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Steve Bullman

B & K Stemming Machine, Holly Wreath Maker

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The B&K Stemming Machine


The B&K Stemming machine is imported from America by Mr. Arnold of Bromsgrove to modernize the production of traditional Holly Wreaths and decorative garlands for the Christmas trade.


The machine is a small hand press that can affix a small metal spike to a bunch, or pick, of holly or any of the usual decorations, ribbons, berries, flowers etc., and completely eliminates the need for hand wiring (and the resultant sore fingers)


The components of the Holly Wreath, either holly picks or decorations are prepared and held as they would be for the wrap of 9x9 stub wire but instead of being wrapped they are placed in the jaws of the Stemming Machine and a slight pressure on the handle affixes the spike. Whatever can be hand wired can be secured in this way.


The spikes are crimped on tightly and that enables the holly pick to be made longer and firmer than can be done with hand wiring. This means that with practice a saleable 10” wreath can be made with as few as 12 or15 picks.


The spiked picks are stronger than wired ones and they are ideal for pushing into the artificial “padded” wreath or garland bases that are difficult to use with wired components. This has resulted in machine users tending to transfer to the padded bases which are cheaper and cleaner to use than the traditional moss bases for when they are wet the bases are almost indistinguishable from the mossed variety.


The spikes, or picks, are available in a number of lengths and two widths to suit individual styles or for specific purposes, they are packed in cartons of about 9,000 and cost about 1penny each. The actual number in the carton and the unit cost varies with the size selected. The picks are more expensive than stub wires but experience will show less are needed and as they permit an easy move from moss to cheaper “padded” bases the use of the stemming machine can produce a cheaper product even without considering the labour savings.


Mr. Arnold can be contacted on 01527 878470.





Edited by Steve Bullman

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