I have been working, just not much inspired to write or shoot photographs. Most of my recent work has been to rive and plane stock for upcoming joinery work. so there’s piles of shavings going out of the shop daily, and stacks of short sections of red oak stickered here & there.

But today, I read Rick’s post at Blue Oak and immediately thought of my everyday Spofford brace. Rick’s post  is about our friend Pret’s knack with tying and twisting stuff to bind things together. It’s amazing what he does, me – I can barely tie my shoes. 

We all worked together in years past, with even more scruffy people, and the fun we had couldn’t be measured. But we also from time to time made stuff that was eye-opening or inspiring. Alexander got me interested in Spofford type braces.  I have two I use regularly. Spofford braces come in a few patterns, and I like the ones with wooden handles and heads. Here’s the small swing example I have. 

spofford intact

spofford orig condition

The wider swing one I have had broken pewter rings (or are they lead?) that bind the wooden handle. I kept using it, but my fingers would get pinched in the wooden bits from time to time. One day I showed it to Pret and he said he could make it work again. He bound it with waxed linen cord – this repair is easily 15 years old, probably older, and it’s still as tight today as the morning he stopped in my shop and wound it up. 

spofford repaired
repaired spofford brace
waxed linen thread
waxed linen thread

Nice work. Rick’s post took me back to days when we  never knew what was going to happen next…


6 thoughts on “wind-up

  1. I have to say, the Spoffords with wooden head and handle are also my favorite braces. The rings are indeed pewter, and pretty easy to replace if you have some scrap pewter to melt; I had one wired together and cast new rings. I like the thread repair on yours, though.

  2. Something here tells me that the shortest distance btwn 2 points is a straight line, wound round a broken brace handle.

  3. Spools of waxed linen cord were always around the house when I was a kid. My Dad worked for the New York Telephone Co. as an installer and waxed linen cord was one of the staples they used along with tinned copper core lashing wire. Very handy stuff.

  4. I thought of the electrical wiring and cable lacing as soon as I saw the repair too. It’s still used in aerospace wire bundles to hold them together. Very sturdy stuff.

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