AVL Shafts

My new-to-me 1985 AVL PDL is all put togerther, and after some help from AVL, the dobby is talking to my laptop and working nicely.  I am having trouble with the shaft bars catching on the swaged loops that hold them: a shaft coming down hangs up on the swage of the shaft next to it.  Does anyone have a fix for this?


Posted on Sat, 02/14/2015 - 18:27

Dear Sofa,

Mine does this if I advance the cloth while the shed is open. Is that your situation? If not, let me know and I'll keep thinking. I don't know how tall you are, but if you're using the built-in bench, your back may begin hurting. I recommend sitting on a copy of Ann Sutton's book on weaving. It helps the ergonomics, and somehow the ideas flow by osmosis through the buttocks and up the spinal column. 

Posted on Sat, 02/14/2015 - 21:23

I don't have any warp or cloth on it yet.  I'm just going through the sheds of the first project I'm going to put on it to make sure the dobby is working.

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 00:44

You're talking about the swag of the heddle not the eye and screw?
Any heddles you have on the outside of the eye and screw are culprits to hanging up your previous or next shaft. If you still have problems once you put them inside the eye and screw, then I take a twist tie and collect a some and tie them together and move them in a smidgen. This serves as a sort of anchor. Whatever you do to one side of the loom, ie: bring heddles within the eye and screw, it's a very good idea to do to the other side of the shaft. The AVL is very sensitive to balance.
If you're weaving a wide piece and and find yourself with extra heddles outside the eye and screw, again you can twist tie them and move them out.
Try to have as many heddles on both sides , as I mentioned the loom is so sensitive to balance the shaft can collapse.easy fix, but a nuisance.
I hope this answers your question.

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 14:28

As far as balance goes on the heddle frames be sure you have at least one heddle close to the heddle rod on each side. Small rubber bands wrapped around the top of the heddle wire and the wooden heddle bar can keep the heddle rod from jumping out. The lower wooden heddle frame can sometimes hang up on the rear beater bumper with the underslung beater. You can remove one of the screws that hold the rear bumper. Also .... if you took the heddle frames out in a loom move be sure they are back in order front to back because the screw eyes that connect to the spring chains are different distances apart. Goofy things happen if you don't have the cables that run from the dobby box over the pullys on the castle to the correct heddle frame. Been there, done all of it. God help me!

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 15:20

Actually, the heddles don't have anything to do with the problem.  A swag is a metal sleeve that is crimped on wire, to form a loop in this case.  The loop formed by the swag goes in the screw eye on the heddle bar.  This little metal sleeve, the swag, is catching on the adjacent  heddle bar trying to fall back into place.  I'd go out and take some pictures, but it's -10' here (Farenheit) and I"m trying to stay inside.  By the fact that now one else seems to see this, I'm guessing that AVL found a different way to attach the shaft cords to the shafts after this loom was made.  My heddle bars, springs, and support cords are identical for each heddle bar.

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 19:08

Looked up in my old manual troubleshooting, do you have it?
The 1st thing about jamming shafts, is heddles not distributed evenly over shaft sticks.
The second thing under Harnesses don't raise, or else fall. Chain pegs not contacting the dobby fingers at proper angle ( 90 degrees) now I believe you have a Compudobby. I would do is turn off the dobby and then turn it back on and run it through it's test making sure that cable ( in question) is in it's proper slot ( from the bead all the way through the upper rollers) and firing right. Then try treadling your pattern again. If it doesn't happen again right away, then it's probably not the shafts, maybe you have a cable that sticks underneath the dobby box? Or your arm is out of alignment ?
Good Luck! I love my AVL it's a workhorse, but when it acts like this , I could just kick it !

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 19:48

I have an AVL loom almost as old as yours. There are 4 sizes of wooden bars for the 16 shafts. You see the difference most clearly on the bottom bars. There should be 4 shafts that attach with the chains at the bottom in one location, then 4 slightly different, then another 4 and another. I wrote numbers on these wooden bars before moving the loom. When I bought a used AVL, it already had the shafts numbered on the wood at the bottom.

If you haven't woven on yours yet, note the good advice here regarding at least one heddle at each end of each shaft. It doesn't have to be all the way at the end but it needs to be outside the cable holding the shaft from above. And it needs to be held in place- a rubber band or a small piece of blue tape will do it.


Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 20:07

The shaft springs were not disassembled when we moved it; they all look the same to me, but could be different.  The shafts are rising and falling exactly as they should (knock on wood),  sometimes when one is coming down, the lower shaft bar catches on the swage of the shaft next to it.  I think from the responses that I will have to get a picture of this.  It's not the cables , dobby, springs or any part of the mechanism that raises and lowers sheds except the way the loop is formed that holds the shaft up.

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 20:10

When I attached the shafts to the springs, I would have noticed if some attached in different places.  All are identical.

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 21:30

To my mind, this could be a case of "try it in reality". I know (by hearsay) that jack looms aren't supposed to behave differently, being naked or not - but I also know that it is impossible to see all the "finesses" of a CB/CM without a warp in place.

I do remember that I was unhappy with my PDL when I first got it - but I don't remember why, exactly. I do remember some "issues"  were not, in reality - and that others, less anticipated, *were*... (I also remember thinking that a computerized dobby loom did not need any, um, practice... I was so, so, wrong...)

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 23:25

That has occurred to me. I am thinking that the warp may give enough friction to the shafts to keep them in position.  I know that the previous owner used it for production of commercial office furniture upholstery material, so if I have put it together right, it should work.  She never used the compudobby, just the mechanical.  I'll put a warp on it and see what happens.

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 23:45

I know what you mean by somthing that seems simple needing a lot more practice to get right.  The first project for this loom is an 8 shaft huck check that I have done before.  It's simple, it's easy to keep track of and uses three shuttles, so it'l give the 4-box fly shuttle a workout.