Half-moon Winding Sticks – to Make or Buy
Two years ago I wrote about some unusual homemade winding sticks I encountered in North Carolina (read the article here). Instead of using inlay to help broadcast a board’s twisted state to your eyes, these used a pair of half-moon cutouts.
They worked brilliantly, perhaps better than any other set I’ve used before.
This summer I made myself a quick pair while in Germany. These were made with a Forstner bit in a drill press. I bored in from each face of the board, leaving a 3/16”-thick strip in the middle. Then I sawed, chiseled and rasped out the waste below. My goal was to imitate the way the originals were made (but maybe make them look a little nicer).
While at the Lie-Nielsen Open House this weekend, I spotted a commercial version of these winding sticks being made by Red Rose Reproductions. They are beautifully made and cost $50. Dan Schwank at Red Rose makes them by inlaying the top strip into a groove in the stick. His work is practically flawless – I had to look closely to see the joint.
If you are looking for a style of winding stick to try, I definitely recommend this half-moon style (unless you have a really dark shop; then they are not as effective). The half-circle shapes quickly telecast the shape of the board to your eyes (even if you have older eyes). Make them, if you have the time and inclination, or support the good work Dan does by buying them from Red Rose.
— Christopher Schwarz