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Thread: Sailmaker's Needles

  1. #1

    Default Sailmaker's Needles

    I will admit up front that I'm not much of a sewer. I only know how to do the simplest stuff, maybe attach a button or do a rough fix to a busted strap or seam. But occasionally I do have to sew despite my lack of general ability so I like to be prepared, especially in my camping and hiking gear. Not being very knowledgeable or experienced I had always figured that a needle is a needle so I just get something at WM that's about the size I need. But recently I "splurged" and bought some sailmaker's needles from a British outfit called Wm. Smith & Son and I was floored! Maybe this is common knowledge to everyone else but in case there are other sewing nOObs out there I figured to post this. Their needles are practically objets d'art! If I understand correctly their hand made (or at least hand finished) and exquisitely so. They have three sides points that are very precisely formed and extremely sharp. They're much more rigid and just, well, precise vs the ones you get from big box stores.

    This might not make me a better tailor but color me impressed by the quality! I'm confident that these will hold up a lot better if I need to stitch leather or 1000D nylon.

  2. #2
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    SE/SW Wisconsin


    Those are a heck of a deal....last go around I bought 2 pkgs for real cheap.

    They were out of the 5" version,.... so ended up with the 2-1/2 needles....that work well for what I do....sheaths pack straps, pouches etc.

    Still have a couple of 6" needles...long enough to go thru 2 layers of leather....then pull thru with a leather glove.

    The 3 sides make a hole that closes back up when you pull thru the thread or sinew.....

    Nice find....and thanks for bringing it up....
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
    Evoking the 50 year old rule...
    First 50 years...worried about the small stuff...second 50 years....Not so much
    Member Wahoo Killer knives club....#27

  3. #3
    Senior Member Graf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Fenton, Michigan


    I have a couple of sailers needles work great for the inner threads of paracord, have one in my wallet all the time
    Semper Paratus

  4. #4
    Senior Member Manwithnoname's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Land of the free, home of the brave.


    Being a former USCG bosn mate I have long been in the habit of carrying a couple of sail needles in the bill of my cap. Another tool you might look into to use with those needles is a palm, or sailmakers palm. A leather loop with a thumbhole with a dimpled slug formed in the palm. Isbused to push the needle through heavy canvas or leather. You can also get a hunk of beeswax to use as a lub when sewing heavy stuff and also a protective coating for you needle.

  5. #5


    The ones I bought were an assortment of #14-#18. Pretty good range of sizes. I do understand that generally it's best to use the smallest needle that will get the job done. I prefer ones large enough to have an eye that will accept bankline.


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