Does anyone know where I can get plastic ratchets and pawls like Schacht uses?
What other kinds of tension holding systems should I look at for homemade looms?
Have a good day!
You can try getting plastic gears from here:
Depends on what you want to weave, and how fast... I have a wooden ratchet on one loom, and a set of holes that a pin fits in for the other loom. The only problem with the hole and pins... is that it is slow... if I am weaving plainweave with worsted weight yarn., it takes longer to adjust the tension than to weave 2-3". If I am doing pattern pickup with 10/2 or crochet thread, the tension is just fine, and I am don't run into constantantly winding warp problem.
(both front and back of loom are tensioned the same, you are looking at the back beam. ) The string atached to the eyebolt is a low tech loss prevention device.
I had to reduce your picture to see the eyebolt.
But that could work.
contact me at [email protected]
I can clue you into what kind of stuff doesn't work.. and what kinds of "quick fixes" you can buy at homedepot/lowes... that will make your life easier.
You can buy ratchets, pawls, and parts from Schacht directly, if that is what you are looking for. Hope that helps!
Put this web site into your favorites. www.thomasnet.com/ back in the days before the internet, Thromas Registry was a large group of books covering anything and everything that you could ever want. Today it is online. Type in plastic gears in the search box and you will get the manufacturers and suppliers of plastic gears. You then can either look at their web site or contact them by phone or email. Have fun.
Thank you Michael,
I forgot about the Thomas guide. We have a printed set from the mid 90s (12 or 13 BIG volumes!) in our research library at work. I remember having to do searches in the 80's and part of the 90's through those things looking for stuff. It was like driving the country looking for a certain color car.
My day job is industrial distribution. So searching for this plastic part should be a slam dunk.
But a search for plastic gears returns an overwhelming number of hits. China, Malaysia, Slovakia, India, etc.
Thanks for the reminder about Thomas. I tried a search for "pawls" and got thirty hits. I'll email them to find out if somebody has them in plastic.
One of my other suppliers suggested I try getting a gear and pawl sample over to a plastics shop to get a copy made. I just may buy some plastic sheet and try cutting my own with a fret saw. It won't be pretty but I should be able to make something workable.
I think I could buy some from Schacht to upgrade my Erica RH. But I'd rather have an independent source if I decide to make some looms for sale.
Franco, if you decide to make your own gears and pawls it would be best to make them out of GE Lexan, it is a polycarbonate that can be machined with hand tools and is stronger then Plexiglas. You can find Lexan at most hardware stores or small pieces at craft shops. You could also check with Outwater Plastic, I think they have a web site. If you have the gears and want to make a copy, you could go to a craft shop (or on line) and get the stuff to make a mold and then get some plastic that you can heat up and pour. I would think you could even use plaster of paris for the mold? If you can not find the plastic let me know. We have a number of plastic manufactors here where I could get you some plastic to melt.
Franco, Macomber uses two systems to advance the beam. The older ones use a gear and pawl. The newer one used a pully (shaped like a tire wheel) and a steel cable with a spring to act as a fricton clutch. You coud get pullies from any auto parts store (like the pully on a auto air compressure) need pictures?
If you can get plastic (or formica countertop) samples... use them to cut a ratchet ...
I cut the ratchet (4 total) with a scroll saw. I believe that I screwed 4 pieces of wood as "one" and cut only once rather than cut 4 times.
I used a hardwood fooring sample and it is working fine. I am getting some chipping on the section that is plywood.
If I were to do it again, I would use a dense hardwood rather than a plywood.
This particualar loom gets a lot of knocking around goining in and out of cars, pileing in shed, weaving room, ect.... It has not needed any fixing besides fastening the rachet with a screw to the back beam (I glued it first)
all the extra "clock face" holes are left over from the old tensioning system which used a cross piece in the beam against a peg in the hole.
I've been watching this thread with interest, as I build my own looms, and I'd love to see pictures of the Macomber set up.
I have metal ratchets and pawls to affix to a loom thats a wip, but I'm not so sure about the quality - they were purchased as genuine loom parts, and I suspect I'm not going to be very happy with how I have to set them up. There is no room to incorporate a handle or knob to turn them, so it would require the weaver to wind on using the cloth beam instead.
I'm interested in any alternative that is easy for the weaver to use and does the job efficiently.
Whoa Sharon! I need to come and study DIY with you!
Okay, Sharon wrote me on another message.
The upright sticks hold two dowels in the middle of the loom to loop a cord to attach a rigid heddle, so it can slide it up and down. The top dowel also serves as a handle.
She calls this a "small wares" loom, about 8-1/2 by 11 inch footprint, built to work with small rigid heddles and card (tablet) weaving.
I bet one could even make it work with a couple of string heddle frames.
Check out this page: Two harness table top loom - Bob's Crafts
with links to DIY heddles & reeds
One can buy rigid heddle reed segments
This is really cool stuff. Now that I've seen a working ratchet and pawl, I could do this!
Caroline, I will try and take some pictures of both set ups on the Macs. tomorrow.
Franco, Sharon I have worked with tropical hard wood flooring before. It is very dense and tough. I have seen some as wide as 4 inchs. Most are around 2 inch wide and from 1/4 to 3/4 inch thick. Most flooring companies will give you scraps from jobs. If you know of any place making hardwood doors and frames you could also check with them for scraps.
hmmm.... I might have to check the flooring places out.
franko...yes, string heddles will work fine, in fact better if you are using fine threads, or a close sett. (My definintion of fine is anything smaller than size 10 crochet thread, or about 30epi, Silk and sewing thread, except in tablets = insane!) Some important things for string heddles tied on a jig 1) use very thightly twisted non-fuzzy thread. 2) use a consistant jig. 3) fray-check or nail polish is your friend! (coat those knots!) 4) tye twice as many heddles as you think you will need.
The first picture is a 'toy loom' I bought off Ebay... right now one of my guild members has it for demo purposes. It shows the string heddles. I used about a 3/4" eye.. something big enough I could shove a worsted weight yarn though if I wanted to.
The second picture is how the top bar is used... the two heddles are set 'opposite' each other (holes on frount heddle are lined up with slots in back heddle). I don't have any tredles or bars to move the heddles, I just reach back and push it up or down. Only one heddle is 'needed'; I just find it easier to deal with sticky threads and faster to get a clean shed if I use a second heddle for some projects. The pickup pattern is a latavian pattern done on "honeycomb' or 'speckles' as opposed to pickup on stripes the way most S. American patterns are. The heddle pictured is from village spinning and weaving, I did my first pickup patterns using that size heddle.
for the ratchets.. they are rough on my hands if I wind on using the ratchets... normally once I have wound on, I don't touch the back ratchet excpt to pull the cord tied on the metal 'prawl' L bracket. The front beam I wind on / and off a lot, but I handle the beam itself rather than the ratchet. If I am weaving bookmarks or thick cloth, I run out of room in about 3-4 revoulutions, , so I un-wind the cloth, set the dowel closer to the working fell line, and rewind. (I wind with the beam and a second dowel much like you wind backstrap weaving up. ) The extra either gets cut off (bookmarks) or lies in the inside of the loom (bottom keeps work clean.) The squarish beams are better than round ones, as it is more convient to get and keep the slats (aka bamboo skewers) in place that keep the warp wound smoothly. (This is as opposed to a lumpy or slanted on one side warp. ) I have lots of little holes that hold wire coat hangers sticking up. These serve the same purpose as the pegs on a sectional loom beam.
One solution is to leave the beam stick though the ratchet and install a turning lever at the end of the beam (like the loom with the eye-bolt and clockwork holes)
I'm a bit spoilt with the Knitters Loom which does have a knob for turning the ratchet, and being plastic or nylon, is not too hard on the hands. I have to use the beam on another of my looms, which option I'm not terribly impressed with. I already have round beams set in place, and am reluctant to replace them, unless there really is no option. I'd originally tried a set up as in the loom photo earlier in this thread that used a peg to hold the beam in place, but its not really satisfactory for the sort of tension I may want to use.
I use venetian blind slats as warp separators so the square/round beam choice isn't an issue for me. Though I have wondered how effective putting in pegs on the beam might be. My thoughts are idly turning to a second warp beam and wondering how useful I might or might not find it, along with a few other embellishments I am considering. But thats for the future. Th main consideration is getting the ratchet and pawl installed and working properly.
I agree... of the two things.... pegs vs ratchet and prawl... the ratchet and prawl intalled and working properly is more important. For small things (less than 6" wide).. the venetian blind slats are a little too bulky, but I plan on getting a set for my floor loom when I get it up.
The tension spring on my ratchet and prawl is a hair rubber band, rather than a spring. typically I 'unconnect' it while warping things. (but then I have a tendancy to warp up 4-7 yards at a time)....
you might consider drilling two 1/8" holes in your beams to tie a leash to to attach an apron. A 1/8" hole is just right to thread a tapestry needle through to pull a narrow ribbon or cord through. Of the "improvements' on my loom, I use 'apron beam' on the front beam the most.
The apron is there, this loom was mostly finished, when I stopped working on it. It still has to be adapted to take multiple heddles, and there are a few minor adjustment to make, but apart from that its ready to go, except for the ratchet and pawl. It was built around a 24 inch rigid heddle, and while not a thing of beauty its functional. I have had a trial run on it so I know I can weave on it.
Caroline here are the pictures of how Macomber handles the warp beam (both plain & sectional). The cloth beam is a gear with a pawl. You can buy small plastic/metal vbelt pullies and make your own friction break system.
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