I'm well into my little loom build. I have the castle with the upper and lower pulley blocks build and I'm starting on the warp end of the loom.

First, the basic stats. I had originally planned on building a large 16 shaft countermarche loom. Shortly into the project, I got an opprotunity to acquire an AVL compu-dobby. The bringing home of the AVL is a complicated situation and I don't have a time frame on that. I am able to use it where it lives, but that's 35 miles away, so not practical for serious production at this time.

So when the AVL came along, my 36" HD was no longer practical. It was too large to be a workshop loom, and only 4 harnesses. It's really too large for a sample loom and doesn't have enough harnessed anyway. So I got the idea to build/acquire a 16 shaft little table loom and sold the HD.

This leaves me .... *shudder* loom-less!

But not really loomless. The AVL will be coming home eventually. I have a rigid heddle and a little Structo, but neither is going to weave christmas gift towels. So the sample table loom plan got upgraded to a small folding floor loom. I've taken ideas from many different looms to create what I am sure will either be the coolest little loom ever, or a really sad waste of some good red oak.

The plan:

  • 22" weaving width
  • parallel countermarch
  • folding, probably have a wheel/stroller/dolly system for it eventually
  • live weight tensioning for both warp and cloth beams. Incorporating the sandpaper covered front beam and that will be my advance system
  • sliding beater similar to the one on the new Louet Davids
  • built in raddle on the castle.

I'm really trying to keep it simple and elegant in design, but have all the features I really want in a loom. I have a plan for the treadle tie ups that would allow the loom to fold with a warp on it, it should be a really smooth action and whisper quiet to operate.

The tools I have: Table saw, scroll saw, drill, drill press, router w/table, and a belt sander that is hard for me to get too because it's in the motorcycle shop part of the garage.

What I'm still trying to work out is how to keep the beams in place without them sliding around or sliding out.. I need some sort of collar or pin or some system. I've thought about everything from lynch pins to round disks to... it gets crazy. The beams need to be removeable. Every thinng I come up with is either very complicated, thus probably over engineered, or requires a level of skill, precision, or tools I don't possess. I'm sure there is a simple way to do this, I'm just not seeing it.

Any suggestions?


sarahnopp (not verified)

Have you considered getting a metal collar fabricated? It sounds like a simple enough job for a professional, or even amateur, metal shop. Just draw out all sorts of scenarios, draw it from different angles, show how it interacts with the rest of the machinery, and find a metal worker to chat with about it. Whenever I have to go into the woodshop at school to make a thing for weaving, I often am given solid advice which simplifies my life immensely! And the drawings help.

sarahnopp (not verified)

Actually, sketches and images and pantomimes would help here too. It is amazing how differently we all envision a thing when only reading or hearing words, instead of seeing a line drawing.

SallyE (not verified)

A former loom that I had, used a bolt inserted into the ends of the beams.   That bolt slid onto a slot on the side supports of the loom and you could tighten it down at each end to keep the beam in place, or loosen it to remove the beam.

I don't know what those bolts are called, but your hardware store should be able to help.   It's a kind of metal bolt (as opposed to a wood screw) that goes into a kind of metal "nut" that you put into a pre-drilled hole to receive the nut.

On another loom, they drilled a hole into the SIDE of the beam, chiseled it out a little at the end, and inserted a square nut, which was then held in place by an inserted wooden dowel.   The bolt came into the nut via a hole drilled into the END of the beam.  This makes a very strong system and allows the bolt to be removed when needed, etc.  The size of the holes to take the bolt and nut must be carefully measured so that the nut can't turn once inserted into the hole and the bolt goes in and out easily without wobbling around.

The best thing is to take a wood scrap and make a test sample first.   Note that you can also use a little bit of two part epoxy or some other filler in the hole to keep that nut in place.  When gluing it in, make sure you do it with the bolt also in place, and put a little vasaline on the threads first.  That will insure that you don't get the glue where you don't want it.

Badfaerie (not verified)

Thanks for the ideas so far!

I'm trying to stay as much as I can with off the shelf items. Since this is a "custom" loom, I want be able to easily replace parts if needed. I do have a machinist friend, but he's across the country and even with the friend's discount, one off parts are pricey.

I've thought of the bolt and nut options. I'm going to go with that for the back beam and the cloth beam I think. For the warp beam and the front beam I need to be able to crank these for warping or advancing the warp. I amd still thinking of having those beams go clear through the uprights, with an abs plastic "washer" and a lynch pin on the other side. That should allow those to spin when needed and make it easy to attack a basic handle.


SallyE (not verified)

You didn't say which beams you were wanting ideas for!

As for the beams that move - the cloth and warp beams - you could use real loom parts!   You can get a ratchet and pawl system from Camilla Valley farms.   I bought one of those sets when I added a second warp beam to my Macomber.   Worked great.   For the beam itself, I got a 4 x 4 and simply ripped off the corners lengthwise on my table saw, creating an octagon shaped beam.

Will buying parts be more expensive than what you might be able to invent?   Perhaps, but it will also work much better.   No sense re-inventing what is known to work.



I think the bolt SallyE mentioned, that has a brass cross dowel with threaded hole in the side, is a knock down fastener like shown here:

Http://www.leevalley.com  item # 05G07.02

But I'm wondering if 'warp beam' here actually means 'warp roller'?

Another item is a 3/8-16 UNC tension (treaded) rod with tension rod nuts. Item #05G07.10 which I used to attach my back beam and warp roller. I also used a hidden wooden dowel furthur down the beam blocks to prevent sway. With these, one person can attach or remove a warp roller alone. And I have a large octagon warp roller 62" , less 1/8" long. The beam sits is a slot on top of the beam blocks, with shoulders in the beam. In other words the ends are the size of the slots and the width of the beam between the blocks is thicker to brace the loom. So if you forget to run the warp over the beam, it slips right out and you can put it under the warp and back up on these slots. When warp is tensioned there is no way for the beam to ever move vertical. And by design, it won't come off the beam blocks any other way except up.


SallyE (not verified)

Yes, that is the type of bolt I was trying to describe.   Thank you Reed Guy for looking it up and giving us a link.  Now I know what it's called!



Ron is using those in his loom build. Have not heard from him in awhile.


At the risk of really oversimplying things here's a link to my travel journal in north Vietnam.  There are some Hmong looms (also used by other ethnic groups) that has a very simple warp advance system.

Here's the day that has a movie on it, takes awhile to load


This day's entries has some photos of the loom braking mechanism, something to consider:


They make beautiful cotton and silk cloth with these simple looms.

Regards  Deb Mc

Badfaerie (not verified)

Wow, I'm blown away by the help and options.

I spent some time looking at things and then perusing the hardware stores and came up with a simple and useful solution I think. I used automotive studs on one end of the beams that are slid into a hole in the post, and then a handle on the warp beam and a thump screw on the back beam. I cross drilled a thumb screw that will clamp the warp beam handle to prevent it from turning when I need to lock it down. With the live weight tensioning, I won't need ratchets and pawls and such.

I then realized one of my other brilliant ideas was really less than brilliant. I brought the back beam holders from the lower pulleu box instead of the cross brace at the floor, thinking I would save wood that way. Well, to get the beam height and the depth, the angle is not steep enough to leave clearance between the warp on the warp beam and the warp passing between the back beam and heddles. So, I'll be cutting new supports and maybe using the current ones for the cloth beam.


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