New-to-me AVL loom

I am picking up an AVL 12 shaft manual dobby floor loom on Saturday, sight unseen. I know it needs dobby bars and have been in touch with AVL, who pointed me to the online manual. The now-owners know nothing about it and were ready to put it out on the street. I can't wait to make it mine!

However: If anyone can help and tell me what I will need to dismantle/move it, I'd be very grateful. Do I need special tools?



Posted on Tue, 10/25/2016 - 23:25

Last AVL I took apart was a 16-harness compu-dobby with flying shuttle and the way I remember it it required nothing more than my tool box of screw-drivers, wrenches and pliers. You might think of it  like this—anything you need to dis-assemble will also be a tool to acquire for matenience…

Posted on Wed, 10/26/2016 - 16:37

The harnesses need to be reinstalled so they are all at the same level. The chains at the bottom are different lengths and need to be put back in the same order they are in. Mark the harnesses 1 through 12, numbering either from the one closest to the front or the one closest to the back of the loom to make sure you get them installed correctly. The on-line manual can be downloaded. It is very helpful.

Posted on Thu, 10/27/2016 - 00:45

Do not assume the loom is put together correctly. However, you have to start somewhere, so begin by getting several regular pencils and mark all of the ends of the wood for example, starting at the front you could write "Front, bottom, treadle bar," then on the left side mark "Left side bottom bar". Go around the loom marking each piece, especially the beams, before picking up any tools. Then get several coffee cans (or similar sized plastic containers) and mark them bolts, screws, washers, and nuts. When ever possible keep the bolts with washer(s) and nuts in one end of the wooden piece it came out of. Note the chains, with springs, and the hooks in the wooden fingers in the jack mechanism below the shafts. Unhook everything and put the springs and chains in either a plastic container or a plastic bag. Unhook the treadles. Note that the shafts have two wooden parts. The tops should all have an equal width between the eye bolts. The bottoms have different lengths between the eye bolts that correspond with the size of the wooden fingers (smallest in front, American shaft #1). Mark each top and bottom. Do not worry if the Texsolv heddles fall off. Gather them up and put them in a plastic bag. If the current owners have any uncut heddles put them in the bag also. Note the color of the twist tie on the uncut heddles (very important, the difference between the green tie and the royal blue tie heddles is less than a quarter inch.) The box with the wooden fingers should go short fingers in front. The dobby attaches to the side of the loom using bolts. These are easier to reach from inside the castle than going in from the front of the dobby. If you have to take the dobby apart, take lots of photos. I do not see the cord(s) connecting the treadles to the dobby. Using blue painters tape, mark the cords from the treadles to the dobby, from the dobby over the pulleys to the shafts. Put blue painters tape on the shafts and mark them 1 - 12. Try to keep as much of the brake hardware with the brake mechanism as possible. I do not see either a back beam separate from the warp beam or a cloth beam separate from the breast beam, but that is because the warp beam and breast beam have been tilted at a funny angle. If you do not have a cloth beam, it may limit the length of the warp you can weave before you have to cut off and retie on. This looks like an early version/prototype of the student/school loom. Wear old clothes you can get dirty in. Bring two adjustable wrenches, a socket wrench set, a needle-nosed plyers, an ice pick, an Allen wrench set, and several flathead and Phillips screwdrivers. The ice pick is to help get some of the bolts out of their holes.

Posted on Thu, 10/27/2016 - 20:16

It looks like you have a Dobby Witch. I used to own this loom. The manual is online at the AVL website. I hope you can locate the bars because I don't know if AVL still makes and sells them. It may be possible to cut down some 16 harness bars but you'd need some wood working skills. 

Posted on Sun, 10/30/2016 - 14:41

I have it! And the best part of transport? We didn't have to take it apart to get it home! It fit in the back of our very small pickup (enclosed).

But the best, best part is that we  have the dobby bars!!! (and all applause goes to my husband who has lived with many a loom and knows what he's looking at.)

The loom, indeed, is from a school--F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC), to be precise as the white tag you can see to the left of the A&V brass plate is an inventory tag. And the loom almost certainly has not been put together since leaving FIT. (According to her son, the loom's now-prior owner never did.)

It's in excellent shape, but an early version, No. 00129. There is also a stamped number on the dobby base: 86400H, but no idea what that means. The challenging part for me now is getting it into working order. 

Posted on Wed, 11/02/2016 - 13:05

It has taken a couple days, but we're well on the way to operative loom We've figured out how it is configured. I applied some lightweight oil (gun oil) to the metal parts, which took care of the light rusting, and now the dobby mechanism is working. I'm waiting for the peg wrench from AVL. (Oddly, none of the dobby bars is pegged for tabby.) (Full details on the adventure at