Countermarche - 130cm loom


Posted on Thu, 12/06/2018 - 04:47

A couple months ago, I purchased a countermarche loom. I have successfully warped it and completed a few projects, and I'm super happy with the loom overall.  

The previous owner told me the loom was a Lervad loom, though there are no markings on it indicating the manufacturer. He also thought it was a custom made loom because of the size. It has a 130cm weaving width, and it seems particularly deep compared to other countermarche looms – it is 63.5in from the front of the breast beam to the back of the warp beam. Based on the limited information the previous owner was able to give me, I believe it was likely made in the 1970s. Overall, compared to other looms I've seen, it looks most similar to a Glimakra.


1. I only have one reed and it is not full weaving width. I will need to buy more. Will reeds from any manufacturer fit in most looms? 

2. I am going to need to acquire a few items to accomodate the full 130cm weaving width, like lease sticks, warping sticks, and maybe a raddle. From my browsing around, this doesn't seem like a size that is produced regularly by the major loom manufacturers . Other than making these items myself, any ideas on where these items can be purchased?

3. I may eventually need to replace the ratchet wheels. Are these interchangeable with those from other loom brands (like Glimakra), or do they tend to be manufacturer specific? 

4. Given the depth of the loom, I've been struggling with short warps (like 2 yards or less). I find that for warps this short, the tie on beam doesn't wind over the warp beam, always remaining in front of the warp beam. As a result, gravity pulls the warp beam down making  threading, sleying, and tie-ing on a challenge, because I am constantly fighting the weight of the tie-on beam. For threading, I usually have the breast beam and beater removed, so adding support sticks doesn't seem like an option. I would just warp more than 2 yards all the time, but that seems like overkill if I'm just needing to sample. Any ideas? 

Thanks for any help!

Posted on Thu, 12/06/2018 - 23:32

It does look like a Lervad.

1 Any reed will fit your loom if it fits in the beater. Custom lengths can be ordered.

2 You may have to get longer sticks, etc. and cut them off.

3. Why do you need to replace the ratchets?  You may be able to find something that fits, may have to have something made.

4. I'm not sure why you want to work with such sort warps.  It takes as much work to beam, thread and sley a one yard warp as a twenty yard warp.  Try replacing the tie on rod (what you are calling the beam) with cords to groups of threads, or support rods to hold the rod from the gallows

Posted on Fri, 12/07/2018 - 05:40

Thanks so much for your response.

1. How do I know if the reed will fit in the beater before I order it? I know the length I need, so that's not the issue. My question is more concerned with whether all reeds fit into the "gutters" of my beater so it can hold it properly.  Are there measurements for the thickness of the base/top so I know that the beater can hold it? Is there any chance a reed would be too thick so that my beater couldn't hold it? Background: until I bought this loom, I had never seen another floor loom (except in pictures), so I'm sure it's a question that will be obvious with experience, but I'm hesitant to order a reed until I am confident it will be suitable.

3. One of the ratchets is cracked through the middle of the large circular wood portion, although the metal "toothy" part of the ratchet seems to be holding it all together. I've also had to reglue multiple handles on the ratchets that have come loose. So while I'm not positive the ratchets will need to be replaced, I'm anticpating they might.

4. I'm using short warps mostly because I don't have a lot of weaving experience, and a) I'm trying to gain knowledge of yarns and how they look, feel, and behave in a weave, and b) I need to get more comfortable with the steps for warping. I am working on some projects from patterns in books, but my preference is to create my own designs, so I'm also sampling a lot, trying lots of different yarns/patterns.  In the near future I'll be warping much longer lengths, but not quite yet.  For dealing the falling tie-on rod, I like your suggestions. The easiest thing will be to try to figure out how to use some support rods beneath the tie-on rod, but I also like the idea of the cords to the groups of threads as well. If the support rods don't work, I'll definitely try that. 

Thanks again!!

Posted on Fri, 12/07/2018 - 16:07

If you look at my first response, I say that all reeds will fit the beater . What I meant is that all reeds will fit in the beater, if they are the right length.  They are all the same width, unless you go on Ebay and get youraelf an antique reed made of real reed.

For your ratchets, use good woodworkers glue and clamps.  Ratchets are expensive to replace if you can find one; much more so if you need to have it made.  If you don't know what a clamp is or how to use it, take it to a woodworker to have it glued.

Most people who like to sample a lot on short warps get small table looms.  I only sample on extra warp at the front of a planned project to establish sett for an odd yarn.  

I have never put a warp on just to sample because I would consider it a waste of time to beam a warp that didn't make something useful, but that is my mindset.

Posted on Fri, 12/07/2018 - 22:05

Thanks for all this info and for taking the time to respond to me!

Posted on Tue, 12/25/2018 - 13:12

I have a Glimakra Standard loom and seeing your picture I'd say your loom looks almost identical to mine.

There is a lot of information on the Glimakra site including manuals which will be handy for you if you don't have one. I love my Glimakra loom. I haven't found a reed yet that didn't fit and you don't need a reed the full width of the loom if you're not using the full width all the time.

One of the things I really like about this loom is that I can just walk into the back of the loom. My loom can be used as a counter marche loom or a counter balance loom. The 'wheels' on the side of the loom are called 'helms'.

I hope I've been of some help.


Posted on Thu, 12/27/2018 - 00:38

That said, I don't think you have a Lervad.  The construction is similar, but my Lervad  is made of beech, not pine.  Glymakra uses pine.  Looking closer, yours has pegs holding it together, instead of the bolts that mine does.

Posted on Thu, 12/27/2018 - 20:34

Suzi - I agree. The Glimakra site is fabulous.  My loom does look similar enough to a Glimakra and I have been relying heavily on their info (along with all of the great info on Weavolution plus The Big Book of Weaving, The Swedish Weaving Book, both of Joanne Hall's books, and the Vavstuga "flippy" book.... I've seriously tried to cover my bases!). I think I've got a pretty good handle on all the loom mechanics. I've been struggling a little with the tie up.... mostly trying to avoid all the lamms/treadles from crashing into one another. But I think I've even got that worked out  (I changed out my heddles from 13" to 11", and I weighted all of the lower lamms).  I have the equipment for counterbalance too, but have yet to try it out.

Big White Sofa Dog - Good info about the pine construction and pegs.  Can you suggest any other clues for me to look for? Does your Lervad have a manufacturer's mark? I wonder if my loom was custom made to resemble a Glimakra. 

Even though it's my first floor loom, I think in a lot of ways this loom has been really good for me to understand all the mechanics. I really have had to study everything, which I'm sure will prove to be a benefit. This loom does seem to have some quirks, some of which I appreciate – for instance, the breast beam stands at 33", which I understand is lower than many looms, but since I'm only 5'2" that works out for me (even though it probably gives me less wiggle room for the tie up) – and some I find just odd – like unevenly spaced lacing holes in the cloth beam (I still feel like I'm getting even tension despite this anomoly). 

Posted on Thu, 12/27/2018 - 23:03

You know it is important to have a warp on, threaded, sleyed, tied and tensioned, before you can evaluate "mechanics"?

Evenness of sheds, returns to "neutral", lamms and treadles clashing... : a warp is essential to the function of both CB and CM looms. (Myself, I would treat other loom types the same, "just to make sure".)

Also, remember: every weaver opens a shed to weave - after the pick is made, a new shed is opened - and so on. What I mean is: if something does not return to "neutral" when you let go the treadle, it does not matter *if* the next shed works correctly when the next treadle is pushed. Also: the top of the shed is of small importance - the shuttle glides on the shed floor. If the (uneven) top of the shed does nt catch on the shuttle/bobbin, such unevenness is of no importance.

The same goes for "when I take out th pins the shafts sink" (on a CM) - *first* evaluate the sheds. If tehy work ok, all is fine. If not, then you might have to adjust.

Good luck, and have fun!

Posted on Sat, 12/29/2018 - 23:52

kerstinfroberg- Thanks for double checking that I had a warp on. You are right to verify the simplest steps.

But yes, when dealing with the tie up, I have had a well-tensioned warp on. My issues with the tie up had less to do with clean sheds (remarkably, that has been the easier part for me), but more with setting the spacing between the shafts/lamms/treadles to allow enough range of movement with each treadle to get a shuttle-passable shed at all. I followed all of the directions in all of the books I mentioned above, but no matter how many times I redid it, invariably I had lamms hitting shafts, upper lamms colliding with and crossing lower lamms, and/or lamms crashing treadles, all limiting the range of movement. I also had heddles that loosened and seemed to jump about on the first couple of shafts when they rose. And, unfortunately, when I pulled the pins, I wouldn't get a slight drop, but a significant multi-inch drop on some shafts, while others would drop a smaller amount, so the spacing between the shafts and lamms became wildly inconsistent. I was definitely frustrated!

So, after reading what I think was probably every post on the subject on Weavolution, I took a very methodical approach. First, (between projects) I switched out the 13" heddles that came with my loom from the prior owner with 11" heddles, which gave me some extra space beneath the shafts for movement. Second, (with a warp on) because my lower lamms were the same length and weight as the upper lamms, I weighted the lower lamms.  Now, my shafts don't fall at all when I pull the pins, so I've controlled for that variable. The only two variables I had left were the angle of the lamms and the height of the treadles.  I left my lower lamms parallel to the floor, but angled my upper lamms up from the pivot point (about 2" up from parallel worked for me). And then starting with the treadle furthest away from the lamm pivot point, I set it to a height that is approximately half the height of the heddles (about 5.5" from the floor). Success! Clean sheds, no parts colliding. I was then able to attach each of the additional treadles without issue. It took me over a week and a lot of patience to get it all worked out, but I definitely feel confident now. I doubt I will have tie-up trouble again. :)

Posted on Sun, 12/30/2018 - 07:42


My loom is a "frankenloom" with several generations of accesssories - the treadles ans lamms are original, but the top pieces (countermarche and 16 shafts) are made by Öxabäck. This means thigs are not "made to balance" - sometimes I have lamms clashing. Usually that comes right after an advancig of the warp, and is usually an effect of the haddles creeping forwrd with the warp. Remedy to that: stomp on all (as many as possible with two feet) the treadles at the same time - this often make the heddles go back to the "best" position along the warp, if not, I push the whole shaft-"package" back a little.

(sounds more complicated than it is - it has become automatic for me...)

So, again: have fun!

Posted on Sun, 12/30/2018 - 16:04

I know mine is a Lervad because it is labeled A Lervad Made in Denmark.  All of the things you have done are good steps to take.  I don't think that yourr loom is a handmade copy of a Glimakra becase those ratchets are expensive items and very difficult to manucture in a home shop.  Hand made looms generally use ratchet designs just as effective, but easier to make, if perhaps less attractive.  Weavers are very imaginative when it comes to warp beam brakes.  Other things that will give you more room under the loom are raising the feet and making the upper lamms float, hanging them from the shafts.  Both sets of lamms can float, but that would be changing it to a parallel countermache system, which is a different story.

Posted on Mon, 12/31/2018 - 17:14

Floating the upper lamms is an interesting idea. Am I understanding that to do that you tie the upper lamms in one or two places to the lower shaft bar? And then I assume you also disengage those lamms from the pivot?

Posted on Sun, 12/30/2018 - 16:27

If you look at Kerstin's comments, you may get an idea why it may not look exactly like a Glimakra, even thought it probably is one.  It certainly didn't have 13" heddles to begin with.  The reason my Lervad is a parallel countermarche instead of the original horizontal jack countermarch is that some of the jacks were warped (the warped jacks may have been replacements made of unseasoned wood).  I got tired of clearing jack jams; it didn't really have enough space for the lamms to travel, I had to move it from the house to my studio, so as long as I had to put it back together anyway, I converted it.  The original owner would probably not rcognize it.

Aother thing that I have read about, but never tried becase both my countermarche looms are parallel, is to tie the treadles at different heights,  the highest one closest to the pivot point.  Also tying the treadle tightest to the last shaft, getting looser as you go forward can help.

Posted on Sun, 12/30/2018 - 20:49

Come to think of it - most (all, I think) Glimåkras I have seen have 5 spokes on the ratchet wheels.

Not necessarily conclusieve, but...

Posted on Tue, 01/01/2019 - 18:31

You'r right, all the pictures I see have five handles.

Yess, floating upper lamms are attached at each end to the lower heddle bar, and not to the loom frame. If the pic loads properly, you can see the floating lamms.