Building a Rigid heddle loom

I'm a woodworker and my fiancee is a long time knitter and fancier of all things fiber.     She wants to weave.    I like to create beautiful things from wood.    So it seems natural that I would build her a loom.     I got real lucky on Craigslist [I think :-)] so we have a 32", 4 harness Hammett coming, but it will be a project to refinish and set up---  So I'd still like to put together a  [folding?] table loom in the mean time.

I thought there would be dozens of plans to choose from, but now I don't even see where anyone else is looking for plans.    Granted, they aren't a lot of money to buy, but I have a garage full of maple, cherry & walnut pieces-- and the urge to create a one of a kind loom with the best features of all of the looms I've been looking at.

Am I missing something?  Is there a forum or a book that does a lot of the sorting through of things that work-- and things that don't?

My thoughts at this point make it a folder, about 15-20" wide, bearings for the beams, metal pawls,[cranks or knobs?]; it will use 2 heddles, which I will buy.......  [I don't see much difference between manufacturers--  is there a stand-out?]

I think I should look for or create a thread somewhere [on the Rigid heddle group?] along the lines of 'this is what I love [or hate] about my rigid heddle loom.    

Any suggestions- on building, researching, or using are appreciated--

Thanks

Jim

 

 

Comments

Posted on Thu, 10/30/2014 - 15:45

The hangup, if there is one, is finding the ratchet and pawl for the tensioning. They are NOT standard parts found at hardware stores - each loom maker designs and has theirs made to spec.

Without a good tensioning device that has many teeth, the functionality of a simple rigid heddle loom is impaired. Same goes for the heddles - if you decide to build your own loom, you should make your heddle blocks capable of holding either a Schacht, Kromski or Ashford heddle.

Posted on Fri, 10/31/2014 - 14:20

I agree with Sara, but thought I'd just mentioned that I once assembled an old donated 'barn loom' that had a sawblade for the ratchet. Not sure it worked very well, but it sure was inventive!

For the heddle, accuracy would be really important if you make your own. 12 holes and slots per inch really needs to be that. And no loom works well without good tensioning.

Another comment-- a folding table loom and a rigid heddle loom are not necessarily the same thing. A table loom can have shafts, a rigid heddle loom does not.  I know I've seen loom plans somewhere, but not sure what. And if you do indeed make something that folds--- be sure that it stays unfolded when it's under tension. Looms are all about keeping even tension on threads, that's a big part of what they're for. That and lowering/ raising threads. 

Posted on Fri, 10/31/2014 - 23:25

The Hammet might not take the amount of work that you think.  If you want to keep it in your livingroom as a piece of furniture, you want to give it a nice finish, but if that isn't the case, the finish is not important.  I have great looms with no finish at all.  Rigid heddle looms are very different in use from a floor loom (or a table loom) .  Having a rigid heddle in preparation for a floor loom is a little like practicing to drive a car with a bicycle.  There are plans out there for table looms, and perhaps you could make a special table loom, which works more like a floor loom.

Posted on Fri, 10/31/2014 - 23:25

The Hammet might not take the amount of work that you think.  If you want to keep it in your livingroom as a piece of furniture, you want to give it a nice finish, but if that isn't the case, the finish is not important.  I have great looms with no finish at all.  Rigid heddle looms are very different in use from a floor loom (or a table loom) .  Having a rigid heddle in preparation for a floor loom is a little like practicing to drive a car with a bicycle.  There are plans out there for table looms, and perhaps you could make a special table loom, which works more like a floor loom.

Posted on Sat, 11/01/2014 - 01:36

"Having a rigid heddle in preparation for a floor loom is a little like practicing to drive a car with a bicycle."

perfect.

Posted on Sat, 11/01/2014 - 07:39

Sawblades are quite common for the cloth beam ratchet in older "home made" Swedish looms (including mine). Works perfectly! (but perhaps a *new* blade is not the best choice...)

Posted on Sat, 11/01/2014 - 12:35

Ingamarie,

Thanks for weighing in--  I love the idea of a sawblade--  I have plenty of them around of varying coarseness and sizes--

Before I start cutting wood I should look at some table looms with shafts-- but the 'plan' at this point is a really simple, portable loom.  That said- my life never seems to follow the original path.

Posted on Sat, 11/01/2014 - 14:48

One word of caution - it is quite common for persons with wood or metal working skills to wish to build spinning or weaving equipment. If that person is not entirely sure of how the device should function, the stresses involved, how the parts interact to produce quality yarn or fabric, it often leads to features that are not functional and detract from what this tool is supposed to do.

We do repairs on fiber tools and the words "home built" over the phone do not conjure up images of items that are desirable. I'd really suggest waiting for this first floor loom to come, test drive it, and then see if you'd like to build a loom.

Posted on Sat, 11/01/2014 - 15:37

I have a book with some very good patterns and instructions for building two different types of table looms, and inkle loom, and a jack loom.  These are not quickie-simple-cheap, but are actually very good designs.  The book is Loom Construction by Hjert and Von Rosenstiel.  It is out of print, but the last time I looked, Amazon had several used copies for sale.  I can't send you any designs from it because the copywrite prohibits any copy of the plans, and is still effective.  In general, I agree with Sara that looms and spinning wheels are machines, and good woodworking skills don't neccessarily make a working product.  However, with a good plan, you can make a great loom.  My favorite loom was made about 1750 by an excellent carpenter for someone just about my size.  Have fun!     

Posted on Mon, 11/03/2014 - 13:08

Thanks all--   I haven't dropped off the face of the earth-- but a simple leaky toilet has led to an entire bathroom remodel--- so I'l be wearing some different hats for a month or so.

I do apreciate all the varying opinions and ideas-- and will be going forward with both loom plans. [after all, I *do* have a car, a bicycle-- and a couple kayaks-- so there will likely be even more looms in my future.:-)]

The Hammett from the sale is in the garage--   Might be missing a beam?

Here's the puzzle;

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll235/elbrecht/Weaving/Hammett%20Loom/hammettloom.jpg

Plenty of time to 'think' about this before I get going on it.

Posted on Mon, 11/03/2014 - 13:08

Thanks all--   I haven't dropped off the face of the earth-- but a simple leaky toilet has led to an entire bathroom remodel--- so I'l be wearing some different hats for a month or so.

I do apreciate all the varying opinions and ideas-- and will be going forward with both loom plans. [after all, I *do* have a car, a bicycle-- and a couple kayaks-- so there will likely be even more looms in my future.:-)]

The Hammett from the sale is in the garage--   Might be missing a beam?

Here's the puzzle;

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll235/elbrecht/Weaving/Hammett%20Loom/hammettloom.jpg

Plenty of time to 'think' about this before I get going on it.

Posted on Mon, 11/03/2014 - 20:59

Thank you for looking, Sara--  that makes sense.  I'll have to do some reading. 

I hesitated on ordering the manual before because Janet said there were 2--      I think I'll ask her to take a look and see if one covers my loom.

 

Thanks,

Jim

Posted on Tue, 11/04/2014 - 00:22

You appear to have a warping reel there also.  That's the stuff to the right of the picture.  The piece with the pegs and the pieces with tapered ends.

Posted on Tue, 11/04/2014 - 14:29

You are missing the cast iron "wheel" like ends to your warp beam assembly.  This also includes the rear brake ratchet and the pawl and possibly the brake treadle.  And I don't see the cloth beam handle with the crescent shaped pawl used to advance the warp.

 

Unless that dog ate them.

Hammett Loom

Photo link

Couldn't figure out how to post the photo to this comment.  Scroll down the link to see it.  You appear to be missing almost all of the cast iron parts.

Posted on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 13:24

Ahh-- Thanks.      I emailed the seller to tell her to keep an eye out for the iron stuff.     She said she's been looking for the bolts--  there is probably a bucket of stuff in her attic.    Those might be some tricky things to reproduce--  maybe I'll see an 'upgrade' I like before I get that far.

[I've x-rayed the dog-- He is innocent. :-)]

Posted on Fri, 11/07/2014 - 09:32

If you know the shape and # teeth on the ratchet, a good shop with a plasma cutter can make them if the saw blae idea doesn't work. I to built a loom, bt it was vertical countermarch, I have been able to weave anything I've attempted so far and I'm still finding new weaves to try out. A loom and it's functioning parts have to be balanced for things to work right. They are not at all sophisicated machines, some are more elaborate which can introduce some challanges to function and others are very simple in design when you stand back and look at them. Take a weave that can be achieved on two different looms and one loom may get it done far more efficient than another even if they come with a manufacurer's lable. Just read the forum here and discover the various challenges folks face with their loom. ;)

 

Good luck. :)

Posted on Sat, 05/02/2015 - 17:18

That is, if you're still interested.  I was looking for plans, too, and surprised that they are so scarce.  I used to have a couple books with plans, no idea where the books are.  So went hunting, & in process came across your post here on Weavolution. Got a kick out of how you started referring to the Hammett as "my loom".  Heh, hooked already.

About rigid heddle looms: The first rigid heddle looms I ever saw didn't have a lick of metal in them (pegged, not screwed, and used a peg and block system for braking the beam. They were plenty stable.  Antiques, I only saw them in use at a local farm museum.  That might be a good place to look for ideas for building.  Building one doesn't have to be all that complicated. And it's a good way to learn the principals, without a lot of material at stake.  As for bicycle vs cars, you can get the feel of weaving on a rigid heddle that will tell you if weaving is for you, and get an idea of the process.  More tricks on a full-size loom, but you've got a head-start. 

Here's somebody who had the same idea you did about building and just jumped in (obviously did some homework first, then winged it and learned as he went).  Might provide a place to start.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Scrapwood-Loom/

Annie

Posted on Sun, 08/16/2015 - 11:21

I am absolutly new to weaving, but I do a lot of DIY. I get great enjoyment from making as much as possible and it means I get to play with things I could not possibly afford to buy.

A rigid heddle loom is my newest project and as mentioned above, I too have discovered that getting dimensions on line is well nigh impossible.

My first little loomBeing keen to get to the weaving bit, my first loom is based on a 200mm (8") rigid heddle that I purchased. The distance between rollers is two feet. This works fine but I need to stop quite often to wind on the project. My next loom will be based on a 600mm (24") heddle. Does anyone know how long an Ashford (or any other make) rigid heddle loom for this width is? 

I have just joined the forum but once I get to grips wiith the system and my project is complete, I hope to upload detailed drawings and instructions so that others may benefit.

James

Posted on Sun, 08/16/2015 - 16:46

You might want to start by looking at literature about weaving and looms and see what parameters are involved in designing a loom. DIY isn't always enough to give you the perspective of a veteran weaver. That would be a big help deciding how to build your envisioned loom.

And it is not at all hard to understand that those who make quality weaving equipment do not give away free plans with complete dimensions.

Posted on Mon, 08/17/2015 - 08:37

Thank you Sara

I have spent many hours reading about weaving in various sorts of looms and have produced a few straps, bands and cloth samples. The little loom pictured is version four. I learned by my mistakes! Now I am happy that it is a practical working loom despite the narrow weaving width. I consider it a sampler to practice on and to try out various yarns without wasting too much material.

I am not looking for free plans! I just wanted a little advise from experienced people like yourself so that when I build my working loom it can be an appropriate length.

Posted on Mon, 08/17/2015 - 11:15

I built my first loom, a rigid heddle, with much inspiration from Meggo's Kromski Harp.  I wasn't permitted to use the Harp as it always had Meggo's projects on it. :-)  There are photos of it on my site, but only incidental "action" shots.  I haven't written a "build" article for it. Say so, if I should write one. 

Home made rigid heddle loom, in action.More photos and too much text at, http://weait.com/weave-step-by-step-part-1 :-)

The cautions above, regarding tension are worth considering.  If I were building this loom again, I would make the ratchet stronger. Specifically, I'd reinforce the connection of the ratchet to the warp and cloth beams. The screws I used, in the wood I used, are working loose. 

I have over-tightened this loom, which caused a noisy failure.  It was recoverable, but not much fun. 

Still, I wouldn't trade the experience of this building project.  It's my first loom and I have great affection for it, and the projects I managed to create with it. 

Quick specs.  four rigid heddles; 30" weaving width; maple and poplar, cast white metal ratchet and pawl.