I put this on my blog, but I think there are some people here who might like to see it as well.
(I made a video of this too that I will try to put up to YouTube, but it will take me time, because the old video camera's not compatible with my current computer.)
In the early 1970s, thread manufacturers stopped using the wooden spools for their thread. This was strictly due to cost. A wood spool cost them between 2.5 and 4.5 cents per, where as a plastic spool cost half that. Financially, it made sense.
Unfortunately, the sewing experience doesn’t seem to be the same. Plastic spools hop all over the place, they’re loud, and let’s face it, they’re ugly too. I really think the older machines like the wood spools better too. They're heavier and harder to "spin around" and mess with the tension.
In another thread, we were discussing why you couldn’t rewind some of these old spools. The easy answer is “there’s no product on the market that will do it”.
Yesterday, I came across a photo of a Two Spools machine that was winding a wood spool, and I decided it had to be possible for “the rest of us”.
Note: This process will work better with a top mounted bobbin winder. It may work with a side mounted winder, but it may limit the size of the spool you can use. It should work with a Side Winder too. I can’t see a way it would work with a Self-winding bobbin. Also, for pretty obvious reasons, it won’t work with the long bobbins.
I spent a little time with Google, and came up with a couple of hits that were interesting, including this one:
She does it to save a little cash on serger thread, which is a great idea.
Down the road, I will build myself a stand alone one, based on some ideas I formulated today while working on this.
So, I thought about it, there’s no reason it wouldn’t work with wood spools, except that I didn’t want to hot glue anything to them, it sort of ruins the "authentic" look to have a bobbin glued to the top.
Enter the “Hook and Loop” tape. Or Velcro for those who like the brand names.
I have these little circular H&L disks, and they’re self sticking. That’s important here. Normally with a sewing machine, self-stick is the last thing you want. Yuck, I did that once, what a mess that made.
Step 1: Stick a little H&L disk onto the top of the bobbin, then the matching disk onto the wooden spool. Try to get it centered, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. You’ll have to hold the spool when winding it anyway. (Any self sticking H&L tape will work, just cut it to the approximate size of the bobbin)
Now put the two pieces together.
Step 2: Install the bobbin where it belongs on your machine.
Step 3: Set your machine up to wind a bobbin, per the manufacturer’s instruction manual. If there’s a guide just before the bobbin, like the one you see below that helps the bobbin fill evenly, you may need to skip it. It won’t help it in this case, so we’ll be manually making sure the thread is wound on evenly.
Step 4: Wind a few rotations on. Make sure you wind in the right direction, or when you start to wind for real, it will just come undone. The bobbin winder on the Singer 411G winds clockwise, so I wind the thread that counter clockwise before I start the wind.
The other thing you can do is tape the thread to the spool. Make sure that you tape it in the right direction though, or the wind will take it off again.
Step 5: Let ‘er rip. In the photo below, you’ll notice that I’m not holding the spool. This is for the photo only. I found that when I got it moving fairly fast that the spool came off the bobbin and flew across the room. It’s best to gently put a finger on top of the spool to stop it from lift off.
Step 6: Once the wind is complete (either your wood spool is full, or you’ve run out of thread on the donor spool), you can remove the spools, and place the wood one on the spool pin, thread up your machine and start sewing with it.
That’s it! Happy Authentic-Looking Vintage Sewing