How to Make English Wool Combs

Written by vivian gomez | 13/05/2017
How to Make English Wool Combs
English wool combs prepare wool for the loom. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

English wool combs have been used since the Middle Ages to prepare wool for spinning by separating the wool fibres so they all run parallel to each other. The longer the teeth on an English wool comb, the more wool you can comb at one time. You can make your own English wool comb with a few supplies you can get at your local hardware or home-improvement supplies store. Customise your comb depending on the wool you use. Fine wool requires smaller nails placed close to one another, whereas courser wool requires you use larger, thicker nails spaced further apart.

Set up your work area. Place the piece of wood measuring 1/2-by-4-by-24-inches in front of you and have your tools within reach.

Drill 24 holes in a row onto the 1/2-by-4-by-24-inch piece of wood to accommodate the 16d nails.

Leave a space 1/4-inch from the row of holes you just drilled and drill a second row to accommodate the 16d nails. The second row has 23 holes, as they are offset to the first row.

Leave a space 1/4-inch from the second row you drilled, and drill the third row to accommodate the 8d nails. The third row has 24 holes, aligned with the first row. You are ready to cut down the comb part of your English wool comb.

Saw off excess wood to form the comb section, leaving a border 1/2-inch between the holes you drilled and the edge of the wood. Sand the wood down and insert the 16d and 8d nails.

Affix the clamps to the comb section so the nail heads face up.

Mix epoxy and the catalyst in a disposable cup, stirring it with a wooden stick or paint stirrer. Add a coat of the mixture to the tops of the nail heads. Set the comb section aside for 24 hours so the epoxy can dry thoroughly.

Use four wood screws to attach the piece of wood measuring 1/2-by-2-by-24-inches perpendicular to the comb section. After affixing the comb's handle, cut it down or leave it as is. Sand the wood down if you do decide to shorten the handle.

Things you need

  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Hammer
  • 16d 3.5-inch nails
  • 8d 2.5-inch nails
  • 1 piece of wood, 1/2-by-4-by-24-inches
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Clamps
  • Epoxy
  • Catalyst
  • Disposable cup
  • Wood stick or paint stirrer
  • 1 piece of wood, 1/2-by-2-by-24-inches
  • 4 wood screws

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