Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

Inkle Shuttles

I recently purchased some pre-cut, but unfinished, inkle shuttles made of walnut wood.

The woman I bought them from told me that that it had taken her husband an hour each to hand-sand a beveled edge and finish with tung oil. I hoped that, with the benefit of an orbital sander and a cheapo Dremel-tool knockoff, I would be able to finish my seven shuttles more quickly. Not so! It took me closer to an hour-and-a-half to finish each of them, and I could tell soon after I started that I’m not meant to be a professional woodworker. I wish I had more skill to have done a better rough sanding of the beveled edges, because some of the sanding marks still show on the wood.

It took a lot of extra time, without the benefit of electric tools, with fine- and ultra-fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out some of the rougher sanding marks. I was in a hurry to finish while I still had the momentum to spur me on, but even so, it took intensive work every day of this past three-day Labor Day weekend to finish. Hand-sanding, rubbing with oil, drying, sanding, more oil, more drying, more sanding, oil… it seemed to never end! By the third day, I had only to look at a piece of sandpaper for my fingers to go numb; my hands and arms were so sore!

But sore hands could not stop me from planning a quick inkle project, using Omega nylon thread:

I warped a Schacht inkle loom with its maximum warp, which produced a woven length of approximately 96″, plus 8″ of loom waste. This strap is 1/2″ wide. 

When I checked the prices of inkle shuttles online, I was appalled at how low they were — I would starve before I could make a living doing this!


19 September 2011 - Posted by | Weaving | , ,


  1. Great to hear from you. This post is very relevant at the moment as I have just ordered an Inkle loom from the husband of a friend at guild, He is a potter and an engineer and makes Inkle looms!!! I have suddenly realised I need some bands and braids. As if I didn’t have enough weaverly activities already on the go!!!

    Comment by deborahbeedeborah hannam | 22 September 2011 | Reply

  2. I’m really impressed. These are lovely. I hate sanding. Once I tried to “quickly” take a quarter inch off one side of an oak block by hand sanding it and learned it’s called hardwood for a reason.

    Comment by trapunto | 19 October 2011 | Reply

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