Choosing a Boat Shuttle

What is the best size for a boat shuttle?

Boat shuttles typically range in length from 11 to 13 inches.  They are seldom more than 1 inch tall or 2 inches wide.  Bulk shuttles with very blunt ends may not travel through the shed as well as the longer, more tapered designs.


What is the best size boat shuttle for use on a table loom?

Since table looms typically have smaller sheds, a shuttle less than an inch in height is often a good choice.


What is the best shuttle for fine threads or linen?

A shorter (11-12”) slender shuttle that is comfortable to throw is a good choice.  A spindle length of 5” will hold a bobbin / quill 4” long.


What type of shuttle is best for thicker yarns?

Shuttles with longer spindles (6” or more) that hold more yarn are useful for thicker yarns.  This will mean a shuttle that is 13 to 15 inches long.


How can I keep from dropping my shuttle?

Frequent drops usually indicate that the shuttle is too heavy for you.  Try using a smaller, lighter one.


Do I want a solid bottom, open bottom, or one with rollers?

Solid bottom shuttles glide across the warp easily and are ideally suited for those just starting to weave.  Open bottom shuttles permit using a finger to stop the bobbin / quill.  This is especially useful with narrow warps that can generate little loops of weft on the selvedge.  Roller bottoms are useful for very wide warps, especially with fine threads.


What’s the best shuttle for wide weaving?

Longer shuttles (13-15”) will travel easier across wider warps.  The added length also helps throwing the shuttle on a straight path.


Should I use a bobbin or a quill?

In either case, they should be ¾ to 1” shorter than the shuttle spindle.  The ends on bobbins make them easier for beginners.  However, bobbins sometimes produce a stronger pull on the yarn resulting in selvedge problems.  Using quills can eliminate the “pull” issue.  Quills are recommended for fine yarns, smaller shuttles and smaller sheds.  They typically turn smoother than bobbins are quieter when weaving.