Full Chisel Blog

February 25, 2009

Textile Tools

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:27 pm

I for one reason or another have a fascination for textile tools made of wood.  Perhaps from having repaired so many and they are fun to make.  Here are some that I am currently making for sale at This is the Place Heritage Park.  I am making some other wooden objects for sale as well including hat stretchers, traveling boot jacks, writing pens, ink and other items.

These are made of curly hard maple.

Textile Tools

Tatting shuttles on the left and crochet hooks on the right.



  1. Are those also knitting needles I see? 😀

    Future wifey (who loves to knit and crochet).

    Comment by I need a husband — February 26, 2009 @ 6:09 am

  2. FW,

    Well they could be, except that I will be cutting hooks in the pointy ends. I do make knitting needles as well as netting needles.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — February 26, 2009 @ 9:05 am

  3. Stephen,
    Just wondering if you use any particular wood for your crotchet/knitting needles?
    I’ve made one hook (a 12mm, not easy to find to purchase) out of beech. I had to smooth the hook area a couple of times through the project. I likely left the edge too sharp to begin with.

    However I seem to remember that Dogwood was used for loom shuttles because it has the property of becoming smoother with use and wear. So I was curious, what do you use, and why?


    Comment by Paul Morin — March 3, 2009 @ 8:54 am

  4. Paul,

    I used curly hard maple on these. I don’t have a regular source of beech. But I do have some dogwood shuttle blanks that will make nice tatting shuttles. I think the dogwood might be too brittle for small knitting needles and crochet hooks.

    I have also made them from split pine as well as some relic extinct red pine that works well for these small tools. I only have a limited amount of the latter but it is incredible wood.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — March 3, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

  5. Hi Stephen, those tatting shuttles are great. My daughter does tatting and uses some old tortoise shell shuttles so I’d like to have a go at making a few like yours for her to try. How thick are they? How long? thanks, Peter

    Comment by Peter Robinson — March 9, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

  6. Paul,

    They vary being hand made from 1/4 to 5/16 inches thick, 13/16 to 7/8 inches wide and all are 3 1/2″ long. I have also started making some out of Dogwood. Yesterday I made a special scraper to match the gouge so I could smooth out the grooves on both sides. I cut a piece of saw blade, the proper width, then ground the profile. I then filed and honed the edges and turned a burr. It works great, I will go back and smooth out the ones I have already done. So far I have 16 tatting shuttles, 12 crochet hooks and 16 pair of small knitting needles.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — March 10, 2009 @ 8:03 am

  7. I’ll look up your timbers and see what Aussie equivalents might be good. the scraper sounds like a good idea. thankyou.

    Comment by Peter Robinson — March 12, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  8. Peter,

    Hornbeam or hop hornbeam if you have it, beech is also excellent, anything that wears smooth with age. I have made them from ebony and rosewood, they are nice but more difficult to work. I even found some locally grown walnut (much harder than normal walnut) that workes for tatting shuttles. Cherry would also work. The pieces can get weak if the groove is too deep.

    Good Luck


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — March 13, 2009 @ 7:18 am

  9. I had a piece of curly jarrah handy and have made her one from that. the wild grain made carving the grooves a bit hard but it’s not bad for a first attempt. thanks for the article. I think I’ll be making some more of them.
    regards, Peter

    Comment by Peter Robinson — March 14, 2009 @ 4:48 am

  10. Peter,

    Curly Jarrah should be nice, also that Tasmanian what-ever-it-is. I am wondering if Lacewood would be too porous?


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — March 14, 2009 @ 7:05 am

  11. Tasmanian Myrtle? That would be really nice. I’ll get some and try.
    Lacewood (presuming that’s our Silky Oak) might be too open grained and I think might be fragile on the small edges.

    Comment by Peter Robinson — March 14, 2009 @ 11:27 pm

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