My wife is into knitting in a serious way. She was given a partial antique yarn swift by my mom some time back. It is missing parts, but otherwise should work just fine. It needs some kind of base, and a clamp to hold up the upper umbrella portion of the swift. With her birthday coming up soon she suggested finishing the swift would be a good present. Great! I hadn’t had any good ideas on what to buy, so lets make something. I don’t know what the original was made out of, but the wood and finish were very dark. I made mine out of maple because it was what I had around, and it distinguishes the antique from my work.
Start with the finished product in action!
I started with the clamp. A small block with a hole in it and a slit cut across it acts as a clamping mechanism. I drilled a hole through the forked section, and even chopped a small square hole so the head of the bolt does not spin while tightening.
Next I moved on to the base. The post needs a place to rest in, and I have a bit brace and some old screw bits that belonged to my wife’s grandfather. Might as well use a family heirloom to make something that should hopefully stay in the family a long time. After a few minutes of sharpening the bit sailed through the maple stock with ease!
To make the clamp portion I cutout a wide center section. I sawed out the edges and carefully pared out the rest with a wide chisel. Yet another time when having a router plane would have been useful. I used another bit to bore from underneath and install a threaded insert in the bottom. A modified 1/4″-20 bolt will act as a screw clamp so the base can be clamped to any ledge. A piece of maple is captured on top of the bolt with a small bent metal clip. This keeps the moving portion of the clamp from falling off. I used tung oil on everything and glued leather to the clamp faces to promote grip and prevent scratching.
Happy Birthday Honey!