I have been building boat shuttles for the past few years to hold 4" to 6" bobbins.  I've had some requests recently to make quill shuttles. I'm wondering what are the most useful sizes for quill shuttles for overall length and cavity length?  I'm assuming that the cavity length should be an inch longer than the length of the quill for adequate movement back and forth.  Is there an ideal height for the shuttle (somewhere between 5/8" and 1"), and are open or closed bottom shuttles preferred?  Thanks for any advice!



Sara von Tresckow

Since the cardboard quills can be easily snipped with a pair of Fiskars to fit any shuttle, and they cost very little compared to wood or plastic bobbins - your main concern should be the diameter of the rod that accepts the quill/bobbin.

Since Swedish boat shuttles have a thin metal rod, one can use either bobbins or quills. If your shuttles were built that way, you'd not need to make two different types.


I am no expert, so cant give you an answer, but I would love to know when you have them available.  I love your boat shuttles and find it hard to use any of my others.




It's also easy for the weaver to just make a quill. I've made my shuttles close bottomed and side fed and use home made quills. I have some 6" cavity and some 4-1/2" I think. My shuttle rod is the same diameter as my winder, 3/16" I beleive. Have a look as some manufacturer sites they list dimensions.


I had been weaving with "ordinary" Swe equipment for some 20 years before I first met an "ordinary" Am boat shuttle. It seemed (to me) to be very heavy, bulky, thick...

I weighed and measured 20 shuttles in my stash, all Swedish. 16 of them are old, some of these are "home made" (some quite crudely), 3 of them come from GAV-Glimåkra (2 old, 1 with the modern rod mechanism), one is an old damask shuttle.

They weighed from 54 to 97 grams (average 74), their overall length varies from 28 to 32,5 cm (most were 29), bobbin cavity from 9 to 14 cm (most between 10-11), height 2-3 cm (damask 1,5). All except 2 have closed bottom, because I prefer closed-bottom. All but three have a spring-mechanism for the rod (and all springs are to the right, if you look at the opening). Two of the old have a pin to lock the rod in, and one is the modern GAV model (which I do not like).

Three of the old ones have a metal reinforcement at the "noses" - two iron, one brass. These reinforcements are not there to add weight - they weigh 65, 70 and 72 grams respectively.

I always use paper quills - see description on my blog, here. Using paper quills means can easily adjust for cavity size.

Reinforced "nose":

Modern GAV mechanism:


Many thanks everyone for your detailed input about quill shuttles!


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