By now most of you have probably heard about the “bad Boye” shuttles. Marilee Rockley and Lace-lovin’ Librarian Diane have both mentioned them, and I’m sure I’ve read about them in a few other places as well. I ordered some from Overstock.com some time back at a bag of 50 shuttles for something like $16. When you think of how much you pay for a pack of one or two this price seems too good to be true. I figured that they would be seconds (not in perfect condition) but thought for that price I wouldn’t need a whole lot of the them to be usable to be worth the cost. I’d go through them to see what could be fixed, maybe bling a few of them, and have them ready to hand out to potential students. For that price they sounded like a good deal.
Almost all of the shuttles looked like they haven’t been ‘finished’: the sides aren’t sanded down, lots of rough places here and there. That is easily taken care of with a little fine grit sand paper. Besides that the most notable problem are the tips are crooked to each other, but usually close enough together to keep thread from unwinding when dropped to untwist thread. The picture below doesn’t show well some of these faults. The one on the left actually has a finger print in the plastic. I think I can get this out with sand paper and elbow grease.
The red shuttle is one I’ve had for years, a Boye showing it was made in Chicago; the other is one of the bad Boyes. They are similar in shape though the tip on the new one looks like it hasn’t been finished nicely (all of them in the bag have tips like this). They also feel different when holding them; they don’t have as much “heft” as the old ones, feeling lighter and, well, cheaper.
I have sanded and decorated a few of these shuttles . Once the rough edges are sanded off they work okay, and once they’ve been blinged they don’t look too bad, either. The top two have material on them, the other four have paper and all work pretty well.
Now I had a different technique I wanted to try.
First I removed the tips and sanded down all the edges as well as removing all the writing on them. Next I put a coat of black spray paint on to cover the two shuttles inside and out, then painted them with metallic paint, one gold and one silver. While they were still wet I wiped some of the metallic paint off to give them an antiqued look – I hoped. They looked pretty cool. Then I sprayed them with an acrylic sealer – and the paint crackled. They actually look pretty good. The crackling isn’t bad to feel, just giving the shuttles a bit of grip. No flakes or anything like that.
The problem with these two shuttles are the tips. I like having a point on shuttles, usually using Clover shuttles, but not the big, wide tips these Boyes have. For my next experiment I decided to sand down the point to be more inline with what I like to work with as well as the edges and words again. This time I used Rub N’ Buff in Spanish Copper.
I love the look of this! It definitely has to have a sealer coat on it or the thread gets dirty and the finish will come off. But it looks and feels good!
Reformed bad Boyes. They look, and work, much better now.
There are a few other colors I plan on trying and possibly another technique or two. Why not? I have a whole bag of shuttles to play with. Maybe I can reform a few more ‘bad’ Boyes.
“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.”