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Weavebird vs. AVL

SallyE's picture

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.


Joined: 05/29/2009
Don't ignore the Toika dobby

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.

Joined: 06/08/2009
Toika is a jack?

Is the Toika dobby a jack (lifting only)?  I haven't seen one in a long while.

Joined: 05/29/2009
The Toika is a countermarche

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.

SallyE's picture
Joined: 06/14/2009

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. . .

: ' )

Joined: 05/29/2009
You get what you pay for. The

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.

Joined: 05/29/2009
PS - The Toika dobby head is

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.

SallyE's picture
Joined: 06/14/2009
But. . . .

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?"

tien's picture
Joined: 05/09/2009
I haven't had a Weavebird.  I

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.

Dawn McCarthy's picture
Joined: 06/09/2009
Sally, I have a compudobby II

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)


SallyE's picture
Joined: 06/14/2009
Thank you

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!