More Lucets

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Project by horologist posted 04-21-2013 11:59 PM 4977 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Yes, more lucets.

Some time ago I made some lucets from scrap wood during a visit to the Workshop in the Woods. These are used for making knotted cords.

Previous Project

Last summer I made two from more exotic woods on our annual trip. Both are woods I have never worked with before.

On the way to the UP Cathy spotted some wenge during a visit to the Frank Miller Lumber Co and requested one made from this material. Fabrication was straightforward although you only have to walk past the board to get splinters, I finished it with a water based varnish.

The second is from a scrap of ebony my brother in law gave to me to experiment with and was made as a surprise for Cathy. Ebony is wonderful stuff and in many ways works more like metal than wood. The lucet is sanded to 600 grit and finished with wax only. I was afraid of making it too slick as this would make the tool hard to use. The closeup image shows how nicely the end grain finishes and also shows some defects. (cringe) Cathy is happy though so I will pretend they aren’t there.

-- Troy in Melrose, Florida

8 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30597 posts in 3345 days

#1 posted 04-22-2013 12:05 AM

Not necessarily something for everyone, but a beautiful piece all the same.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Schwieb's profile


1915 posts in 4468 days

#2 posted 04-22-2013 12:15 AM

Hi Troy, Good to know you are still at it. Now where are those defects? Beautiful, I’d love to see them in action.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 4945 days

#3 posted 04-22-2013 01:41 AM

I have made 2 myself, but never used them. Leaned more towards marudai and kumihimo…

-- Steven

View horologist's profile


106 posts in 4746 days

#4 posted 04-22-2013 02:23 AM

Yes, I suppose it is an odd project but well suited for someone with a shortage in shop space and fee time.

Ken, I’m sure Cathy would happy to give a demonstration.

Steven, you have made more work for me. I made the mistake of asking her if she had ever heard of these things…. I now have a photo in a book and some idea of what to do but am unsure of how heavy to make the bobbins. Did you make your marudai?

-- Troy in Melrose, Florida

View GnarlyErik's profile


344 posts in 3141 days

#5 posted 04-22-2013 03:17 AM

Nicely done! I love the grace these have, and I’ve learned something new . . . Thanks for sharing.

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3968 days

#6 posted 04-25-2013 11:08 AM

OK, what is a lucet?

View horologist's profile


106 posts in 4746 days

#7 posted 04-26-2013 01:22 AM

A lucet is a tool for making knotted cords that dates back Medieval times or possibly the Vikings. (Apparently there is some dispute about this.) The cord is square in section and can be used to make ties for clothing, bags, or even as jewelry.

Click here for a video showing how its done.

-- Troy in Melrose, Florida

View horologist's profile


106 posts in 4746 days

#8 posted 06-15-2013 10:44 PM

Addendum…… Lucet Failure

I forgot to add this one to my original post but was recently reminded by Sodabowski’s use of CA glue to reinforce spalted wood, must be the trauma of the experience.

Cathy loves mangoes and requested a lucet made from mango wood. While some may find the fruit quite tasty, near as I can tell the wood is rather boring. I found a guy in Hawaii selling spalted mango and thought I had a clever solution. When the package arrived I got to work but was a little concerned as the wood was rather punky. Sure enough during that one last tweak on the sander the thing snapped in two. A quick trip to Ace for some CA glue and all seemed well. I thought I might soak the entire thing in CA to reinforce the wood only during the process I managed to glue it to my fingers and you guessed it…. Snap. At least I provided some entertainment for my dad and he correctly surmised that this wasn’t going to work.

I’m stubborn.

I can’t remember how many times I broke the $#%&@* thing during the subsequent repair and finishing process. Cathy loves the way it looks but is afraid to use it.

So in the world of lucets this is a wall hanger, a dust collector, all form no function.

On a brighter note, she loves the weight and feel of the ebony lucet and it is now her favorite. If you plan to make one I highly recommend ebony after using more expendable woods to get the sizing right.

-- Troy in Melrose, Florida

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