Friday 9 May 2014


After seeing Fox's Slider Shuttle, I decided to buy one.  I was too tempted by the wood called "Teal Burl" (teal being one of my favourite colours as we all know).   The Slider can be purchased here.

I tatted this very simple motif to test it from one of my favourite books ever:  DMC Tatting (ed. Thérèse de Dillmont) - this copy was gifted to me by my friend Megan and I love it!  Before that I had a printed copy off the internet (this book is now out of copyright and available on various sites) so it was sooo nice to have a real copy of the little book.

So, the shuttle.  Not quite as teal in colour as I had imagined but that's not a criticism.  Wood is a natural material and I understand that they will all look different.  I have to say that mine was too tight when I received it.  I had to stop tatting and use some force to be able to unwind thread from the bobbin.  What I like is to unwind as I tat in one seamless movement so no time is wasted.  Sandra contacted me and offered for me to return it and they would have been happy to fix it for me but I didn't want to wait and was happy to "tinker" and do it myself.  I had what's needed to sand things so I sanded the inside of the shuttle until I got a better tension.  It's good and smooth now.

The tension is regulated by friction on this shuttle unlike the GR-8 where you can tighten or loosen the screw (which I could never get to work right for me).  The screw in the Slider just serves as a post to hold the bobbin in place.  You can't increase tension by tightening the screw.  So the bobbin has to rub just right on the edges of the shuttle for tension to be nice to work with.

Top shuttle is GR-8
Bottom is Slider
You can see the size is very similar.

Here's where the main difference is:
The screw on the GR-8 sits right on top of the bobbin which means
you can tighten or loosen it to change tension.
(though I could never obtain a constant tension with it,
which for me, meant constantly fiddling with it as I tatted)

On the Slider, the screw sits on top of the wood, not the bobbin
which means the tightness or otherwise of the screw 
doesn't affect tension.

I bought my Slider shuttle with the tools - a winder and another tool to undo the screw and push it out.  But, I have to say that I still find it fiddly to need tools to take my shuttle apart every time I need to fill it or want to swap bobbins.  And there are more bits to lose!  That's why I prefer Aeros, no tools needed, you just push the bobbin out in a second.

But if you like small wood shuttles and don't mind the tools, then I'm pretty sure you'll like the Slider.

Here are some photos for comparison and I also took measurements because I thought it would be helpful to help get an idea of what the shuttle is like.  For me, I also prefer the slimness of Aeros though I realise it's perhaps more difficult to make a really slim wood shuttle.

See how dinky the Slider is?
I chose the one with two pointed ends.

The top one is Pop-A-Bobbin from Jane Eborall's Etsy shop
(I believe she will be listing quite a large batch soon).

Middle one is an Aero which I quickly made for myself
so I haven't re-shaped the neck on that one like I normally do.

Here is a side view.
(I changed the order to place them in thickness order
as in the above photo, they were in length order)

So, measurements:  LENGTH (without hook):  Pop-A-Bobbin 67mm
                                                                            Aero - 60mm
                                                                            Slider - 50mm 

                               THICKNESS:                     Pop-A-Bobbin - 19mm
                                                                            Aero - 11mm 
                                                                            Slider - 17mm

                                WEIGHT:                           Pop-A-Bobbin - 7g
                                                                            Aero - 3g 
                                                                            Slider - 7g

The weight is approximate in that my kitchen scales go up only in 1g increments but I know the Pop-a-Bobbin was closer to 8g.

Me?  I still love that the Aero is easy to use, slim, and very lightweight!  That doesn't mean that I won't keep being tempted by new goodies coming onto the market and wanting to try them out!  But so far… I'm sticking with my Aeros.

Best wishes,


  1. Very nice to have the comparisons, thank you!

  2. Nice write up, Frivile.

    If the top is not the fancy bit on the slider, it is upside down. If the hook faces the wrong way for you, you need a left-handed shuttle so that the hook faces to the right....Who knew? If you look at a photo of the tester, on tat -ology, you will see it is a left- handed model. Happenstance and luck as I need the hook facing right - as YOU well know!

    1. Well, I did notice that, for me, the decorative screw top was on the wrong side (or else the hook was facing the wrong way) but I don't see how I would need a "left-handed" shuttle, seeing as I'm right-handed!

    2. It doesn't really matter though which side up the fancy screw faces, you have your fingers on it while you tat! So not a problem.

  3. This is an excellent in-depth review!. I'm as passionate about bobbin shuttles (wood and plastic) as you are, and I appreciate the efforts of the woodworkers to overcome the difficulties of making wood bobbin shuttles!
    It is an engineering feat!

    Are you including the Aerlits in the Aero category? I think Aerlits are an excellent copy of the Aero, and I'm grateful for them! So far, mine haven't lost their tension (I have 3 so far), although at first they were a little stiff. Of course, I am not doing as much tatting right now as I would like!

    Although the Aeros made in England are the ultimate plastic shuttle for me (wish I bought more, as I have only 2!), I am amazed and grateful that Barbara Foster of Handy Hands actually pursued the development and manufacture of a copy of the Aeros. I think the Aerlits are a miracle (also an engineering feat!) ! I love all the color choices too!

    I also love my Pop A Bobbin, not only the look and feel of the wood and excellent crochet hook, but also the quiet aspect - no ratcheting sound. Similar wood bobbins were made for our tatting group by a local fellow back in the early '90s. When I finally get my blog improved with tabs, I will be explaining this story. Except for using the Tatsy for demos (it holds a large quantity of thicker thread/cotton yarn), I exclusively use bobbin shuttles to tat with. Your videos prove how super-efficient they are!

    1. Hi Kathy, thank you for your nice message. In answer to your question, no, I wasn't including the Aerlit in the Aero category. My experience with them has been a bit hit and miss. I have one that has kept good tension but others have become unusable quite quickly. I also thinks it's absolutely great that Barb took on the project (also like the choice of colours) but I think possibly the wrong type of plastic was chosen for the shuttle. The bobbins are great and I use them a lot but for my own purposes, I still prefer the Aeros and their more flexible plastic.

  4. Great review!

    Whenever I try out new shuttles, I always end up back with my Clovers, which I can buy for $3.20 for a pack of 2 with coupon. It's funny that the cheapest shuttles work the best for me. My shuttle fund will just have to keep going toward vintage and antique pieces for display :)

  5. Thank you for the review of the slider shuttle. And thank you for giving a side profile of the shuttle and doing the comparison with the other two shuttles. Most that I have are showing the top view.

    Now that I have seen it, I don't feel much of the urge to get the shuttle. Like Robin Perfetti commented earlier, I always go back to my clovers even after trying a number of different shuttles. While I prefer post shuttles, I do have a one or two bobbin type in my collection.

  6. Interesting post, nice to see the differences in the shuttles. That are a bit expensive I do prefer post shuttles without the hook.

  7. Interesting post. Thanks for taking the time to make these comparisons. I just recently bought from HandyHands a plastic GR8 shuttle. I was so excited to get this shuttle, finally when I got it. I made for myself a cup of tea, and got everything I needed so I would sit down and tat with no interruptions...what a disappointment! the shuttle has a couple of rough spots, but worse I could not make the screw to work the right tension. It is either too loose or too tight. I am not sure if there is anything special I need to do. ? I am thinking to return it and/or trade it for aeros.

    1. Unfortunately Laura, I had the same experience as you with the GR8. However I tried, I couldn't get the tension to work! I have it still in my collection (because I like owning a variety of shuttles) but I do not tat with it. Sadly.

    2. I think that "tension" is a little misleading... if you look at the tutorial you can see that the bobbin is unlocked to unwind thread and then locked again to continue tatting (by now there's also a video on YouTube showing that).

  8. Thanks for the excellent review! I also have a slider shuttle. My tension was perfect, but I still prefer my Clover shuttles. I think it's because I learned on a Susan Bates similar to the Clover, and I developed a rhythm that works for me. Still, I do turn to my bobbin shuttles on occasion. They're all so pretty!

  9. I used the screw to tighten the bobbin to where I wanted it then basically it wss 'set and forget'. The tension doesn 't go all over the place like the GR-8. Only time I adjust it is to put in or take out bobbin.

    1. Great. Very glad it's working well for you. I can't quite see on mine how adjusting the screw would make a difference as it sits on top of the wood and therefore playing with the screw, it seems to me, would not affect the tightness or otherwise of the bobbin. But I'm always happy to be proven wrong! :-)

    2. Tightening the screw should press the wood part together slightly... and that should tighten the tension. At least that's how it works with the Silent Tatters and the Sliders are said to work the same. (Can't say for sure since I only have the STs, no Slider...)

  10. That’s an Aerlit!!! Red inside??

    1. Mmm… yes? There's no red though so that's the dark pink one (Pink Berry?)


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