Old Cranbrook Countermarche

Someone gave me a Cranbrook countermarche loom that is about 25 years old.  It is many pieces, and I know almost nothing about weaving.  I need resources - books, pictures, DVDs, etc. - to point me in the right direction. I have time, patience, and enthusiasm, but no knowledge. I'm signed up to take a weaving class at my local yarn store, but I understand we will not be learning on a countermarche loom.   Any suggestions?


Posted on Sat, 02/20/2010 - 21:01


We supply some countermarch information with our countermarch looms.  These would be helpful. Contact me at joanne at glimakrausa dot com

TYING UP THE COUNTERMARCH LOOM, $18.50 shows making beam cords,
explains Texsolv heddles and cord, shows assembly of the shafts, lamms
and treadles, the assembly of the countermarch, step by step tie up
instructions, adjusting sheds, tying knots, sett chart, reed chart and
metric conversions.  It also shows all the loom parts

THE BIG BOOK OF WEAVING, $29.95 has many
diagrams and instructions for loom assembly, warping, tying up both
counterbalance and countermarch plus 40 projects, starting with an easy
one.  The projects have color photos and they each teach you something
new.  Plus, there are many helpful explanations of how to use weaving
equipment and how to do special weaving techniques.

with the loom frame assembled but without the shafts.  It shows
putting on beam cords, assembling shafts, warping, tying up both
counterbalance and countermarch.  You will see all the loom parts in the


Posted on Sat, 02/20/2010 - 21:05

 1. Buy Laila Lundell's "Big Book of Weaving" - it covers countermarche and counterbalance looms better than any other title in English.

2. If you have a real Cranbrook, they have a metal plate on the upper beater bar with the serial and model number on them. Write to Janet Meany (weaversfriend.com) - she has manuals for the various models they built. Most are quite similar. This loom type is pretty standard and doesn't need tons of explanation to set up the loom.

3. Weaving is weaving. A countermarche loom is not a Communist plot, but a quality loom for making quality fabric. The only real difference is in the way the treadles hook to the shafts, and that the shafts move both up and down. Enjoy your classes and use the book recommended in step 1 to transfer what you learn to your new loom.

Posted on Sat, 02/20/2010 - 23:27

Your information is most helpful.  My husband and I are surrounded by beautiful pieces of a three-dimensional puzzle.  I found the model and serial number, and will email Janet.  We have the original brochure that must have come with the loom, but the pictures aren't specific enough to help us figure out where the pieces go! We've downloaded Schacht's Cranbrook Loom Instructions, but the looms are not quite the same.  Such an adventure!

Posted on Thu, 02/25/2010 - 14:17


I have purchased, dis-mantled and re-assembled two old Cranbrooks.  I have the original instructions, I would be happy to copy and mail them to you.  I am in Maryland, if you are within a days drive of me I would be happy to come help in person.  I am also available by phone if I can help that way, 301-373-4403.


Cranbooks are wonderful looms, no matter what the age!!


Good luck!


Beth P.

Posted on Mon, 03/01/2010 - 22:14

Thanks to Beth and everyone.  Schacht supplied a pdf of an assembly manual for an older model Cranbrook.  We got the loom together this weekend.  It's gorgeous, and I can hardly wait to begin a project. 

Posted on Sat, 10/16/2010 - 09:54


Your loom is not old at all now mine is old is is one of the fist 3 first built at the start of the Crandbrook Loom Company

Cranbrook Looms are still being built so just order the infromation to put your Cranbrook Loom together from Cranbrook

You have a great loom


Posted on Mon, 04/11/2011 - 00:19

It's been 20 years since I had a Cranbrook and I don't totally remember the mental concept of countermarche. I do remember "top down - bottom up". Hence the top set of lamms pull the threads down. The bottom lamms lift(as in a jack loom) threads. Yes? If I'm only using 4 of the 8 shafts, how do I tie the unused shafts?  Does ever lamm need to be tied to a treadle? If it's not tied to the upper, then it must be tied to the lower? HELP! 

Posted on Mon, 04/11/2011 - 01:25

Lower lams lift is an easy way to remember the tieup.

On a big loom like yours, you can remove unused shafts and lams to simplify things, or simply keep enough ties on the "back forty" to prevent them from dropping down.

If you are using all 8 shafts, yes, each treadle needs to be tied to all 8 shafts. If just keeping them from interfering, use one or two ties to the last 4.

Posted on Sun, 10/19/2014 - 18:11

I am in a similar situation. I believe that I can get this assembled, but cannot find a manual for this model. We are stuck at the treadle tie-ups, with the chains. 

Beth P., we even tried to call you, but it's been awhile, so I think your number has changed. 

Illoominated: I looked for a pdf for an older model. I cannot find it. Woudl you be willing to forward it to me, if I can get you my info.?

Thanks in advance for possible help. I would love to get this done asap.

Posted on Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:33

I also have an older Cranbrook, love it, well worth the trouble of getting it set up.  Have you looked at the manual on the Schacht Spindle website?


I found it very useful in getting my collection of parts turned into a working loom.  While there have been some changes, this should answer about 90% of your questions.



The Schacht version is set up with texsolve, yours has chains.  they do the same thing functionally and you'll mainly have to sort to get the chains to match the proper texsolve equivalent in the Schacht manual.  The Y-shaped texsolve from the inner end of the jacks to the lower lamm has an exactly equivalent chain.  There are medium long chains that go from the outer ends of the jacks to the outer ends of the shafts.  And so on.  Method of adjustment is the same, change which link is connected as opposed to which hole in texsolv.  The chains are attached with little "L" shaped bars that slip through the chain (long leg) after it goes through the lamm and the short end of the "L" pegs into a small hole next to the big one.

Instead of a screw mechanism on the cloth beam you have another ratchet.  It is attached to the handle outside the frame unlike the warp beam where the ratchet is inside the frame.

Release mechanism for the rear ratchet is different.  New Cranbrooks have a foot pedal mechanism to release the ratchet.  Old ones have a long gray handle instead.  Its is doglegged to run it through frame from inside to outside.  You have to get up and move to side of loom to release it when you want to advance the loom.

The outer frame is slightly different.  Schacht extended the frame to move the warp beam back.  On yours the rear cross beam tenons through the rear upright and the rear upright is where those stubs on the Schacht Cranbrook are.


I'm not sure (from memory) that there are any other differences.

Hoped that helps.  There are original manuals out there for your Cranbrook, but I don't have a copy where I'm working temporarily up in Canada.

Good luck

Jeff Anderson

Livonia, MI

Posted on Mon, 10/20/2014 - 15:07

I have PDF files of a couple of Cranbrook manuals.  PM me and I can send them - they go together easily.  As for the treadles, the long treadle chains are for the upper lamms, short are for lower.  Each treadle is tied to every shaft being used, lower lamms give you the pattern shafts as with a jack loom.  That was the hardest part for me, the drafts and tieing the treadles up after weaving for years on a jack loom.  Just remember, "bottoms up".

Posted on Wed, 10/22/2014 - 02:19

one thing to be aware of, the Schaht L pins are a different diameter (as in larger) than the earlier L pins.  I bought some (for my Bexall)  not knowing that they are a different size. Nor being warned by Schaht. Might be worth being aware and confirming that the pin that Schacht is selling you is the appropriate size for your loom's age.  Maybe just buy a couple so you are confident they fit.

Posted on Wed, 10/22/2014 - 14:06

Not a problem for me anymore, I converted my Bexall Cranbrook to texsolv when I added shafts 5-8 and the associated treadles.  Turned out to be cheaper than buying additional chain.  But if I had to, it would be easy enough to find matching diameter music wire and bend your own.  I say music wire because for this use you'll need hard wire, soft steel would bend out of shape too easily.


Jeff Anderson

Livonia, MI

Posted on Tue, 06/13/2017 - 11:41

Joe, would you be able to send me photos of this loom? I have an older one and can't find any that look like it and I'm trying to assemble it


Posted on Fri, 01/03/2020 - 16:19

<p>I am attempting to assemble a very old Bexell-built loom. Many missing pieces of the &quot;working parts&quot; need to be made.</p><p>My question for this group is whether suspended upper lams or pivoted upper lams is best? Diagrams for the loom show the upper lams were suspended, while photos of&nbsp;similar looms show the upper lams to be mounted at the side pivot point.</p><p>Thanks for any informative help. Apologies for whatever I&#39;m doing wrong in typing -- formatting is a puzzle.</p>

Posted on Fri, 01/03/2020 - 17:02

Both methods, pivoting and suspended, work.  Pivoting is more traditional and is the older method.  Floating lamms are easier to tie up.  If your lamms have a hole on one side for a pivot, they are intended to pivot.  If they have holes on both sides to be tied to the shaft, they are suspended.  You can't suspend lamms meant to pivot because the holes for the cords to the treadles won't line up.  So it's not really a question of what is better, but which way your loom is designed to be assembled.

The formating characters are being added by your browser.

Posted on Fri, 01/03/2020 - 17:02

<p>I have no upper lams to go by, however there is a pivot position for the upper lams. Judging by the print information, either type must be acceptable. Is one or the other easier to use (treadle pressure, tie-up, adjustment, etc)? And, if pivot-mounted, how much shorter than the&nbsp;lower lams should the uppers be? This is a 47&quot;-48&quot; loom and will be set up&nbsp;with 8-shafts, 10 treadles (all of which have to be made).</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>PS using Internet Explorer ....&nbsp;(EDIT does not show the formatting)</p>

Posted on Fri, 01/03/2020 - 17:44

If you have no lamms, and must make them, suspended lamms are easier to tie up because when you have pivoting lamms, the cords attached to the end of the lamm are longer than those closest to the pivot point.  Suspended lamms have cords that are all the same lenght (you don't have to allow for the fact that the lamm moves less as it approaches the pivot point).  The lower lamm must balance the upper lamm and the shaft.  This is why the upper lamm is lighter and shorter than the lower.

Posted on Fri, 01/03/2020 - 17:37

<p>Thank you, bwsd, for your helpful information.<br />I&#39;ll be moving forward in the woodshop and will soon have a working loom again (I hope)!</p>

Posted on Mon, 03/16/2020 - 23:32

<p>I am assembling my Collingwood loom, so the Cranbrook is taking a break. I cannot figure out how to take off the warp wheels for the warp and supplemental warp beams. If anyone out there has a PDF of the manual for that vintage of Cranbrook, or advice on how to remove them I&#39;d be very grateful! Thanks so much, Lisa Hardaway</p>