News for spring of 2021:
A small custom run from 2020 is currently in progress (to be finished up mid-April), and a few extra boat shuttles will be available. The long delay with finishing up the 2020 run due to an outbuilding project started August of 2020 and the pandemic.
2018 was my first year for making low-profile double boat shuttles.
Shuttles are mostly constructed of Hawaiian koa and mango, walnut featherwood, tiger and bird’s eye maple, curly cherry with occasional use of figured red& white oak, ash burl, and spalted maple. The ash burl wood turned out to be stunning – it was found by a fellow woodworker in southern Minnesota who was sawing up some fallen ash trees in his bandsaw mill. Some of the most ornate shuttles are combinations of different types of maples – light and dark bird’s eye maple, tiger maple, highly figured curly maple, and maple burl. As usual, figured Hawaiian koa is one of the most beautiful with it’s strong iridescence and banding which constantly changes as you look at the wood from different angles. I picked up strongly figured Hawaiian mango and koa boards a couple of years ago at a lumber yard in Kona, HI. Mango grain and coloration is unique in Hawaii because it picks up colors from the volcanic soils. A couple of newer woods that will be in use for 2020: Mesquite, which I picked up in Arizona last year, and a small amount of ZiriCote which I discovered in Belize, C.A. last year.
All of the stainless steel rods in boat shuttles are now 4mm diameter (except that there are a few 3/16″ diameter rods left for 6″ boat shuttles which will be used up in 2020). Quill shuttles use 3.5mm rods, and both 3.5mm and 4mm diameters will hold quills if needed. I use stainless steel alloy #316 (marine grade) for best corrosion resistance.
Due to the poor quality of 6″ bobbins from Schacht and Leclerc in the last year or two, I no longer buy them to modify for use in my very low-profile 6″ boat shuttles. I have my own 6″ carbon fiber shaft bobbins in development which will hold a lot more yarn than the commercial plastic bobbins. I’ll post here again when they become available. You can also use quills in any of the boat shuttles since they will fit on the 4mm diameter rods.
A further note about 4″ bobbins (personal opinion): I have samples of most commercially available 4″ bobbins, and have found the Ashford nylon bobbins to be the best quality of the lot, and they also hold more yarn. They are about 1/2″ longer than the other brands (4 7/16″ total length), and have narrower shafts. I have no affiliation with Ashford – I just like this bobbin. I have increased the length of the cavities of my 4″ shuttles a little to better accommodate them as of late 2015. The bobbins, because of the narrower shafts, also allow a little less shuttle height without the bobbin rims rubbing on the bottom of the shuttle cavity. I wish that Ashford made 6″ bobbins.
Brocade shuttles are currently sold out, and I hadn’t planned on making more until 2020 as they are not requested as much compared to the other shuttle types. Email me if you are interested in a brocade shuttle and I will replenish them sooner if I have enough requests.
Weaving tools are made up of 3, 5 (most common), or 7 layers of the following figured woods: curly maple (including bird’s eye maple and tiger maple), maple burl, curly cherry, cherry burl, quartersawn oak, curly white oak, black walnut, quartersawn sycamore, buckthorn, and birch. Wood layering is always symmetrical so that 1st, 2nd, and 3rd layers (from the top or bottom) are always the same species. Ten layers of finish are applied to all shuttle types (and tapestry forks) inside and out, consisting of blonde shellac, oil-based urethane, and carnauba wax after the shuttles and tapestry forks are final sanded to 2000 grit. Shuttle rods are corrosion-resistant stainless steel (usually #316 alloy). Rods for the boat and quill shuttles operate up& down with the use of a wire spring mechanism which holds the rod in the up or down position.