I'd be interested in knowledable comments on the Weavebird vs. AVL compu dobby looms. I've been talking to other weavers, but haven't found anyone who has used them both and can really compare them.
So if you have used them both, how do you compare their ease in setting up a warp? Ease of weaving? How "touchy" are they to work with? Customer support from the manufacturer or distributor? Etc., etc.
PS. I guess I'm leaving out the Louet product line, so if your have used their compu dobby plus one of the others, those comments would be useful also.
Don't ignore the Toika dobby box.
Simply designed, many weavers won't even recognize that you have converted your standard CM loom, accurate, quiet, dependable. No turnbuckles, springs or other excess mechanical parts.
Is the Toika dobby a jack (lifting only)? I haven't seen one in a long while.
The Toika is a countermarche dobby based on gravity. The shafts are a little heavier than usual and have a stiffened frame - a simple motor shortens and lengthens Texsolv cords to form the shed. It might hbe a little lightweight for weft faced rugs, but for "normal" clothing and household fabrics, it is superb.
I absolutely love mine.
I'm sure the Tokia is very nice, but for $10K I'm going to ignore it - and that price doesn't even include the loom! You can get a new dobby loom from any other manufacturer for less than the price of just the Tokia dobby upgrade to put on an existing loom. I've never understood that. . .
: ' )
You get what you pay for.
The Louet Megado with 16 shafts starts, with electronic dobby head and 44" weaving width at $11,500 at Bountiful, The Weavebird, 16s 45" wide, $8100 on the LeClerc site, The Toika dobby, 16s without loom $6650 (can be fitted on any standard countermarche(or counterbalance) loom frame, purchased used, - this unit fits looms to 60" wide - AVL looms, reconditioned, mechanical, no folding frame over 40" starting at around $6000d, no pricing for new models on the web site.
Of course, for 24s or more the prices rise, but proporrtionally, also. Yes, you can get a 16" or 24" dobby for less, but don't be surprised at the liited capability such a tiny folding midget can do. Part of the attraction of a dobby loom is that you make it full sized so you can weave a full palette of fabrics.
PS - The Toika dobby head is so versatile, that it definitely would fit on a 200 year old barn loom frame - fine an old loom with beams and beater intact and mount the dobby. Would make a fantastic loom.
And those old barn looms go for very little money.
The other problem with the Tokia is you'd have to buy it sight unseen. And I'm just not in the habbit of spending $10K without looking at it first, even if I could afford that. The closest place to me that actually sells the Tokia upgrade is about 2 hours away, and they are out of stock. And while I'm thinking about it, I can't find a decent description of the Tokia and how it works on-line. Leclerc, on the other hand, has a lot of information posted so you can really see what you are getting. Tokia is just buyer-unfriendly IMHO. (As for the "you get what you pay for," I think a lot of the Tokia price is because it's imported from Europe. I'm sure they don't cost as much over there)
On the other hand, it's pretty easy to find someone with a weavebird or an AVL, etc. and go visiting.
Finally, there are used looms available for much better prices than new, so why buy new?
But getting back to my original question, is there anybody out there who has actually used the different brands and can say more than "I love what I know?"
I haven't had a Weavebird. I have had a Leclerc Diana (16-shaft, 24" computer dobby) and found it temperamental and frustrating - I currently have a 24", 24-shaft AVL Workshop Dobby Loom (also computer dobby) and really love it. I had trouble with the Compudobby III (which was known for problems) but after upgrading to the Compudobby IV, have had no further problems. I have had really good service from AVL, but not from Leclerc. (To be fair, there are plenty of people who say just the opposite! but that was my experience.) Based on that, my next loom will likely be an AVL. I have no experience with the Toikas, but the few Toika owners I know really love theirs, too.
And don't be afraid to get a smaller dobby loom if you are on a budget - my AVL Workshop Dobby Loom won't weave rugs, but it will weave just about anything else!. If you aren't planning to weave a bunch of 60" blankets, a 24" loom can do quite marvelously and is much more space-efficient than a giant loom. (And you can do those blankets either by seaming panels or going to double weave.)
It's worth noting that most garment patterns these days are designed for 45" fabric folded lengthwise - so pieces are less than 22" wide. This means you can make garments on a 24" loom by weaving double the yardage. (I did my wedding-dress on my 24" AVL WDL.)
Regarding used looms, if you are looking at AVL, I'd try to purchase a Compudobby I or II. The Compudobby III was a bit temperamental - not all of them, but some had problems - the I and II have a reputation for being reliable workhorses. The CD IV has performed beautifully for me but it's so new you're not likely to find one used.
If you want to evaluate AVL looms, contact AVL - they will find someone in your area (if there is one) to demo for you.
Sally, I have a compudobby II AVL PDL, if you ever head to Philly, stop by and take a whirl on my AVL. The AVL's have a lot of features that make weaving a pleasure (auto cloth advance, pick advance, cloth storage etc)
Tien - thank you for your comments, especially about the versions of the software! I am thinking about a 25 - 36 inch dobby. I find that when I weave wide my shoulders start to hurt, so I seldom weave wide anyway. My Arm has a fly shuttle, but I haven't used it yet. I mostly want to make cloth to sew, and you are right about your comments regarding that. The other advantage is that narrower looms take less room, and that would help.
The Tokia would be nice since I could just add it to the top of my Arm loom, but the price is a deal braker for me. And I want 24 shafts, so that makes it worse. . .
We have a Leclerc distributor in the area, so I think I might get better service from him than someone 3000+ miles away. However, when looking at both, I kind of liked the AVL mechanism better.
It will probably come down to what I can find used.
Dawn - thank you for the kind invite. If I'm in the Philly area I'll definately take you up on that!
Hi. I am in the market for a compu dobby loom and would like to weave the rugs. Does anyone know if any of the compu dobby looms on the market are able to withstand the high tension, heavy beating necessary for rugs, as well as work with fine threads?Robin
I have comments about LeClerc customer service. As far as purchasing I would suggest purchasing from Tom Beaudet the U.S. Rep for LeClerc , he sells the whole line, is reputable, and answers all questions. My comments are about any LeClerc looms coming directly from Quebec. I hate to say it being Canadian but the service is horrible. My good friend Ruth bought a Weaverbird and the loom came with a very long custom bolt which was bent like an L, they would not replace, damaged during delivery. She had to straighten it herself. She had many problems they were no help. She did get it working and loves it, but it wasn't easy.
Similarly I bought a 4500.00 tapestry loom from them and when I ran into trouble suddenly they had trouble speaking English, so I spoke French , they said this loom was really not meant to do what I wanted although it had been advertised that way. When I asked questions they couldn't answer . If it hadn't been for the direction of Tom Beaudet and the pictures I sent him of the loom, I wouldn't have figured out what I was doing wrong for a long time. It did do what was advertise, they just didn't want to explain it!
I have had 5 leclercs, I won't have another. I'm sorry to say that.
Ps. Have a AVL Compu Dobby from the 90's 24 shafts don't know the special letters behind it:) 45" I love that loom! It is a workhorse! AVL has good customer service has been my experience, but I haven't needed them much, which says something.
I will e-mail my friend Ruth and see how she likes her loom now.
AVL is the only dobby loom I have used. The loom itself has a lot of really, really nice features that make weaving faster and less tedious regardless of the dobby. I love the sandpaper beam; you can cut off woven goods at any time without having to retie, and the tension is maintained only between the beam and back beam; I can weave really sleazy, open fabric without it coming apart. I like the automatic take up on the cloth storage roll, and the 4 box fly shuttle. I have a 1985 loom with CD I. When I bought the loom, I realized that 30 year old electronics may work, may work for a while, or may not work. AVL has been extremely helpful in getting the dobby to talk to my laptop, and has been very supportive of this old loom. My CD I worked for about three months, and is now pulling #5 up all the time. When I bought the loom, I planned to install the mechanical dobby if the CD died. Now that I realize what I can do with the CD and design software, I am replacing it with CD IV. I think it's very important to get an expensive electronic apparatus like this from someone who will support it, and AVL has been top notch. That said, AVL's dobby would be difficult to install on another loom, though I may try putting the mechanical dobby on a table loom.
The AVL frame is certainly hefty enough to support rug weaving, but they are jack looms and I'm not sure that the live weight tension system can provide the needed tension. I was going to put a rep warp on my AVL, but was concerned about being able to tension it enough. Several people have told me that it may not.
Sorry it took so long to get back in touch with you, my friend was traveling. She has a 36 " 24 shaft Weaverbird which she loves , she runs it with Fiberworks (PC), she says it treadles beautifully. she did have to return the solenoid to LeClerc too at the beginning for a new one, but the second one works just fine. Then a mutual friend has a 27" 24 shaft Weaverbird again loves it, bought it though Tom Beaudet. Both of them speak very highly of tom. Neither of them say the loom is " touchy".
I hope this helps,