Norwood loom restoration

By Mary Kate, 28 March, 2015

I am just starting to restore a Chicago-era Norwood loom built by Gladys Rogers Brophil Inc. There are several damaged or missing pieces that I need to replace, so I am searching for photos of Norwood looms of similar vintage. My goal would be to restore it as closely as possible to its original condition, such as the wooden ratchet on the warp beam. But I'm open to suggestions if you've had similar experience!

Thanks in advance! MK

Comments17

sandra.eberhar…

7 years 6 months ago

I am not familiar with Chicago Norwoods; I know they were built in Baldwin Mi and then elsewhere, but it you post pictures of what you need help with people may offer some help with specific items.  I have built wooden gears for several looms, for example.

Mary Kate

7 years 6 months ago

Thanks for the reply. From what I've read, the Gladys Brophil Inc. in Chicago pre-dates the Michigan Norwood looms. She was publisher of Warp & Weft in the late 40s until 1950 when it was published under the Norwood Company name. The loom style seems similar, but I got this one unassembled, so when I get it cleaned and oiled, I will post some photos. In the meantime, the wooden warp beam gear has a crack across it with screws securing the piece together. The lower front cross piece and treadles are MIA, but I felt that shouldn't be too difficult to replace. I don't know what a brake system looked like on these older looms. Can you point me in the right direction? Any help will be appreciated.

Mary Kate, 

Did you ever find out anything more about the pre-Michigan Norwoods? I have agreed to buy a Norwood cherry loom this weekend, and on closer inspection of the photos, the brass plaque says Chicago and maybe has a 1950 date. Am curious to hear how restoration of your Chicago Norwood went. Happy weaving!

sandra.eberhar…

7 years 6 months ago

I would take the screws out of the gear and clean it thouroughly (use alcohol  or a degreaser).  Use an epoxy formulated for use with wood (Gougeon or System Three) and follow the directions, clamping well to close the crack.  You can apply the epoxy to the entire geat after fixing it to harden it to prevent further cracks.  I have epoxy impregnated wooden gears on two looms that need to hold very high tension and they work very well.

sandra.eberhar…

7 years 6 months ago

As to the brake, I suggest you assemble the loom and see what you have.  The brake assembly may become evident. or you may be able to see what options you have.  Since this seems to be a rare item, that may work better than looking for someone who has one.

Mary Kate

7 years 6 months ago

Thanks for the advice on epoxy. I hadn't thought of that. I'll check out what is available at our local Ace Hardware.

sandra.eberhar…

7 years 6 months ago

I suspect you may not get the kind of epoxy you need at Ace hardware.  You need to go to a woodworkers' supply store or mail order.  You don't need much.  Most two part epoxy glues sold in hardware stores are too thick to penetrate wood.  It's not cheap, unless you compare it to a custom made wooden gear.

sandra.eberhar…

7 years 6 months ago

If you can't find the kind of epoxy you need, and find mail order too expensive, I would get a good grade of wood glue.  Clamp!!!!

Mary Kate

7 years 6 months ago

Hi BWSD,

I see one tooth broken off, and others chipped, so I will look into replacing the wooden gear. I think that I saw some suggestions here on another post (maybe from your experience) about suggested types of wood, etc. This one is less than 1" thick if memory serves. I remember something about laminating layers with grain running in opposite directions?

sandra.eberhar…

7 years 6 months ago

That would work; that would be plywood.  For a gear that narrow (my wooden gears are typically 1" thick or more), epoxy impregnation would really help it last.  It may be cheaper and more effective to have a metal gear made (I had two new gears made for a rug loom for ~$80 each.)  It depends on the loom.  The rug loom has ratchets on both warp and cloth beams and holds very high tension, small teeth and great strength are needed, hence steel.  I know you are trying to restore this to original state, but keep in mind that looms are working tools, and that if the builder had access to affordable metal gears, they wouldn't have used wood.

Mary Kate

7 years 6 months ago

I have no problem substituting metal vs wood for this gear (the one on the cloth beam is metal already anyway). My priority is getting it in working order again. But I wasn't sure where to find a gear the right size, would a metal pawl be needed as well, etc.

Thanks for all the advice!

sandra.eberhar…

7 years 6 months ago

Leclerc sells several types of gears and pawls.  None of their gears would fit the rug loom.  I took the old gear (with lots of broken teeth) to a machine shop and had new ones made.  The pawl I got from Leclerc.  The old pawl was also broken.  In replacing these gears and pawls, I found it helpful to make cardboard mock ups of the pieces to see if they would fit and how they would work.

Mary Kate

7 years 6 months ago

The wooden gear measures 3/4 inch thick by 7 inches across. I plan to remove it to draw a template, which I figured would be needed no matter if I choose wood or metal. Haven't checked out machine shops in town yet, but in a sizable city, I'm sure that I can turn up something.

A new question -- for cracks in the vertical pieces such as the warp beam supports (about 1/16" at the widest), would you recommend an epoxy wood filler? I wondered if clamping such a distance would be hard on such old wood.

sandra.eberhar…

7 years 6 months ago

The cracks in the support pieces probably don't need fixing at all.  I have looms that have much larger cracks in the frame members and are stable and strong.  If you can post pictures I can give you a better evaluation.

Mary Kate

7 years 6 months ago

Here's a few pictures taken yesterday. The lamms and shaft frames have been removed for cleaning, so are not in the picture. You can see the treadle assemble is missing, so I need to remake that. I found some "mystery holes" that don't line up with anything, such as on the cross-member near the castle, which is pivoting on a dowel which seems shaky to me. Also a picture of the wooden gear which is missing the crank (center hole is threaded). Comments appreciated.

Right sideMystery holesWarp beam gear

Mary Kate

7 years 6 months ago

Cloth beam gear

Any idea on that is the purpose of this ring? There is a chain on the left support as well, but the ring has been lost.

Carole M Cole

4 years 6 months ago

Mary Kate - I'm restoring an old Zeek loom that is a Norwood clone. The new Norwood people (grandkids of the original couple) are rebooting the loom building company and have a website and FBpage. I've gotten hopeful help there - like assurance that they can replace the missing beater assembly. So, if they can help you, I'd ask them. Seem like really nice and helpful folks.