I have been, for the longest time, been trying to buy myself a swift. But, I've never gotten around to it because I think they cost too much for what they are. So what do I do? You guessed it, I went and bought some supplies to make my own. I took the plans for the Build a Little Great Wheel put out by Interweave's Spin-Off and adaped the connection of the wheel to the frame of the home-made wheel to the constuction of this floor model swift/winder/what-cha-ma-call-it. Now this is a super ruff construction, made only to be functional...not decor ready. But, it works and I spend under $10 on it's construction and all supplies were bought at the local Menards. The skien size I get from this is is 29 inches...plenty big for the average skien. If I ever want to make a larger skien for self stripping yarn, I only seen to go and buy longer oak boards and construct a wider cross. It works great the way it is, although I need a slightly longer bolt as one of the arms keeps hitting the body of it. The base needs to be a bit wider, or I need to make a stabelizer as it tends to wobble, but for now I can put my foot onto the base to hold it steady. I used two oak boards at 1/2" x 2" x 2' for the arms and mitered a small portion out of the center of both of them, then glued them together with Gorilla glue. You will want a dowel, I used one three foot dowel and cut it every 7 inches. This will give you 5 pegs with one being a little longer than the rest. This one will be your "handle" for turning the device. Find a hole borring bit that is the same size of the dowel you have chosen. I used 5/8th dowels and so used a 5/8th bit.
Before drilling a hole in the center of the boards you want to try and find as close to the exact center as possible without having to purchase further equipment (think frugal). Then measure from each end and mark one inch and two inches. Mark the center (as close as possible) between the one and two inch marks. This gives an inch of board sticking out to hold the yarn on the pegs. C-clamp both boards together and drill all the holes through both of them at once. Unclamp the boards and drill ONE MORE hole in ONE BOARD between the center hole and the end hole. This is where your handle peg will go.
Miter out (either with hand chisels or a dremel if you have one) a "thumb-nails" worth of wood...about 1/8 of an inch...or one quarter of the boards thickness. Miter them out so that the holes will match up when glued together. Sand the mitered portions lightly..ready, set, Gorilla Glue! Place a clamp on the glued pieces and let sit overnight. Love that gorilla glue!
While that is drying, construct the base. You may want to make something wider than I have, so I will not include the base construction here. For the main post, I used 2x2 square fence post boards that are super cheap, and super dry. You will want to seal these with some tung oil (or some other kind of wood oil) to keep them from splitting in the future. About 4 inches from the top of the pole, mark as center as possible and drill a hole slightly smaller than a
1/4 5/16 bolt. You want to pre-drill the hole to keep the wood from splitting, but you want it slightly smaller so that the threads will catch.
The next day gather up a
3 1/2 4 inch long 1/4 5/16 hex carriage bolt (preferably one that has about an inch near the top of the bolt that has no threads-if that cannot be found follow the intructions for making the "Wheel Shaft Carriage Bolt", page 3, of the PDF for making a little great wheel), two three regular 5/16 nuts, one 5/16 lock nut, and 4 washers that will fit the bolt. I drilled too big of a hole through the main shaft so I used wider than usual washers to steady the resulting wobble so I had to drill a slightly smaller hole above it with a 3/8 hole borring bit.
To put everything together, add a washer to the bolt, put the bolt through the cross arms (after glue has dried) first. Now add one washer and
one two nuts. You want to leave a small space between the first nut and the cross arms so there is enough room for the arms to swing freely, but not wobble, then tighten the second nut snuggly up to the first one. This keeps the first nut from coming unscrewed with continued use. Now add one more washer and insert the whole get-up through the main shaft. Add the last washer, and the lock nut. Hand tighten only. Now slide the pegs through all the holes and take pride in your newly made yarn winder. (BIG GRIN). I did not glue the pegs in so that I could take it apart for storage if I need to in the future. The pegs did not fall out when I tested it-although one peg is pointing downwards slightly because I do not have a bench press to drill perfectly stright holes with. What I will likely do is simmply add some rubber O rings to the ends to help prevent yarn from rolling off. My test skien did not roll off.
If you have any questions on the construction of this nifty home-made thang, feel free to ask. Be as specific as possible because "It's not working for me." will not enable me to help you at all.
Until next time...