Advice on purchase of 16H PDL

Hi Everyone,

There is a 1989, "A" series 48" 16H PDL for sale that I am interested in.  It has a single fly box, automatic cloth advance and auto cloth storage.  Right now I don't know anything about AVL looms other than I want one. 

Is there anything specific I should look out for?  I will be looking at it this coming weekend.

Thank you for your help.



Posted on Wed, 11/25/2009 - 15:48

what kind of dobby is involved? will it include a couple shuttles? is the bench attached? - i wasn't aware that the A-Series was available in 89... i thought it was developed in the 2000s. i may be wrong.

Posted on Wed, 11/25/2009 - 15:53


I am told it is a mechanical dobby.  One AVL end feed shuttle and a few pirns.  The bench is attached.  I believe the S/N is 01385.

Posted on Wed, 11/25/2009 - 16:14

The A-series as i know it does not have the bench attached. You may want to contact AVL with that Serial Number to get more specific -

I am assuming its a full frame AVL with the mechanical dobby - i WISH i had a mechanical dobby. i have so many issues with my dobby3 it make me not like the loom some days. but that's really the only thing i don't like. many people like and have success with their dobby3, but not me.

i LOVE the auto cloth advance

i LOVE the flyshuttle

i LOVE the cloth storage system

It's a loom with nuances. If you have a mechanical mind - you'll pick it up quickly. The "hip bone's connected to the thigh bone" theory. If one thing is off, it takes detective work to figure it out. But once you understand the infrastructure they can be a pleasure to weave on. I'd say it took me three years to really grasp it fully. (i never said i was the sharpest knive in the drawer!)

Hopefully the person selling will have it dressed and ready to weave on. If you've never woven with a fly or on an AVL, don't gauge your experience on it... but watch her/him weave on it. Ask the seller to weave a couple inches. See if the cloth advances, the dobby strikes correctly, the cloth storage builds. If she doesn't have any trouble as she's demonstrating, you won't once you learn it.

You may want to ask the seller to include a day of instruction with you before you tear the loom apart. It will help you put the thing together once you move it in... plus gain experience with someone with experience!

Keep us posted!



Posted on Wed, 11/25/2009 - 18:31

Like Mary I love the features that make weaving more efficient.  I have a Compu-Dobby I, but wove with the mechanical dobby for many years.  The computer assist makes changing patterns a breeze and I can do much longer pattern repeats.  But it all depends on what you want to do.

I wonder if it isn't a Production Dobby Loom like mine (purchased in 1981)



Posted on Thu, 11/26/2009 - 01:55

 Hi Mary,

What do you weave on now?    I purchased a used (vintage?)  Production AVL with Compu-Dobby 1 and "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . ."  As Mary said it is a somewhat steep learning curve because you are adding MANY variables to the already complex task of weaving a perfect cloth.  If you are mechanically-minded and longing for all those design blocks then definitely consider it.  Also AVL service staff is really knowledgeable and helpful - just make sure you have all the documentation.  One other thing - hand-weaving accessories and parts are generally expensive because it is such a relatively small community, but I find getting parts and accessories from AVL pretty pricey - maybe the seller will include a boatload of accessories. Hope!


Good Luck,



Posted on Fri, 11/27/2009 - 22:31

Hi Laura,

Yes, I believe it is a production dobby loom.  I would love to have the Compu-Dobby but funds won't allow that right now.  I believe I can add it later though.

I tried to call AVL on Wednesday, but they had already started the holiday.  I will call on Monday when they are scheduled to return, but I don't think I could go wrong either way. 

Can you tell me what the difference is between the Production dobby and Technical dobby? I am just curious as AVL has two of these re-conditioned.




Posted on Fri, 11/27/2009 - 23:06

I'm not sure what the difference is - does the AVL website give the technical info on their looms?



Posted on Sat, 11/28/2009 - 14:04

Hi Laura,

No, the AVL site did not give specifics.  All that I could see from the photos that was different was metal harnesses versus wooden.  


Posted on Sat, 11/28/2009 - 15:41

Hi Lisa,

I still weave on my A-Series - the features i mentioned earlier are the reason i keep it .. i'm just not crazy about my compudobby3. it's really glitchy and there doesn't seem to be a solution. so it's can be exceedingly frustrating. i muster thru it because it offers so many nice features. i also weave on a counterbalance - glimakra ideal. i'd say it's my favorite loom to date. i just picked up a newcomb studio that i'm going to dust off 40 years of dirt and rust and give it a run for rag rugs. a girl can never have too many looms? it's just finding the room!

Do you still have your AVL,? what are you weaving on?


Posted on Sat, 11/28/2009 - 16:27

Too bad - well the production dobby is no longer being made, so perhaps they don't want to clutter their site with that info.



Posted on Sat, 11/28/2009 - 18:51

 Hi Mary,


I checked out your web site.  Truly inspiring!  I love the photo of the color gamp on the sectional beam - the warped loom looks like a piece of art.

I have had my AVL 60" production since the fall of '07.  I am still in the process of making friends.  Some days it is my most beloved possession and other days I feel like it is my worst enemy.  My problem is intermittent skipping usually on shaft 15 or 16.  I am learning to anticipate its misbehavior, but there is nothing more heart-breaking then taking what you think is a "perfect" piece off the loom after days of work and finding a couple of skips.  I have a 36" Schacht floor loom that I weave smaller item on and get my weaving therapy when I'm fighting with the AVL.  I am really sorry to hear about the Dobby 3 having problems because I was holding on to the hope that if I could make enough to upgrade from the Dobby  1 -  all my problems would be solved. Oh well.

I live near a Swedish weaving school that has many Glimakras.  I love the way they look and the quiet of the studio, but I have never woven on one.  Does Glimakra make a dobby loom?  Even though my AVL is my frienemy, I can't imagine not having the option of a dobby loom for design freedom.


Great "talking to you" and happy weaving.


Posted on Tue, 12/01/2009 - 15:39

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for the feedback.  I picked up the loom on Sunday.  It was just as described.  A well-loved, well-cared for loom.  Not an "A" series but its predecessor, a Production Dobby.  I have also met a new friend, unfortunately who is two hours away, but is willing to help me via email or phone.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to set it up until after Christmas when I have time off. I need to re-organize my room and move out my 48" Macomber so this one can fit. But I can hardly wait.  I have been reading through the assembly manual so I can understand how the "hip bone connects to the leg bone" when it does get re-assembled. 

I have saved the best news for last, my husband bought it for me!  (I am now wondering what new piece of equipment (bulldozer) or lathe/milling machine will be finding its way to our house as well.)

Thanks again for all of your feedback.  I will let you know how it goes.


Posted on Wed, 12/15/2010 - 03:09

Hi Lisa, Jennifer here (Charles' wife),

I have a Toika (Finnish loom) and yes, it is very quiet (countermarche) but the tie up just takes an incredibly long time and you sit underneath (pack your lunch and maybe dinner) and prepare for a long sitting to tie up lams and treadles.  Toika does make a computerized loom, but it is very expensive.  I love my Toika, but I am selling it.  I finally got a used AVL FDL with Compudobby III and the whole loom cost as much as just adding the computer to the Toika.

Posted on Wed, 12/15/2010 - 03:35

I bought my first AVL loom new in 1987 (there were hardly any used AVL looms then)  with a single-box flyshuttle, 60" width, 16 shafts and the bars and pegs. The flyshuttle took about a day before I was used to it, and it has worked extremely well ever since.  Having just two treadles is much better for your posture than leaning over to reach treadles at the sides of the loom. There are tricks for using bars and pegs for long sequences. Many wonderful designs can be woven from the same 16 or 32 bars, just as many designs can be woven on one tie-up. It is much easier to move the pegs than it would be to get under the loom and tie up 18 treadles!  I found it fairly easy to learn on the bars and pegs

I included a lot of tips for dobby bars in my book, Exploring Multishaft Design. I still have a few copies at home- it is not out of print yet.

The cloth storage system is totally wonderful.I now own 3 AVL looms but not all in the same place.



Posted on Wed, 12/15/2010 - 04:20

Hi, I too have an older AVL PDL (full frame - looks like a giant square).  This is my 4th AVL.  I am picky about looms and the AVL is great if you like a technical loom that produces great cloth with features to speed you along.  The single fly is great, auto cloth advance, cloth storage and the tension device all work to produce a quality cloth and you can really pick up speed with it.  I have used both mechanical dobby, compudobby 1 and now compudobby 2 (which I LOVE).

Check to see if the loom comes with a manual, and read it!  If you are a fly by the seat of your pants type - as long as you are mechanically inclined you will have no trouble getting going (but still....refer to the manual!).  Also if you are assembling it you will learn a lot by that process alone.  It looks complex but is very comfortable to use once you become familiar with it.  I use it for four - sixteen shafts, narrow width & wide.  As with all looms there is a learning curve but the results are worth the time!!!  Good luck and enjoy.  You can always look for help on this forum as there are many weavers who use AVL looms.  I personally would be happy to help if you have other questions. 



Posted on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 09:03

My AVL Modular loom has 12 shafts and 14 treadles and I think the one thing I am most impressed with is the way the treadles are tied up. Instead of crawling under the loom, it uses the side tie-ups like the Home Loom. I have just finished tieing up my LeClerc Medico with floor conversion and rolling around on the cement floor was almost enough to make me decide to use the levers instead. My Modular, named "Jolly Brown," is a full frame 60" loom from the early 80s and I am just about ready to put it back together again. First, though, I have to finish my Halloweave project.

Posted on Thu, 01/10/2019 - 07:19

A fabulous loom. I owned the 16 harness double box fly shuttle built in 1984.  I’d call AVL to see if they make replacement parts.

A great production loom. It supported me for over 30 years.

Good luck to you.  May you have mny happy years weaving.