Shaft Order after Refurbishing

I just picked up an older 1987ish 16 H 48" Production Mechanical Dobby (yippy!) and decided that since the loom was in pieces from transport I might as well spruce it up with Watco Danish Oil (looks amazing now). The wooden harness bars appeared to be the same so I didn't mark them as to which shaft they belonged to or whether they were top or bottom bars...and apparently I should have. Reading the assembly manual it would appear that the bars were sorted into top/bottom bars and also into 4 groups ie 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16. Can anyone give me any idea of how the bars should be organized so I can try to sort them out for the appropriate location? Thanks for any help. Sheila


Posted on Tue, 09/24/2013 - 11:39

I can only speak for PDL's with texsolv heddles - the shaft bars have the metal hook in different locations.  SO all the top bars will have the little metal hooks spaced identically, the lower shaft bars will have the metal hooks in slightly closer proximity (I think they get closer together the farther back they are) and you will notice they are in sets of 4, this corresponds with the size of the lower jacks.  Lay the bars on the floor with the hooks facing up.  Group them into their sets of 4 and set them in order of widest hook space to least space.  I am pretty sure the widest spaced go to the front.  So the variable hooks are the lower bars and attach to the lower jacks and springs.  Hope this makes sense!


Posted on Tue, 09/24/2013 - 13:22

The lower jacks are shortest at the front (at least on mine, PDL from '98 or '99). I think it has to do with shed geometry: the shafts hang progressively lower from front to back, when at rest, therefore the back shafts have to lift higher.

Posted on Tue, 09/24/2013 - 16:35

Thanks for the reply. I've uploaded a picture of the bars as my image..not sure if there is somewhere else to post pictures. Of the 32 bars, 10 are a lighter coloured wood and these are wider than the others. Of those 10 bars, 2 have the eyelets closer and 2 have the eyelets farther out than the rest of the bars. So 22 of the bars have the eyelets in exactly the same place (including 6 of the slightly wider lighter bars).

I just can't reason a combination that makes sense. Might just need to do trial by error!


Posted on Tue, 09/24/2013 - 14:14

Thanks for the info. I think I will try putting the 2 bars with the eyelets closest as the front lower bars and the 2 bars with the eyelets farthest out at the bottom back and see what happens.


Posted on Wed, 09/25/2013 - 02:18

On a 16-shaft AVL loom, you will have 32 wooden pieces for the shafts. Half of these form the top of a shaft and those should have identical metal hooks. The shafts hang from those hooks.

The remaining 16 pieces should be different. 4 are for the bottom of the first 4 shafts. The position of the hooks is what determines where a piece belongs. I own 3 AVL looms, two of which were built in 1987 and in 1988. I cannot see any reason for yours to look this way. Maybe somebody did not understand that they needed to be different? Are there any holes to show a previous position for some of the hooks?

The color of the wood is not important. They used different kinds of wood for different parts of the loom and could have changed the source of lumber while making your loom. Or perhaps some pieces were damaged and replaced.

Bonnie Inouye

Posted on Wed, 09/25/2013 - 03:26

Thought I was missing something obvious but it seems the bars I have are wrong. I checked for extra holes but it doesn't look like any hooks have been moved.
The loom was in use with these shafts when I picked it up so it must work. I will set it up and hope for the best. And I will contact the seller to see if she can shed some light on the issue.


Posted on Wed, 09/25/2013 - 13:45

Extra holes?  Top shafts will have 2 hooks evenly spaced to the width of the cables that hang from the top of the loom.  Bottom shaft bars will have 2 hooks but the hooks will change in sets of 4, no extra holes, just cup hooks.  The spacing change is subtle youhave to compare all the lower bars together, group them into 4 the same, the distance changes slightly for each set.


Posted on Wed, 09/25/2013 - 14:07

I have lined all the bars up against a solid surface to try and see any difference in the hook spacing but 28 of the bars have the hooks in exactly the same position. If there is any difference in the spacing it is so insignificant it couldn't possibly make a difference. The remaining 4 bars have the hooks in a noticeably different position. 2 bars have the hooks spaced out further and 2 have the hooks spaced closer.

I was checking for additional holes in the bars to see if the hooks had been moved by someone from the original position but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Thanks for taking the time to help, it is very much appreciated.


Posted on Wed, 09/25/2013 - 20:36

First I would like to tell you how wonderful the customer service at AVL has been. Bob Kruger has answered all my questions regarding this issue and I am extremely thankful for his quick and informative response.

Apparently my loom was originally a 12H Modular loom made in 1986. Somewhere along the way it was converted to a 16H Mechanical Dobby. He suggested putting the 2 bars with the narrow spacing on the bottom front shafts and the 2 bars with the wider spacing on the bottom back shafts. Then fill in the rest with the remaining bars.

I know the loom was weaving beautiful cloth before I took it apart so I'm sure it will again.

Thanks again for your help/info/comments. I'm sure I will have more questions as I finish putting the loom back together.


Posted on Wed, 09/25/2013 - 20:45

From page 4-7 of



6.) Attaching the Spring Lever Chain

Now that you have assembled and hung all of your harness
sticks, you can hook them up to the spring lever chain. Near the outside end of
each spring lever is a chain. Please note the chain length varies as you move further
back, so the chains for harness #1 are about 6 1/4"; number 40's are 7
1/2". Take the end link of your last spring lever on the left side and hook
it to the left screweye on the underside of the last harness stick.  Repeat for the right side. Now hook up all of
the harnesses in the same fashion.


I checked my 1990 AVL and the 4 harnesses closest to the
front have eyes closest together.  The
next set of 4 (h5-h8) have eyes a bit further apart, ... with h13-h16 having
the eyes spaced widest apart.  This
observation is consistent with the documentation and confirms other posts.


AVL posts a wealth of documentation on


Congratulations - You are going to LOVE your loom!