…Make A Turkey Wing on a Handle

The question of how to tie a Turkey Wing Broom on a handle came up on a Yahoo Group I co-manage with Little John. One suggestion was made to embed in wood a la a hanger bolt or weld on a lag screw that could then be screwed into a finished turkey wing broom. This would work, but could, in my opinion wobble out unless some epoxy or super glue were used in conjunction with the screw.

And, that’s not how I was taught…

I was taught to bind the handle right into the broom. I responded to the email query on the group with this:

Made lots of ’em. It’s best, in my opinion, if the handle has a small crosspiece, about 1/2″ longer than the diameter of the handle, running in the direction of the sweep, but it’s not necessary. I have my blacksmith pound out a spade, and that works. I use a short dowel rammed through in wooden handles.Start the broom as you would any other turkey wing broom-1st bundle, wrap and V, 2nd bundle wrap and V, but when you’ve placed the 4th bundle ALSO place the handle with the crosspiece laying in the direction of the sweep. Continue tying and shifting the handle as needed to center it.Once you’ve bound off, you can plait down and trim straight across or cut a taper and plait up. Plaiting up over a taper can hide a bit of off-centeredness…I’ll try to get around to making one tomorrow with some pics if that doesn’t answer the question for you…

Here’s the pics in the same sequence…

Beginning a handled turkey wing broom

Here, the bundles are cross stacked and ready to go on my table and the pegged stick is also ready… so’s my coffee!

First Bundle

I’ve taken the first (and largest) bundle from the stack and run the wire through the center leaving enough hanging out to reach beyond the top (bristle, not brush) of the broomcorn . This is some rather stiff 17 ga. galvanized. I wrap around 1 1/2 times and then bury the tail in the center of the bundle.

Second Bundle
Second Bundle

I wrapped again until the spot where the wire went in was facing away from me then I began a V or a hitch up. I then placed in the second bundle to cover that spot.

Third Bundle
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Now I make one complete wrap and start my V or hitch at the same spot. Every time I start a V, I add another bundle…

Now the stick!

My turkey wings are measured out tho that the first three bundles weigh about as much as the remaining bundles combined. Your brooms may vary. Since my work this way, I chose this spot to put the handle in. I slid one end of the dowel into the previous bundle and left the other end of the peg exposed.

Fourth Bundle
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I now add the fourth bundle, splitting it to go on either side of the peg, and making the wire run over the peg, too. It’ll take A LOT of work to pull this handle out!

Fifth Bundle

We’ll keep adding bundles…

Sixth Bundle

…until we run out of bundles to add.

7th Bundle

A turkey wing can use as many or few bundles as you want, but a hawk tail has to be an odd number… Just thought I’d throw that out there…

8th bundle

That’s the last bundle for this one.

The "Staple"
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Throw in a few more wraps and Vs to increase the height of the handle and the plaitable area. 

Remember that tail end of wire we tucked into the first bundle? Now we drag that out and tug it down as tight as we can with the last wrap of wire around the broom. Bend the wire leading to the table or reel by twisting the broom into a vertical position (as opposed to the horizontal position I imagine you’ve been using), and snip the wire leading to the table. 
Twist the two wires together tightly about 12 times, and snip off the ends. 
Bend this twist over the create a staple. You’ll tie your twine to this staple when you begin plaiting. Of course, the staple will be pounded in, and it can take it!


And, the finished product.
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Here it is! I chose a tapered plait as the curved, natural wood stick (silver maple from a tree I lost in my yard to an ice storm this last winter, by the way) didn’t want to center in the handle. There’s a finished piece and a detail of just the sweep and the tapered plait> I used hand-dyed 4-ply jute (Uline), and Proline Rit dyed broomcorn in 6 shades – Black, Navy Blue, Royal Blue, exhausted Royal Blue, Kelly Green and a darker tinted green of our own mix!