Monday, December 5, 2016

Looms Are Tools

Looms are tools and making them work efficiently is important to me.  My dear husband, Mike is working at removing the large warp beam from the back of the Structo Artcraft loom so that we can replace it with the smaller warp beam with a much finer gauge ratchet wheel.  The warp beam we are removing in the picture is really meant to be a sectional beam,  the sectional pegs were turned inward to make it into a non-sectional beam by the previous owner.  This giant looking warp beam with the cast iron ratchet wheel is original to the loom.

I am not a fan of this big warp beam at all, the ratchet wheel has very large sections in it and make fine adjustments in warp take up almost impossible.

This is the smaller warp beam we installed on the loom - it is original and came with the loom.  Notice the finer gauge ratchet wheel, this will make my weaving life much easier as it is able to be adjusted easily.  The white webbing was added by the previous owner, it is replacing a very old canvas apron.  I will remove the white webbing and replace it with heavy beam texsolv cording, no aprons for me I detest them.

Mike added some lovely solid black walnut blocks to the front of the uprights on my loom and re-installed the beater bumpers on them.  The reason for adding the walnut blocks to the front of the loom is very simple, while weaving my fingers would jam into the first shaft when I attempting to pull the beater bar forward.  Adding space between the beater bar and the first harness means I can weave faster without jamming my fingertips.

In this shot you can see that a good 2 1/2" was gained for my fingertips to hold on to the beater.

Here you can see a portion of the lower harnesses/shafts - if you look closely you can see the harness clips.  There are four harness clips on the bottom of each harness and four harness clips on the top of each harness.  I really hate this!!!  Trying to come up with a solution that will let me get rid of the harness clips that will work.  Thought that replacing all the old clips with a the modern version harness clip would mean I only need one clip on the top and one clip on the bottom of each harness.  Darn it all this solution won't work, the harness bars are too wobbly.  Not sure there is a workable solution to this problem.

I detest the harness clips so much that I am seriously considering selling this very rare loom.  The loom is beautiful and very rare but she is not making me happy.  Decisions will need to be made.


  1. How wide is this loom? My 40" Macomber has 2 clips, top and bottom, per harness - they're pretty easy to use. Four does seem like overkill on your loom.

  2. Two seems to be the norm on 40-45 inch looms and seriously, the 60" BV I owned only had two on each frame.
    I'm sorry you aren't feeling the love on this loom.

    I have a 32" Mac for sale! :-)

    Other than looms, have a wonderful holiday season. Give those pups a pet or two from Oregon please.

    1. Theresa, the clips on this loom are much different that modern clips. Hard to explain but here goes...starting from the left side of the harness - first clip has to be pushed out while sliding a few heddles to the right - move over one inch - next clip has to be pulled toward you - move a those few heddles to the right - next step is do the exact same thing on the top harness bar. Pain in butt and very very slow to get anything threaded.

      I would love a Mac as you know - too bad you are so far away.

      Pets for the crew and a big hug and pet for Jack and yourself. Merry Christmas!

    2. I wish I had a way to get Nora to you affordably.
      But you never know, if I hear of someone traveling to your neck of the woods maybe she can hitch a ride. The underground loom railroad!

  3. Hi Martha,

    I'm so sorry to hear you are have difficulties with the clips. I thought they were much easier than the 'u' hooks on the Mac or LeClerc. I just finished threading on the Mac, and pulling those shaft bars up and down back into the 'u' clips after threading, was a chore, and there are 2 on each shaft. I'm not a fan of the 'u' clips at all. On the Structo, it was just push/pull and they held well for me. They are different but I found them easy to work with. I do like the bumper for the beater! Great idea. I'm hoping you have a good luck with the plain beam. I had never used it so I think you'll need to move the release latch. But I believe there's a hole for the eye-hook. With the big beam, I juat learned (the hard way) to release the cloth beam before the warp beam.

    Tom Z.

    1. Hi Tom! Interesting that every weaver has different opinions on what equipment works or doesn't work for them. The harness clips you call "u" clips are the type most modern looms use on their harness bars. I find them easy to use and like them.

      The smaller plain beam with the finer gauge ratchet wheel should be much easier to use and advance the warp with vice the extra wide ratchet wheel on the bigger warping beam - we will see. Using the bigger warping beam with it's extra large ratchet wheel was a pain in the butt, there was no way to keep my weaving area in the optium sweet spot because advance increments were so large due the large ratchet wheel. I did not have problems with the warp beam releasing all the warp at one time because we installed the extra little legs on the front warp ratchet.

      Depending on how warp number two goes on this loom will determine if I keep or sell the loom. I suspect I am selling the loom, but am trying to keep an open mind.

  4. Wow. I had no idea looms were so intricate even though I always wondered how your wonderful textiles were made. So great your hubby can do that work.

  5. Not sure how I missed this post last week! You are making progress on building a relationship with this loom ;)

    I know she's fighting back a bit, but hang in there! It will make it all the sweeter when you hit your groove and work together. I have high hopes for the second warp with the new adjustments you made.

    Sending down energy for you finding your next solution to the harness bar clip dilemma.