooks and Tapered Shafts. Well, J, Here ya go!

Here is a photo of the basic supplies - 12 inch (approx) lengths of straight dowels, hooks and fingernail polish, and here's how - -

Cut the dowel to length, and sand the cut-end nice and flat. This will make drilling much easier. Mark the center of the end of the dowel, then poke a sharp metal point into the center, so that your drill bit won't skitter off - I use a drywall screw, but you can poke your hole with a nail, or a compass point - whatever is handy. Drill a short way - about 1/8 inch? - into the end of the dowel, and then screw in your hook.

Now - for a tip that I learned from this book - Spinning in the Old Way... This is a wonderful book, by the way! I was always so frustrated with my hooks until I read what Priscilla Gibson-Roberts had to say on the matter. Thanks Priscilla! Now that I know your secrets, my spindles spin soooooo smooooooothly. It's amazing the difference that the mathematics-of-the-hook makes! Thanks!

Using smooth-jawed pliers, straighten out the hook - completely straight. Click on the photo above for a better look - see the 2 hooks in the upper right hand corner of the note-card? These are the same as the hooks, which I used for the shafts in the picture. See how, in the "fresh" hooks, there is a little 90-degree bend, right above the threads? *This* is what you are getting rid of in this step.

Next, grab the very tip end of the hook with the pliers, and make a tiny bend. You are aiming for the tip-end of the hook to be lower than the bend; otherwise, your spun-yarn might not stay on the hook.

The goal is position the bend of the hook directly above the central point of the spindle shaft, which means, directly above the threaded portion of the hook, supposing that you drilled your hole right in the center of the dowel. This does not mean, however, that the hook goes straight up and then bends, as this would put the bend just a little forward of the central point, due to the diameter of the brass itself, get it? So, once you bend the tip of the hook down, then you have to bend the whole thing backwards, just a teeny tiny bit. If you didn’t get the hook right into the middle of the shaft, no worries, you can adjust it when you spin with this spindle.

Remove the hook. Shape the end of the dowel however you like - you can leave it flat, if you prefer. I like to sharpen mine, but maybe you'd prefer a rounded profile? Shape, and then sand it really smooth.

Screw the hook back into the end. If you have sharpened yours, as I have mine, then the wood might splinter, when you screw the hook into place. If this happens, then slobber fingernail polish all over the point where the hook and the wood meet, and then, smooth it out with your finger. This will prevent these splinters from snagging your yarn. I use clear fingernail polish, but you might like a little more pizzazz? lol

You are done!

Now - more about the details in the picture –

I have pictured two different sizes of hook, and three different types of wooden dowels. The dowel to the far right is oak - in my area, I can find really straight oak dowels, and this is pretty important for spindles. Also, if you are *blush* a spinner like I am, then it's important to have a nice, strong wood for your spindle shaft, as they... um... hit the floor from time to time. On the other hand, the oak is pretty heavy, and I have to stop spinning sooner with an oak shaft than the other, lighter woods. In my opinion, oak is the wood of choice if you want to carve t-notches, though. Also, I think that it holds the hook better, for those spindles which have a metal hook. On the whole, it is my favorite choice for spindle shafts.

The two shafts in the middle of the photo are of the same wood, and I don't know what this wood is. Something from the hardware store. Maybe birch? The one on the left is something from a hobby store, and it is the worst one of all. It is really too soft for anything useful in spinning! The hook doesn't stay put without the fingernail polish, and it will probably work its way out after a while, even with the polish.

I'll stick with the nice, strong, heavy oak, and I’ll just make allowances for the extra weight. Not a problem!

By the way, I use CD whorls. Get your grommets here, McMaster Carr, and type 9307k23 into the little search box. Check your postbox for CD's, lol.

I bought a variety of toy truck wheels, and they just came in the mail. They are very attractive, but the axle hole isn’t exactly centered, and the wheel itself doesn’t look to be very balanced. They aren’t perfectly round, and are going to get less and less round the longer they are in this desert climate. In addition, as you can see, I'd have to re-drill the hole, as the current hole has two different diameters. This means that I'd have to probably use my drill press... Oh, I don’t know if it’s worth the effort, especially since CD whorls work so well. These are very pretty, though!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Home Made Circulars

This article has moved! Please read it here, Make Your Own Circular Needles
A Tutorial by Rosemary Thomas