Wood & Brass Tipped Tapestry Bobbins

Tapestry bobbin configurations vary to suit the size and scope of the artwork as well as the hands and habits of the weaver. Some weavers work on grand scale works while others enjoy miniature wonders. Not being weavers we have had most generous help in molding our designs to suit the variety of weavers. Pat Williams first introduced us to this work. She provided a great education about the needs of weavers as well as how bobbins work and how they should be configured. Susan Martin-Maffei (website) also provided guidance in a different style of weaving and the tools required. She suggested a totally new 9 inch long configuration based on the French “Gobelin” design which we now refer to as the “Susan”. Other customers have provided feedback on our designs from time to time to refine the designs for specific applications. Many of our customers are weaving teachers, such as Tommye Scanlin. They have helped immeasurably in promoting and spreading the word about our bobbins.

Brass tipped bobbins have three basic tip shapes: tapered tips, straight tips and slim. In general the tapered tips have a long slender end, approximately 1/16” in diameter extending back about 3/8 to ½ inch before tapering up to the full diameter. The straight tips have a tip about the same diameter but extending back at a cone angle finally blending with the outside diameter of the brass insert.  Tips on Slim bobbins are a combination of both shapes. All types of inserts are polished to a fine finish after initial shaping for smooth entry into the warp. The picture shows shows a mini-bob with a tapered tip, a standard tapered tip, a straight tip and a wood bobbin tip.

Straight tip bobbins for most uses come in 5”, 6” and 7” lengths. We also make a 4 1/2” straight or tapered brass tipped MiniBob for special applications including small scale work. One special design requested by Susan Maffei-Martin that has become a standard offering retains the shape of the 9” Gobelin bobbin but with a brass insert with a straight tip for extra beating weight. This has also been made with a tapered shape tip.

Tapered tip bobbins are made in  5 ½” and 6 ½” sizes. These were the first brass tipped designs we produced and have been modified the most as tools and techniques have been discovered or developed to produce them.

We count many weavers and shop owners among our many friends, and sometimes we get interesting ideas from their input. DeAnna Rigter (See DeAnna’s blog here) suggested a new bobbin design with a reduced diameter and a new tip shape. After a bit of experimentation a new design has evolved which we call the Slim. The result was tested by several weavers and found to be easier to pass through the warp and nicely balanced with forward weight  for beating down.  The Slim comes in a 6″ length to compensate for the smaller diameter.  This allows weavers to load approximately the same amount of thread as a 5 1/2″ bobbin.  The photo on the left shows (top to bottom) a standard tapered tip, the new Slim design and the Mini-Bob with tapered tip.

Wood bobbins are the simplest and come in a variety of lengths. There is the 4.5” “toothpick” design for those small touches of color. These are about 10 mm in diameter. The 5” and 6” designs are 17 mm in diameter. We treat tips of wood bobbins to harden them for durability and to allow polishing for smoother entry into the warp.

Standard Finish: One coat of a sealant is applied to the knob and front end of all of our bobbins. It is wiped off within seconds so that the surface texture is maintained. This seals the wood to harden it and brighten the color.  It does not impart a slick finish.

In the past we have used various domestic woods and some exotics. Currently we are using Maple which is our best combination of strength and machinability.

All of our bobbins are hand-made in our studio in South Carolina.

Standard Pricing:

Material               Overall length             Tip Shape                                     Price

All wood               4.5” toothpick                Standard                                      $5.00

All wood               5 to 6” (you specify)                                                           $7.00

Brass tipped          4 1/2” MiniBob             Straight or tapered                      $12.00

Brass tipped          6″                                 Slim design                                   $18.00    

Brass tipped          5 or 6”                          Straight                                         $18.00

Brass tipped          9”  “Susan”                   Straight                                         $35.00

Brass tipped          8″                                 Straight, tapered, or slim               $35.00

Brass tipped          5 ½ or 6 ½”                  Tapered                                         $18.00

Plus shipping and handling. Prices vary based on weight and quantity.

Ordering instructions are shown in the Contact section.

We are happy to entertain requests for special requirements and custom designs.