Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cable Reassignment Surgery--Making Your Boye NeedleMaster Tips Fit KnitPicks Cables



As you might know from previous posts, I adore Boye needles for lace, but loathe the cables. And, while I love KnickPicks tips for most other knitting, they are just too slippery for lace. But the cables, ah, they are masterpieces of flexibility. So, I thought, how difficult could it be to make Boye tips fit KnitPicks cables?

As it turns out, it's not too difficult. That hard part was figuring out who could do it. Jewelers refused--their tools are made for softer metals and they don't do much milling or screw thread tapping. Then I started to think about who fits odd things into other odd things. Hmm. DH bought a fancy laser gun sight a number of years ago and had it retrofitted to one of his handguns. Gunsmith. Bingo.

So I called one in a nearby town and paid a visit with my little sets of interchangeable knitting needles. He absolutely didn't even flinch at my requests. At least so I could see. He's probably laughing himself sick as I write this, but who cares? He got the job done.

Here's a KnitPicks cable attached to two sizes of Boye tips. Ha Ha!


Gunsmiths have little, tiny precision drill thingies and they spend a lot of time making part A fit Part B. It took him little more than an hour to retap all the Boye tips and fix the edges (the Boyes have a little indentation at the end). They fit perfectly. They knit lace perfectly. They are just PERFECT. Here's a closeup of the join.



You too can do this. Just call Neal Spruill at 770-503-7572. He will arrange for you to send him your tips. He is charging about $3.75 per tip. My advice is to not have the size 2 needles re-tapped. The walls are so thin that the the milling shows a bit on the outside. And the #2s are as slick as KnitPicks anyway. And probably you shouldn't bother with the sizes greater than #11--do you really knit lace on those?

[Note added later: I took him all my Boyes and had him amputate the awful cables and mill the tips for the KnitPicks cables. It is not necessary to own or purchase the NeedleMaster set to have your own BoyePicks. You can buy Boye circulars really, really cheaply on Ebay. And I should add that these needles are exceptionally lightweight. I was quite surprised at how they compared to the KnitPicks and Addis, weightwise.]

I had one other job for Neal, and he did a perfect job on this too. See this needle?



It's a KnitPicks #3. Not an Options needle, so there's no hole for a lifeline. I had him drill a hole in the needle. It's perfectly smooth. I am going to take him all my other fixed-cable needles and have the holes drilled. When you need a lifeline, the hole saves a LOT of time.

Notice, by the way, that the KnitPicks shiny nickel finish is turning black. The surface is pitting a bit, too. Not a good portent for longeivity.

20 comments:

Paula said...

Thanks for the info, you're a genius!

Batty said...

That's so clever! I love my Boyes, the only thing that could be improved, IMHO, are the cables. But that's it. Not that I'd break any other needles on purpose, but if it happened...

Alex said...

That is so cool. What a great idea!

NancyMaria said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AR said...

What a great idea!

I'm a little worried about my Options. I've been seeing some blog posts about problems. :(

prostiturtle said...

That is so awesome! How ingenious! I bet that gunsmith gets a lot of phone calls about this.

Nancy Maria said...

My lower jaw dropped open reading your blog!! You are incredible!! You are a genius!!
I thank you and thank you for sharing that information. You actually should write a "Tips" book!
NancyMaria in Wa

fearoflight said...

So smart! Thank you.

Ina said...

Found your post via Ravelry. What a fantastic idea! Thank you!

msmelody said...

I love this idea. Does having the size 2 taped change the way the yarn slides or is it just cosmetic change in the needle? I would love have most of my needles re tapped to use the Knit Picks cables.

shelly said...

i just bought my first pair of interchangeable needles BOYE. havent even use them yet but now i know what to do with them if i want to become a lace knitter. do you only knit lace with these new combined needles? or have you ventured into other projects?

also ..the hole, the lifeline? what is the lifeline for and why do you need a hole??please respond.

shelly said...

small request. PLEASE...

if you have the chance can you compare this set you have engineered from BOYE needles with knitpicks cables to ADDI TURBO interchangeables. i was considering calling your gunsmith until i learned today that addi turbo have made interchangeable needles.

very curious to hear from you about the comparison!

shelly said...

i would like to communicate with neil by email. does he have an email address?

shelly said...

i have a gunsmith who is wiiling to help, but first he needs to order a 2-56 tap. then he'll call back. so i think this may be an easier project than i suspected. question: please tell me about lifelines. i have 4 KPO cables with little holes in the ferules...is the lifeline? i didnt think so by looking at your blog posts. it looks like you asked to put lifeline holes in the needles themselves. my boye needle tips dont have lifelines..should i ask him to put them there?

shelly said...

my local gunsmith tried this with a 3-25 and 2-25 tap. he managed to get the size 3 boye needles and size 7 to work perfectly. but he enlarged several other needles so they wont fit; what do i do now? he also DESTROYED two to 3 tips...bent all out of shape. what do i do? can i buy more needles tips? should I? should i give into another interchangeable set?

shelly said...

the gunsmith i went to did not mill the cable endings but tried to change the needle tips inside..is that the wrong approach? obviously he destroyed 3 tips. and enlarged a few other tips so they wouldnt fit..should i find another gunsmith? jeweler..give up?

sosoclever said...

I just got pointed here by Ravelrist (? Ravelrier? whatever) achrisvet. This is excellent. If I can't find a machinist in my area who can do it, I think I might be sending my points to Neal. Thank you!

Bluebird49 said...

I know this is 3 years old, but I'm still continueing to find out what a genius you are in all things kntting. Amazing--I'm going searching for those Boyes I hid so long ago because of the awful cables!

Robin said...

I located this blog post sometime in October 2009. Pure ingenuity! Thanks!

At the same time I came across another blog post by "wingsrising" who gives an elaborate description about how she tapped her own needles after reading Fleegle's blog.

Personally, I wanted a solution where I could have it all--the Boye set intact and use the Options cables as well. To do it, all I would need is the 3-56 plug tap, an extra pair of Boye couplers, and 2-56 machine screws long enough (1.25 inches) to screw into one end of the coupler, cut the head off to screw tightly into the needle end. I tapped the other end of the coupler, enlarging the hole for the Options cable and Voila!

I only had to do one pair, not an entire set of needles. Without the retrofit coupler, I can still use the Boye cables (for sturdy work).

Cathy said...

What Robin said. I too wanted the option of using either the Needlemaster cables or the KP cables. I bought 5 pairs of couplers on sale for $1 each, a box of 2-56 screws from Radio Shack, and headed to my local gunsmith. He will call me in a few days to come pick them up.