I received a fabulous boat shuttle from Anthony for Christmas. I had been using stick shuttles and the new boat shuttle is easier to use and faster. The only thing I was worried about was winding bobbins. Ideally, weavers have access to a "bobbin winder." These come either as a hand cranked or as a moter-powered devise. Niether version is terribly affordable. Winding bobbins by hand also did not seem like a great alternative - I would spend more time winding than I would actually weaving. So, I did a bit of online investigating trying to come up with a cheap alternative solution. The two best suggestions I found online were to 1. use a power drill and 2. to use a sewing machine bobbin winder.
To use a power drill, you replace the drill bit with a wooden dowel that is the right diameter to hold your bobbin securely. I found that a round pencil with an added layer of tape fit snuggly inside my bobbins and fit into the drill chuck without any trouble. Luckliy, while I have a cordless power drill, it is not used often and can be left set up to wind bobbins most of the time.
The main weakness with this method is that it is hard on the "trigger" hand since I have no way of turning the drill on without holding the button (trigger) the entire time I am winding a bobbin. I think other people have modified drills to avoid this problem, but I have not made any attempt to do so yet.
The second method would avoid this problems since sewing machines are actually designed for winding bobbins. Sewing bobbins, of course, are quite different from shuttle bobbins. As a result, you may need to modify your sewing machine to work for winding bobbins for weaving. I have not attempted this method partly because I don't have anywhere near my loom to leave my sewing machine set up and partly because I'm not sure my sewing machine bobbin winder can be altered to work this way. If my hands continue to cramp up using method #1, I might try this method.
I had Anthony take a couple of pictures of me refilling my bobbins. You can check out the other photos here.