I am recently exploring a new craft: Nålebinding. I started using regular large plastic needles. But sadly, these are a little bit too small and soft for this craft, so the eyelets often break.

I have seen people using needles made from bone, antler or wood. Since I live in a woody area, I would like to know if anybody has experience in making needles from wood? It would have to look something like this:

enter image description here

I have some small woodworking tools, but I have never used them. They were a gift from somebody else that gave up on woodworking after not succeeding a few times.

So, my questions basically are:

  • What is a good sort of wood to make a needle from?
  • How do I start? Do I make the eyelet first, or the needle shape?
  • Are there any things that I, as an absolute beginner, should be aware of?
  • 2
    I can't answer your question, but if you haven't already, I would check out the Society for Creative Anachronism and see if they have any resources available to help answer some of your questions. It is a group that is focused on medieval reenactments, and I myself learned naalbinding from members of the group. I know many of them make their own tools, so they may have resources that can help you if no one here is able to answer.
    – magerber
    Sep 14, 2017 at 0:07
  • Suggestion: bamboo. That sort of flat strips from which tweezers are made should be pretty good for this.
    – Chris H
    Oct 12, 2017 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I've never actually made a needle for naalbinding, but I have done some other wood carving and the principles are the same.

The site from which you (presumably) got your picture lists a few materials that naalbinding needles can and have been made from, including the following:

  • juniper
  • rowan tree
  • honeysuckle
  • lilac
  • olive tree
  • fruit trees (like apple tree)
  • ice cream sticks

From the above, you can probably conclude that any reasonable wood (I.E. not balsa) will do.

I found a tutorial that suggests making the basic shape first, but given that making the eye is probably the trickiest bit I would make it first before carving the shape.

As always, the main thing to be aware of is safety. If using a knife, always cut away from you, and take appropriate steps with whatever other equipment you may use.

Apart from that, the only thing that's required is a small amount of (what looks to be very cheap) material and some practice.

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