Yarn Ball Winder

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Project by Jim Jakosh posted 12-16-2016 08:18 PM 30934 views 31 times favorited 66 comments Add to Favorites Watch

At the last craft show I sold a couple yarn bowls and one lady said that they sell a winder to make the balls to put in the yarn bowls. I looked them up and made mine along the lines of a Strauch winder with a few changes.

This was kind of a personal challenge – just to to see if I could make a winder that works. I made it all out of cherry wood and had many designs before I settled on this way of mounting all the spinning parts. Everything that turns is bushed with a Delrin bushing and turns on a solid brass post. The crank wheel pivot top and the driver cone are also brass. The arm opposite the spindle I suspected was a counterweight so I made a couple of 1/4” thick lead weights and buried them under the walnut plugs. It was cleaner than the wide steel arm flying around on the Straunch winder. I wanted antique looking wheels so I cut them out on the scroll saw to look like those old cast wheels. I put 6 skid-proof pads glued in pockets on the bottom to keep it in place.

The clamp is 1/4” x 1” steel. Heated and bent and tapped for the clamp screw.

For the drive belt and the O ring for turning the spindle I used .160” dia. rubber O ring rubber and CA glued them together with the help of a little jig I made for aligning the ends.

It is finished with Danish oil and then Clear Gloss lacquer.

Here is a video I made of it working.

Some process shots:

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

66 comments so far

View peteg's profile


4438 posts in 4319 days

#1 posted 12-16-2016 08:38 PM

Man you really do like a challenge, what a fabulous working apparatus Jim made to the standard that we have all come to expect of course,
cheers Bud

How’s the weather around you? we have had reports of all sorts of crappy snow etc up your way in MI

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Ivan's profile


17331 posts in 4364 days

#2 posted 12-16-2016 08:41 PM

Outstanding built from technical and woodworking point of view, but I don’t have a clue what this is. Looking at the video I soppose it is some knitting accessorie.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View oldsawtooth's profile


160 posts in 2771 days

#3 posted 12-16-2016 08:41 PM

Hey Jim that is a awesome piece of craftmens ship love the cherry wood. Merry Christmas

-- James,Alabama,

View nomercadies's profile


590 posts in 3835 days

#4 posted 12-16-2016 08:54 PM

Nice. I know women who would love one of these. This might be a nice way to pick up women at the book club. (they knit too)

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

View htl's profile


5628 posts in 2656 days

#5 posted 12-16-2016 09:01 PM

Nice project, and love the style of the spokes turned out really well.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View tyvekboy's profile


2185 posts in 4509 days

#6 posted 12-16-2016 09:05 PM

Nice project. Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Any chance you have plans for it?

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Underdog's profile


1917 posts in 3532 days

#7 posted 12-16-2016 09:42 PM

Wow! Love it when an engineered project looks so nice! Gteat job!

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8662 posts in 4849 days

#8 posted 12-16-2016 10:14 PM

Wow! I’m impressed! This is a complex project. My wife doesn’t knit…That may be a good thing Because this looks very challenging to make! Nice work! Great finish!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2847 posts in 5180 days

#9 posted 12-16-2016 10:22 PM

A great piece of engineering Jim, nice scrollsawing on the wheels, you could have a market for this.

-- RIP Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View Albert's profile


566 posts in 5086 days

#10 posted 12-16-2016 10:47 PM

Great job on a complex project. Make a couple of needles and you will be knitting with the best of them.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4644 days

#11 posted 12-16-2016 11:12 PM

Masterful piece of engineering and design! I, too, think there is a market for these things!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27827 posts in 4602 days

#12 posted 12-16-2016 11:20 PM

Thank you all for the nice comments. I don’t know what I’ll do with it now that it is done??

Hi Pete, we have a big snow storm coming in tonight It is just starting. I love it for driving the Subaru in the fresh snow on the road!!

Hi Ivan, it winds yarn from a skein into a ball and that ball feeds from the inside out for a constant feed without tangling. I have another idea for the yarn too once I get a piece of 4” pvc to make a mock up.!!

Hi Larry, I don’t think my wife would like me trying that!!

Hi Bob, now that I have figured it all out, the second one would be easier to make but I don’t like production. I’m retired!! The tricky part it to get that cone at the right height for good engagement of the O ring on the spool wheel. It it is too loose, the yarn can back up for the tension, too tight and it cranks real hard. I have 3 shims under that cone for adjustment.

Hi Dean, there are tons of them available on line from $20 to $500 for an electric powered one. This one compares to the $175 one from Straunch but wthl more details added.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Grumpy's profile


26811 posts in 5347 days

#13 posted 12-16-2016 11:28 PM

Well done Jim

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4300 days

#14 posted 12-16-2016 11:38 PM

Some super fine engineering and fabrication Jim. Gr8 stuff

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View lew's profile


13547 posts in 5252 days

#15 posted 12-17-2016 12:26 AM

I tried to figure out how the yarn would create a ball- before watching your video. I was at a total loss! That mechanism is absolutely ingenious!

Beautiful build, Jim!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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