Making a rigid heddle loom

Hi weavers,

My real name is Denis Santerre and I live in Eddington, Maine. My handle is from a Woodland  High School (Dragons) nickname.  I don't want to pretend I am a weaver however during my project I did a tiny amount of weaving and I enjoyed it enough that I could see myself getting hooked.

My talented adult daughter (Binski Studio, Etsy) living in Nashville area became interested in weaving.  Together during my last visit with her we made an inkle loom. She is interested in having a rigid heddle loom so set my goal at making one.  I did not like any of plan I found because of my limitations so I have made my own design.  I found that using the heddle block slowed me down so I designed a "hinge" heddle.  I can't imagine that I am the first to think of this but I could not find any plans for this anywhere.

Because my major experience with looms is from google I would like to find someone who knows what I am doing because I certainly don't.

Is there someone in the Bangor, Maine area who I can bounce ideas off?  I don't want to ship my loom to Nashville and it turn out to be a big failure.  We could  meet a BAM or the Maine Discovery Museum where I volunteer.

Thanks,

[email protected]m

P.S. Liberty Tool has a well used floor loom if anyone is interested.

Comments

Posted on Tue, 08/05/2014 - 18:42

Please do post photos. There are quite a few people who have designed and built looms, and we are always interested to see how others have approached the different issues.

The first question I have is if the rigid heddle is removable so a different one with an alternate sett (slots/holes per inch) can be used. Are you making the rigid heddle itself, or are you planning on using a commercially available comb?

Posted on Wed, 08/06/2014 - 04:15

The first question I have is if the rigid heddle is removable so a
different one with an alternate sett (slots/holes per inch) can be used.
Are you making the rigid heddle itself, or are you planning on using a
commercially available comb?

I plan to have the heddle removeable using something like tractor pins.

I made the heddle using a 3D printer. I started with a plan on thingiverse.com. I have tried some variations.

I haven't looked into the comb yet. From what I see from Professor Google I think I could design and make one with my 3D printer.

Loom

Ratchetheddle section

Thanks,

Denis

Posted on Wed, 08/06/2014 - 04:18

The first question I have is if the rigid heddle is removable so a
different one with an alternate sett (slots/holes per inch) can be used.
Are you making the rigid heddle itself, or are you planning on using a
commercially available comb?

I plan to have the heddle removeable using something like tractor pins.

I made the heddle using a 3D printer. I started with a plan on thingiverse.com. I have tried some variations.

I haven't looked into the comb yet. From what I see from Professor Google I think I could design and make one with my 3D printer.

Loom

Ratchetheddle section

Thanks,

Denis

Posted on Wed, 08/06/2014 - 04:46

When operating a rigid heddle loom, the heddle block that "slowed you down" is actually quite useful - it has three positions - up, down and neutral. That neutral setting has several functions - when warping to keep the ends in an even plane and when doing pickup or special pieces, the weaver can pick threads without difficulty. The rhythm that develops moving the heddle up and down is a part of the process. Your idea will weave, but is a bit restrictive when weaving anything but standard plain weave pieces.

The ratchet wheels will work, but should really be larger with deeper notches to hold firm tension.

I do not see any tieon sticks on the cloth or warp beams. They are an integral part of the process. Also, the beams could be a bit thicker.

If making your own heddles, pay careful attention to the shape, size and smoothness of the edges. If the material is sharp or rough, it will cut the threads and lead to excess warp breakage. 

Posted on Wed, 08/06/2014 - 12:16

Thanks for the good advice.  I am getting a lot of good information. Be aware I may use the wrong terms in my messages.

 If the material is sharp or rough, it will cut
the threads and lead to excess warp breakage. 

3D
printing does product burrs which can be difficult to remove. I did
experience this but I had contributed that to the poor quality yarn
which I was using. I may have to purchase a a commercial heddle if I cannot get rid of the burrs.

The ratchet wheels will work, but should really be larger with deeper notches to hold firm tension.

The ratchets are holding quite well at this time but as they wear I can see a problem.  They are about 10deg. pre tooth which they don't have to be. I will make the a change on my remake.

the beams could be a bit thicker.

I
had seen pictures of the warp and the cloth beams being of different
diameters.  These are 1-1/4 inch dowels.  How large should they be? Perhaps you could not tell the size from the pictures.  Some looms did not
use a rear and front beam. I thought that it was better to use them to keep the wrap flat.

I do not see any tieon sticks on the cloth or warp beams.

Here are pictures of the what I thought were called the apron and the the apron rods which I believe may be the same as tieon sticks.  Some looms used 4 apron cords liked the 2 cord ones better.

apron and apron rod

heddle ... three positions - up, down and neutral

My heddle does move up and down. Neutral is hanging in between. The heddle does tilt a little in the up postion. I can design that out.  I can't use the heddle as a comb. I can see where that may be a problem keeping my cloth at a correct/constant width. Can a comb serve that function?

     DownUp

Posted on Wed, 08/06/2014 - 13:44

The heddle is meant to be loose in the frame when not in the block. A weaver will want to move it back and forth as on other looms. Adding a "comb" will actually be more awkward than just making your loom more in line with what is commercially available. Sometimes you use the heddle as a "comb" and sometimes you use other methods to pack in the weft - that is up to the weaver and the fabric being woven.

I sell and recommend the Ashford fixed frame rigid heddle looms. They are priced reasonably, have ratchet and pawl systems that are rock solid, the wood parts are well designed and sturdy, the heddles smooth, and perfected by years of loom building.

The plastic material used by "3D printers" (actually just prototype machines that have been around for quite a while) is not suitable for the stresses put on an actual weaving loom. Without experience as a weaver, it is dificult to produce a truly functional loom.

Posted on Thu, 08/07/2014 - 23:40

I could purchase a loom as a gift but it would defeat my goal to make a gift from my hands and heart for my daughter.

Today an experienced professional weaver looked over my loom.  I am encouraged but what she had to say.  She echoed words given in this forum with detail and advice.  I now know why I was having such a problem with the heddle and the blocks. She explained why I would want to use the block but also what I could do if I did not want to use the block. As we talked she thought my daughter may be discribing a table loom and not a rigid heddle loom. I will need to clarify that with my daughter.

Thanks you for the information.

Posted on Sat, 08/09/2014 - 01:04

I visited Halcyon Yarn in Bath, Maine today with my wife and my unfinished loom today and picked up some supplies. I cannot say enough good things about them.  I was given Royal treatment. I had my own private course on looms and weaving from a craftsman/repair man/weaver/instructor/designer/etc.   He did comment on not liking plastic ratchets but was impressed by how well mine was holding. He also thought that I could get the heddle reed which I made to work.   I do advise those who's goal is to weave to go the easy route.  But for the DIY personality I was encouraged.

Posted on Sun, 08/10/2014 - 01:17

That is a good idea, visting with people who do repair work. It sounds like you are learning a lot and have some different ideas since you are not a weaver yourself. If you have time, I recommend you take a look at some of the projects and creations in two of the groups on here (there may be more, but these ones I know about):

Home Built Equipment: http://weavolution.com/group/home-built-equipment

DIY Looms and Tools: http://weavolution.com/group/diy-looms-tools

Posted on Sun, 08/10/2014 - 21:49

Thank you for the links. Professor Google did not provide those links.  Yes, I will find the time to visit those sites.  It's not  the destination, it's the journey.