Introduction: Thistle Wind Indicator

About: I enjoy everything

I use to pull some thistle from the woods to check the wind; with this in mind, I decided to make a holder. A holder that will keep the thistle dry and handy. It is nice to have some thistle available any time of the year.

You only need a few thistles down (aka fluff)  to find the wind direction and speed for kite flying, archery, fly-fishing. Just pull it out of holder, throw it up, and watch the direction it floats and rate at which it flies away. Cattail and milkweed seeds can also be used

Step 1: Get Started

I started with some used ½ copper water pipe (other sizes could be used). Start with a piece greater than 2 inches.

Step 2: Clean and Cut Center Section

I used emery paper to clean the tarnish off, about 3 inches; I find it easier to clean the pipe before cutting. In addition, it seems easier to clean the pipe while it is longer. I used a permanent marker to place a mark at 2 inches. I used my quick snap pipe cutter; to cut the pipe to length.

Step 3: Flaring the Center Section

I deburred both ends of the cut section of pipe with  files - the inside and the outside diameter. I used a ½-inch punch with a taper to flare both ends. A slight flare helps create a good friction fit with the caps. The caps are designed to be solder to stay on; so the fit must be modified for the friction fit. Wood is used to prevent damage to the opposite end when flaring. Please note the size described for the punch is the punch hole diameter not the outer steel size. Other tools could be used to flare the ends, this is what I had handy.

Step 4: Flaring the Caps

I used a 9/16 inch punch with a taper to flare both caps. A slight flare on the caps creates a good slip fit with the pipe section. I previously mention a friction fit but I also want the caps to slide further over the center section at least 75 percent.  

To loosely describe the fit: the center section must be flared to friction fit the caps original size and the caps must be flared to a larger diameter to allow the center section to slide further up into the cap.

Step 5: Decorating

To maintain the shape of the center section while using decorative steel stamps; I inserted a section of steel pipe to match the inner diameter. Various metal stamping / punches were used to decorate both the center section and the caps. Time and patience is needed to maintain the shapes for good fit. I added a section of brass tube just as additional decoration.

Step 6: Accessories

I added a broach pin onto one of the wind indicatores to attach to my jacket.  I used easy flow solder to connect the pin to the center section.

Step 7: Collect and Load Thistles

I collected and dried a quart size zip baggie of thistles down (aka fluff). Load a small amount of thistle into center section, watching not to over pack. It is easier to pull loose thistle from the holder, over the tightly packed.  The tweezers help pull apart the bunched thistle. I keep the extra thistle in the baggie.

Step 8: Finished Examples

Examples of finished Thistle Wind Indicator. Decorated, undecorated and with jacket pin.

Kite Contest

Finalist in the
Kite Contest