I've got some really pretty cherry, and I'd like try making my own end feed shuttles (I'm going to get myself a plunge router for my birthday). Does anyone know where to get a Honex tensioner? Several manufacturers use these, so they must be available somewhere, but I can't find anything on line. I could probably figure something out, but I'd like the option if I could.
Have you asked someone like Maurice Brassard (Leclerc) about them? They use them in their professional fly shuttle.
My own failure to find a source on line surprised me although I kept thinking about asking those offering handmade shuttles about their sources. Some are on Etsy and of course Bluster Bay kept coming back to my mind. Reed Guy's suggestion leads me to offer suggestions and report an interesting alternative.
The Loom Doctor, Tom Beaudet ([email protected]) may have a source to share. He and others probably also end up with shuttles from which the device would appropriately be salvaged and easily cleaned up for reuse. In my searching I also ran into what may be an older solution using disks rather like the tensioning device on a sewing machine.
I am convinced there is a source after seeing very different offerings from small woodworking shops. Former manufacturers of looms such as John of Woolhouse Tools (that still has end feed boat shuttle on price list) may also be able to supply parts.
Looking forward to the rest of the story,
I have an old Leclerc fly shuttle for my older Leclerc loom. I used it a lot over the years. But, it does not have this kind of tensioner. It just has a couple extra holes where you can direct the thread if you need to add tension. However, I never needed it. The thread simply comes on one hole in the front of the shuttle. That is all the tension I ever needed.
A couple years ago I borrowed an end delivery shuttle with the honex tensioner and I tried many different threads on two different warps. My conclusion was that I had to keep the tension completely open to avoid the pulling in of the selvages. One reason for this is if you practice and really start weaving something, you will be weaving faster. Then, you don't need any tension on the thread, as your throwing the shuttle will create enough drag on the thread without adding any more.
I returned the shuttle after asking another experienced weaver to test it. Her conclusion was the same. She did not need the tensioner at all.
So, you might try a couple shuttles before you purchase the tensioner.
And, my experience is that you will want at least 3 inches of slender tapered wood at the ends of the shuttle to make the catching easier.
I made my own fly shuttle as well, and I feel the same as Joanne. You just need something to hold the yarn in it's path through the shuttle. :)
I have end feed shuttles for hand use from Bluster Bay, and EFS for fly shuttle use from AVL and Leclerc. The Leclerc is about 8 years old; the AVLs are from the 80's. The BB have hooks, which work well for some yarns but not for others. I took a better look at the fly shuttles, which have metal tensioners. AVL has Honex, which is stamped on the device. However, the tensioner that I like is on the Leclerc shuttle, which is not Honex, or at least not marked. I have used this on a lot of different warps, and have occasionally been very happy that it could be adjusted easily. I am not interested in a fly shuttle, but EFS for hand use. The photo show the AVL on top and the Leclerc on the bottom. I agree that the Honex (now that I know which one it is) although I hear a lot of good things about it, doesn't seem to affect the tension very much; it's best wide open. The Leclerc has a much greater affect on the tension. It's adjusted with a small allen wrench that resides in a small pocket on the inside of the breast beam. I emailed Camilla Valley Farm to ask if the tensioner could be purchased alone, and I'm waiting for a reply. I could get a couple of old mill shuttles,which have a tensioner similar to Leclerc, but they tend to be bigger, and require more difficult construction of the the shuttle. I may have to settle for hooks. I would like to make some sized to fit my hands.
The tensioner on the leclerc, or one very similar looking, I found patent papers on some time ago. I thought the modern tensoner on the AVL looked simialr (not same) as the Leclerc. I don't remember it looking like the one in your older AVL shuttle. :)
The Honex that you show is different in appearance from the older AVL, but the function and actual tensioner is the same: there are two metal plates that the thread passes between, then goes out the side. I don't know what the actual method of tension is in the Leclerc; it's hidden inside. If you tighten the tension on the Leclerc, the thread will make a zzzizzzing sound when it comes out.
Like I said before, I wouldn't worry about tensioning, I'd focus on the path from pirn to exit, so that the yarn does not exit the path before leaving the shuttle exit. I use a couple Leclerc efs that have tensioners and I have just about zero tension on the yarns when I use them.
I have also noticed that if the end of the pirn is close to the exit point, the thread can sometimes rub on the end of the pirn. So, it is very important that the thread is pulled straight off the end of the pirn and that there is a certain distance for the thread to travel. It may be that one of the purposes of the tensioner is to keep the thread straight and at the correct distance, rather than to simply put tension on the thread.
Yes, I beleive that is a big deal for sure. Pulling straight off the pirn.
Camilla Valley says that Leclerc will not sell their tensioner. I have found that the tension adjustment on a hand EFS is much more important than for a fly shuttle, which I agree with Reed Guy and Joanne, needs minimal tension, if any. I've not been happy with the hooks used in BB shuttles for some yarns, so I think I'll try to work something up. All a tensioner does is squish the thread between two plates to an adjustable extent.
I improvised one using a threaded insert, which is placed in from the right, where a cavity is bored and the insert was threaded on the wall of the shuttle on the left side. It was threaded inside the insert as well where a brass bolt holds a couple washers and a spring on the bolt between them to act as a cam that adjusts tension by turning the bolt. You might experiment there on waste wood, and clamp it in a Record bence vise and pull on the yarn to see how the tension feels.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C-wlVvpdFw
Look at the Schacht EFS. They don't have a Honex, but they work equally as well.
Also, I believe Buster Bay replaced their loop tensioning system in more recent models, along with offering a lower profile.
I agree with Joanne, the distance from the pirn tip to the tension device is critical. Also, the position of the pirn in the shuttle needs to be considered. You don't want the fat part of a full pirn dragging on the cloth.
The rod that you slide the prin onto is another detail to be considered. It needs to flip out of the shuttle for easy loading, yet hold the pirn in a fixed position. (One of my EFS does not open perpendicular to the shuttle, making loading more difficult at an angle.)
I have 3 different types of pirns, they are not interchangable. So you might want to determine your pirn type first, and build the shuttle around it.
Finally, there are different lengths and weights of EFS. I like the Schacht for narrower projects like dishtowels, and the AVL bigger and heavier ones for full width weaving, 45".
I have an older AVL EFS that has a tension device with plates, but you have to use a crochet hook to thread the weft through a hole in the side of the shuttle after it has gone through the tensioning system.
It a tool needs a second tool to use it, then it isn't the best tool to use in my book.
I am sure several folks on Weavo would say the best tool is practicing good technique when throwing the shuttle.