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Building a folding jack loom

Andrew Kieran's picture

Hello all!

So I heard some time ago about the Siever's school loom which one could buy plans for. Apparently you can't get the plans anymore, no matter how many different turns of phrase you throw into google.

 

Anyway, the loom is a folding jack loom, consisting of an x-shaped frame, which folds in the middle, where it is attached to the castle which has what appears to be a double half-lever push-up jack action.

I believe the baby pup loom is basically the same thing, in a slightly more refined design.

The beauty of it of course is that you can have a 3' deep loom that when folded is about 1' deep and much easier to transport.

So I've started designing the thing, after coming across a handy find of building wood being thrown out in good condition with hardly any nails or screws in at all.

I've started documenting the process of designing and building this thing on a page on my blog

http://weave4fun.blogspot.com/p/loom-bui...

I'm doing this because I really have no idea about woodwork so I think it'll be interesting, as I'm just diving in with a bit of common sense and the basic ability to use a jig saw and a drill. As someone who considers his woodwork skills to be rubbish, it's a big challenge and I expect to make a lot of mistakes

which leads me to my question: has anytone here made something similar, have you any lessons you could share? is there maybe siever's loom plans floating about I could buy?

 

Also, I should add, I'm going to install an electronic pick controller in it, between the pedal and the jack action. It'll be a push-up dobby, which I'm not sure has been done in hand loom form before. I do this as I happen to have already done the electronic and programming work last year when adapting a mechanical top-lifting dobby to electronic control and it just seems like a good idea.Having used an electronic dobby, I don't fancy the idea of going back to a multi-pedal loom

 

Cheers

 

Andrew

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Andrew Kieran's picture
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If i reply to my own post I

If i reply to my own post I get notified of new replies, so that's what I'm doing :-)

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Joined: 05/29/2009
You might want to write

You might want to write directly to Sievers. They do n ot have a "shop" page, but they are the people who offered those plans.

http://www.sieversschool.com/

The looms are quite functional and have known several who built them successfully.

Loom building requires more than woodworking skills, there are tolerances and strengths that need to be built in - you might fish around a bit more for a set of plans that have been properly tested and then invest your time building a proven product.

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Joined: 10/21/2011
Building A Folding Jack Loom

You may already know this, but since you say you have few woodworking skills and mention a jigsaw, but one thing that is absolutely needed for any successful project is a saw that will make a square cut easily.  A jig saw won't give you a square cut.  A miter box will, but not easily or dependably.  You really need a chop saw.

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LauraFry's picture
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Joined: 05/25/2009
Andrew, is there a nearby DIY

Andrew, is there a nearby DIY store that will do cutting for you?  Or one that rents equipment?  In Canada (and the US) we have stores like Home Depot that rent DIY type stuff out by the hour/day....

cheers,

Laura

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Andrew Kieran's picture
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Hi folks. I have a friend

Hi folks. I have a friend down the road who is well supplied with tools and knows a thing or two, cheers :-)

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LauraFry's picture
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Sounds like you are all set,

Sounds like you are all set, then.  :)

cheers,

Laura

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Badfaerie's picture
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I'm in the process of

I'm in the process of building a smaller-ish folding loom. The thought is it will hold me over until I can bring home the AVL compu-dobby I will be getting, and then be a sample/workshop loom. I'm building it as a parallel countermarche, but I have a simple conversion to a jack loom accounted for.

I decided against the xframe, and went with more of the Harrisville Designs method where you just fold the front and back in towards the castle. I'm not really using plans, I've got a few sketches I did, similar to yours. I'm just kinda making it up as I go by borrowing ideas from different looms I have seen and used and information in book and on the net.

It's not really as hard as it seems at first glance, or as easy as it seems at second glance. The biggest difficulty I have has to sort out is the beams and tensioning. I did find 2" dowels that I could get in a length for my build project, but over 30" they become scarce. Then again, I'm really trying to use what I can get at the local Lowe's and Ace Hardware, for convenience and cost considerations.

I also decided on a live weight tension system for the warp and cloth beams. I like the infinitely adjustable and easy advancing of this system and ratchet and pawl sets are difficult to find and can be really expensive.

The tools I'm using are quite simple. I have found a chop saw easier to use than the table saw and a doweling jig for my hand drill more convenient than the drill press for most of it.

Anyway, if you are interested, I've been posting pictures as I go on a facebook album. I'll make it public and you can look at what's there. My goal this week is to hang a few shafts so I can work out the lams and treadles.

Loom Build

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Andrew Kieran's picture
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Cool! I agree with you

Cool!

I agree with you vis-a-vis live weight tensioning, definitely better than a ratchet and pawl. It also allows the tension to remain reasonably similar when opening and closing the shed I think. Gives one the option of adding an automatic cloth advance mechanism in the future too.

I have ideas to gradually add what automation I can to it as I go. It seems not too difficult to get automatic shedding with a rotary mechanism, and the cloth advance could be set at a certain speed which related to the speed of one pick to give a specific ppi. The real difficulty I think is the shedding mechanism. I've never heard of anyone building a rapier mechanism, or anything other than a beating mechanism. The problem with the beating mechanism as I see it is it has to be mounted on a fairly sturdy base.

This is actually a loom for my girlfriend, as I already have one to work on and she is pining for the weaving goodness we enjoyed at college. But I'd like to use it as a platform for experimenting with mechanically assisted handweaving, for purposes of both efficiency and the physically disabled.

I am actually thinking seriously about building a rapier as it seems like it might potentially be an easier thing to build than a shuttle beater. No chance of shuttles launching themselves into the plasterboard or things like that, and it'd remove the problem of winding pirns and changing shuttles as well as allowing more weft yarns in a given design. It'd also be so much easier to automate mechanically speaking than a box-changing shuttle beater.

As far as I currently know (from some small experience in a mill and college) there are two basic type of rapier. The one that has a fixed rapier which is housed in a tube at the side of the loom (and thus takes up a little more space) and the type that has the rapier rail on coiled metal strip in a sort of sprung wheel on the side, which takes up less space but I think can't work quite as fast as the fixed rapier. Which wouldn't be an issue for my loom of course.

The rapier is a very cool mechanism and greatly reduces the noise and risk of injury associated with mechanical looms.

I know it's unlikely, but has anyone heard of anyone building a rapier mechanism into a handloom? I've not had a look for detailed plans of the actual mechanical action in either type of rapier though I've spent plenty of time watching them work, both slowly and quickly.

I've just looked at your album and I really like what I see

As far as the warp and cloth beams go, have you considered making it out of simple rectangular timber? I've seen plenty beams that are square and they seem to work just as well, and are probably much simpler to construct, probably stronger too. You could even consider building such a square frame as a surround for a heavy piece of steel Rebar (reinforcing bar, common as a reinforcement material in concrete construction projects so you should be able to get hold of it at a building depot, it's often used as makeshift marquee pegging as well) which could serve as the central pin that it turned on, perhaps housed on the frame by a piece of bent steel to hold it in place. For the warp beam that seems simple if you're considering live-weight tensioning.

For the ratchet on the front, I know it sounds mad, but you could just make it out of wood. We had about 30 200 year old dobby samplers in our college and most of them had hand-made wooden ratchets on the warp beams. meant you moved forward about half an inch at a time, but as you're live-tensioned at the other end it might not be an issue. you could of course make them a bit finer than that as long as you use good wood. The pawls were also wooden, and were pulled onto the ratchet with a spring, which could be released by a cord attached to a handle at the front allowing you to release the warp tension from the front.

Alternatively if you can get hold of a round gear and worm gear combination you could advance the warp quite finely using a wheel at the front of the loom, though it's not very quick.

I'm almost tempted myself to initiall go with a simple bit-of-wood ratchet set up. You know, where there's a big hole through the beam at one end and a couple of wooden bars parallel, and you just put a pole through the beam to fix it in place.

There's an old countermarche loom at the national museum in edinburgh with that system, pretty sturdy old thing. It also has single box beater and a nice simple way of bracketing the warp on an unplated beam, which is very cool indeed. I should take some pictures when I get a chance

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Joined: 05/29/2009
If considering building

If considering building timber, look at Andrea Moeller's plans for the "Flying 8" loom here:

http://andreasmoeller-hamburg.com/

Ingenious construction, proven plans, have heard from German weavers with experience that the loom works well.

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Badfaerie's picture
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I haven't gotten as far as a

I haven't gotten as far as a rapier or fly shuttle set up, so I can't help you there. This is designed as a small and portable loom, so there really shouldn't be a need for that. I do plan on eventually seeing about building a mechanical dobby system for it, but that's down the road.

I plan on building a sectional warp beam and probably setting it up for double back beams. I'm fascinated with the idea of supplemental warp and even warp pile threads. The sectional warp beam will probably be built on a square beam base. Being a small loom and keeping the idea of folding and transport in mind, I have to be really careful about where and how big something like that can be.

As far as the front, I have a machinist that I can get custom ratchet and pawls made by, and I considered lots of other locking type of situations, but I really want to try the live weight on the cloth side as well. I may be fiddly, but I can deal with a bit of fiddly and think the advantages may outweight the ... fiddliness. I can go back and add a ratcher if I need to later.

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Homemade ratchets and pawls

I have had very good success with building parts that take a lot of stress or wear and tear out of epoxy saturated hardwood.  The two big pins that hold the beater swords and the big gear for the ratchet on my barn frame were make of hardwook (maple for the pins, ash for the gear) then saturated with epoxy comonly used by boatbuilders.  After epoxy, it doesn't act like wood anymore.  It won't split and is very tough.  So you get a material that is common and easy to work with, then becomes super tough.  You can make a gear any size you want to.  I tried the active weight system on this loom and it just did not work.  I much prefer the positive lock of the ratchet.  I use a boat trailer winch on the cloth beam, and that gives me the fine control.

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terrieO's picture
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Sievers loom plans
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terrieO's picture
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Sievers loom plans

found a copy at weaversguildofboston.org but you have to be a guildmember to see them & I live in IL.  Would love to get my hands on a copy as am trying to build a dorset loom.   Anyone here amemberof that guild?

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Sally Orgren's picture
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I own a no-name, x-frame, home built loom.

If you have questions, I can send photos. It weaves GREAT, from 8 epi to 36 epi, so the tolerances are terrific.

24" wide, 4 shafts, 6 treadles + tension brake. Wood ratchet at the front. NO idea what kind of wood.

In combination with the tension brake, it provides very good warp advancement increments. (Some looms I have woven on with 2 wood ratchets make too big of an advancement for weaving with finer threads. On a big loom, maybe an experienced weaver can figure out a workaround. Small loom, not so much.) 

But I know where Sara is coming from. My father-in-law (a great woodworker but not a weaver) built a big floor loom based on plans he bought in the 70's or 80's. I am not sure if the loom ever wove 100% correctly, as the shed was an early issue. The plans had to be modified after the loom was constructed and parts redone. The loom has been in storage since the mid-80's. I think it was an interesting and challenging woodworking project, but not exactly a happy ending for the loom.

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ReedGuy's picture
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straight holes

Andrew, another neccessary tool is going to be a drill press, or a way to mount a drill so it's perpendicular, so your holes are drilled straight at 90 degrees to the piece. You will have issues if you don't with any parts that rotate or swing on an axis (like a jack or the scissor frame itself). You will get binding/colliding of parts that have to pass by one another.

I have built a loom myself successfully with some input of experienced weavers here.

A bird mouth bit for a router will make a strong 6 or 8 sided beam, or even a jointer. Just have to figure out the diameter of the beam and the width of the sides.

Your wood worker friend will be helpfull. As he will know simple things such as wood shrinks and swells with the seasons, it's hygroscopic material.

Choose your wood wisely, you want light weight, but strength to. Hard maple is stronger than pine for instance and quite a difference when your considering something long and slender. Grain orientation is equally important. You just can't go pull any old piece of wood out of the pile and call it good enough.

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pammersw's picture
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This is a great thread, I

This is a great thread, I have it bookmarked for reference! 

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