Old End Fed Shuttles
> I have recently acquired a couple of old end-feed mill shuttles
> and pirns. I wondered if anyone else had refitted these for use
> with their handloom,
Old end feed shuttles are fairly plentiful on ebay and in antique stores, some have an adjustable tensioner next to the eye, some have simpler ways to tension or even no tensioner at all. The older EFS have a hinged or pop out pirn rod, the later models have no shuttle bottom and use a strong clamp to hold the pirn in; these pirns are easily identified as they have three steel rings on their base, but not all pirns are the same length or thickness. One caution with an EFS; don't use an EFS to weave a project narrower than the shuttle is long, as the eye of the shuttle is at the end of the shuttle not in the middle, so one side could be looser at the selvedge than the other, since there's a slack loop of weft to contend with. If using an EFS in a flying shuttle beater device, you can move the warp off-center to help when weaving narrow work.
An old flying shuttle can be modified to be a good handshuttle; here's an old post I did on remodeling old flying shuttles:
The older model flying shuttles have a pirn spindle which tilts out or even removes to load the pirn and they donšt have the open shuttle bottom like the later EFS. I'd look for a 14 or 15 incher and look in the eye to be sure your yarn will fit through.
I cleaned up the shuttle, added a drop of oil to the spindle hinge and filed the sharp end points down a bit. I couldn't find any pirns to fit the shuttle so I made some pirns; I took a piece of aluminum tubing that fit the pirn spindle, cut it so it was about as long as the spindle or stops one inch from the tensioner, whichever is longer. I wrapped string around one end to make a cone shape, rubbing in white glue. When dry, apply more glue to fill in any low spots.
To use the pirns,I start winding slowly at the big end of the cone, reach the narrow end, then go back uphill faster and start again until the pirn is filled to the end.
Later model EFS:
I wondered how difficult it would be, to modify a later model flying shuttle for hand use.
This model I chose to modify is the later flyshuttle that's open on the bottom and uses pirns with three steel rings on the base.
First I modified the pirn; I took a screwdriver and pried the outer of the three metal rings until it flew off - do this in an area that can take shrapnel, and wear goggles, as it'll ricochet around ! I then pried the middle ring until it snapped into the outer groove just vacated by the outer ring. I removed the eye from the shuttle body ( 1 bolt ) and cleaned it up. Now I removed the pirn clamp ( 2 bolts ). I knew I had to weaken this clamp somehow, which resembles demented sugar tongs, is very strong and is tempered beyond all drilling or bending. I thought of heating it to remove the temper and that's one option to use. I saw it had a wooden wedge inside it, so I wrapped thin brass around the wooden wedge and forced the wedge back into the pirn clamp, thus forcing the clamp to open a little bit. This allows me to remove the pirn without a lot of effort. Setting that aside, I filed the pointed metal tips to a nice comfortable, yet still pointed end. I finished with fine sandpaper.
The last part was all downhill. I vacuumed the body, gave it a coat of Johnson's Paste Wax ( My favorite stuff for looms & things ), re-assembled the fiddly little parts and tried it out; hey - it works ! And it's cheap....
|(An old flying shuttle can be modified to be a good handshuttle)|