Nalbinding Needle

Introduction: Nalbinding Needle

About: Electronics, metalwork, machining and tinkering

Just a short little instructable on some of the steps I used to make a Nalbinding needle. A nalbinding (or naalbinding) needle is a small needle about 5 to 12cm in length usually carved out of wood or bone. It's used in nalbinding, a type of knitting/crocheting that uses only one needle and was used even before the Viking age.

*NOTE* Sorry for the poor image quality and some steps don't have pictures because I was in two minds on whether or not to upload this..

This is my first 'ible, so expect imperfections (imperfections are what humans long for anyway, right? ;-) )

Step 1: Tools & Materials:

This is one of those projects that you could do with just about anything.. Hell, you could make a perfectly good nalbinding needle by pairing a twig down with an ol' knife!

Since this was for someone though, I tried to make it look nice too.. I used maple from a 50 year old floorboard to make mine as this was.. well... what I had. It turned out to be a great choice though, the tight grain makes it nice to work with and effortlessly smooth.

Like i said before, this can be done with just a knife but the tools I ended up using were as follows:

  • Backsaw/handsaw
  • Chisel
  • Drill press
  • Belt sander
  • Dremel/rotary tool (really not necessary..)

Step 2: Marking Out:

Using the first image as a reference, i came up with the rough dimensions that can be seen in the picture above. I then glued some graph paper (1mm x 1mm) onto a piece of the maple and drew the curved lines by bending a ruler to the curvature I wanted and awkwardly traced that onto the paper. In hindsight, I should have drew the curve on one side, folded the paper in half and then cut it out before sticking it to the wood to make sure it was symmetrical, but que sera..

Step 3: Shaping & Hacking:

I first drilled the hole on my pillar drill and then cut the piece of wood in half along the grain. It should be about 4 or 5mm thick for it to look/feel right but for right now you can leave it a bit chubby. I then proceeded to hack out the shape with a backsaw and a chisel, focusing mainly on two dimensions first (looking down on the graph paper side). I sanded that edge first until I was happy with it and then I tapered the piece a bit by using the saw and a chisel.

At this stage, it should look terrible. (If it doesn't, you have low standards and I envy you..) But don't fret! The next stage is where the magic happens!

Step 4: Sanding:

This is where you smooth and even everything out to make it look nice-rerer.. I'd suggest using quite fine sandpaper since it's a very small piece but it's up to your discretion.

I used a handheld belt sander turned up on its back and continuously checked the maple piece when I was sanding to make sure I was doing it evenly and to see how much more sanding i needed to do on what side.. (If you're wondering, it flew off the sander about 6 times in total)

Step 5: Finishing Touches:

Just to make it look even better, I reamed out and chamfered both sides of the hole with a rotary tool.

I initially planned on oiling/waxing/varnishing the needle but it turned out so nice I didn't want to chance it..

And that's it! My first 'ible down and now you know how you can potentially get a cool hat! I think some constructive criticism is sorely needed and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks for lookin'!

3 People Made This Project!


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1 year ago

2 suggestions that would make the process easier and safer.
1. Use a coping saw, rather than the back saw and chisel for the initial shaping, and even to reduce the thickness. This will not only be easier to use, but you won't take the chance of cutting yourself with a sharp chisel.
2. Use the dremel with a drum sander attachment to do the final shaping. You're lucky the only thing that happened was the piece you were working on went flying! You could have lost the skin from your knuckles, or worse, a finger tip!


2 years ago

Thank you...very nice..I'm going to make one out of a nice chopstick


8 years ago on Introduction

I'm looking forward to the instructable on Nalbinding. Keep up the good work.

Very neat little doohickey, I'd love to see what it can make. Welcome to instructables, I hope you post more soon!

Seán Walsh
Seán Walsh

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the welcome! I'll put more pictures in when I get 'em :)