Macomber shaft spacer

Well, after being frustrated with the shafts getting caught on each other and having one end either not drop or raise when it wasn't supposed to, I decided to try to make a set of shaft spacers for it.  It ended up being a little more difficult than I thought it would be, but I got it done.   I had to do this without a warp on the loom of course, so I haven't tried it yet.   If the shafts keep having that problem, then it's got to be the fault of the chains!   If that happens - I give up!

The spacers themselves are deck screws that have a piece of plastic tubing screwed on.   It's a good solution because the tubing is pretty slick and it can be any length.   Obviously there is one of these on each side.


On the negative side, this might make moving heddles a real bear!   But it may be doable if I raise the shaft first to add / remove the heddles from the top heddle bar and then raise all the rest of the shafts or add an extension to the chain to lower the shaft to deal with the bottom heddle bar.   I have quite a few heddles on the shafts now, so I'm hoping I won't face this issue any time soon.

Tomorrow I'm going to call Macomber and ask about the tendancy to thow off the tie rods.   I looked through my tie rods today (supper hooks all), and noticed that some of them have a longer piece of metal that hangs over the lam.  That part on some tie rods is about 1 3/8 inches but 1 5/8 inches on others.   The longer ones seem to stay put better.  I need some more, and if they don't have the long ones I'm thinking of switching to texsolv although I'd rather not as I think tie rods are easier to install.




Posted on Tue, 01/07/2014 - 12:49

The number one problem with both type hooks coming off is a theadle groove being too tight. This can be from fiber or just a tight groove. Try this, put some hooks on all the treadles ( you don't need a warp) Depress a treadle and see if others move (they should not) it they do your problem is with the grooves. Clean out the groove with a paint brush then sand the groove. With sand paper or I use a small file. Also check the moving parts of the lamms to see that nothing there is sticking. Then we have the slots on the side. These should also be cleaned with a brush and check to see that the lamms move free in the slots. Have you checked the jack pads?




Posted on Tue, 01/07/2014 - 16:08

Thank you Michael.  I didn't know that the other treddles shouldn't move!   Wow, I can't believe I didn't know that.

You asked about the jack pads.   Where are these?   Are you talking about the upper Jacks, or the mechanism attached to the lams?


Posted on Tue, 01/07/2014 - 16:12

BTW, in my case I have 18 treddles.   This gives me the ability to tie up in a "treddling convenient" way, so if several treddles are tied up to exactly the same lams, when I depress one of them all the treddles tied exactly the same way move also.   I assume that's OK?


Posted on Tue, 01/07/2014 - 16:53

OK, I think I found the jack pads.   They look fine - nice and thick and still soft foam, i.e., not dried out.


Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 00:46

NO, NO, NO the only treadle that moves is the one you depress. Now the hooks will move up and down inside the groove of the other treadles. BUT THE TREADLES SHOULD NOT MOVE, IF THEY DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.


Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 00:48

The number two problem with treadle hooks coming off is bent hooks.  Make sure that the top loop of the super hook snaps securely onto the lamm (squeeze it shut a bit if necessary).  Also make sure that the lower part of the hook is straight so that it slides freely through the slot in the treadle. Even a slight bend anywhere along the shaft of the hook will cause it to bind in the treadle.  Once it binds, especially if the top hook isn't firmly clipped onto the lamm, the rising treadle will throw off the hook. 

Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 05:25


But, if you have two treddles attached to EXACTLY the same lams, and you depress one, then shouldn't the other one go down also?   If not, what exactly holds it up?

Example:   Treddles 4 and 8 are both attached to shafts 1 and 3 and 6 - no more, no less. 



Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 05:52

I don't have this loom, but if the treadles are tied to the same lamms it should function as you say Sally. Are you duplicating the treadle tie-ups just the have extra weight or to get the treadles out of the way so to speak. Maybe having them tied for no extra purpose in the weave, they are causing the extra troubles to, in some way. I know I just did a double weave on 8 shafts, that could have been done on 6 shafts and treadles with the same results in the cloth. Shafts 4 and 8 could have been controlled on treadles and shafts 1 and 4 instead of the extra 2 shafts and treadles which fell anyway. The treadling sequence would be 1-2-3-1-3-2-1, instead of 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 I used.

Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 14:56

The beauty of having 18 treddles is that you almost never have to treddle in anything other than a straight sequence.  So that's a real convenience.

But Michael said that depressing one treddle NEVER meant another one moved, and that's just not true.  All treddles tied the same will move.


Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 15:24

I have to agree with SallyE, Michael.  What you say is true under normal tie-up conditions, but there are those among us that create tie-ups in which one treadle may be a superset of others.  I do so in order to witlessly throw the shuttle while listening to audiobooks and moving my feet right to left or left to right.

If you depress the superset treadle, all the subsets will drop as well.  For example, on a 4 shaft pattern, threaded 1-2-3-4 (heddle on shaft 1, heddle on shaft 2, etc) and tie 1 & 3 -- treadle 1, 2 & 4 -- treadle 2, 1 -- treadle 3,2 -- treadle 4,3 -- treadle 5,4 -- treadle 6, then treadles 3 & 5 will drop when you depress treadle 1.

I probably wouldn't tie things up that way because I have 2 feet, but I do have 22 treadles to play with and I have to confess to being unable to depress more than 2 treadles at once, and also to a certain amount of mental laziness.  On most weave structures using a lot of shafts I arrange treadles in the order in which I need to depress them, and always finish at an edge treadle.  It makes it much easier to pick up where I left off, although I also usually write it down on a clipboard with my notes.   

Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 15:26

I did not deny having a problem, but it might be mental -- not with the mechanics of my loom ;-)

Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 15:46

Sally, that may be true, but if extra treadles are not needed it's extra work tying them up and maybe subject to unneccessary hangups if things aren't working smoothly, which seems apparent in your situation. In my example I tied up 16 extra cords not needed. Are advantages in treadling really so if things have to be jury rigged? Now, I'm only making suggestions as I don't have that loom and don't know if it solves a darn thing. ;) Also no one need defend themselves from my suggestions, I'm no judge of the way these things work. You will get more suggestions if there is no shooting match. LOL :)

Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 15:51

A few minutes (seconds really) tying up to make treddling convenient more than pays for itself while weaving the warp.   And it means I'm much less likely to forget my place in the design and make treddling mistakes.

That said, the loom should work no matter how you tie up, or else it's a bad loom design.

I did make myself a sanding file and sanded the inside of all those slots in the treddles, so on the next warp I'll see if that solves the problem.   If it weren't so much work to get the treddles off, I'd remove them now and make sure those slots were a little larger!

Actually, maybe I'll do that. . . . .

Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 15:51

pure physics. You have to push down the treadle you want to move. As I
stated all the hooks attached to the same shafts will move up and down in the
groove. But those other treadles will not move. Try it for yourself. I have.




Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 16:03

pure physics. You have to push down the treadle you want to move. As I
stated all the hooks attached to the same shafts will move up and down in the
groove. But those other treadles will not move. Try it for yourself. I have.

OK I now understand what you are saying. Yes if two or more treadles are tied up alike if you depress one there is no hook to hold up the other treadles. Under normal conditions you would not be tieing up more then one treadle in a draft. Unless the weight of the frames required you to use two feet to lift the shafts. What would be the advantage of doing so?




Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 16:12

I think what Sally is saying is she can treadle a straight path and not jump around with her foot if those same tie-ups were not used. Like in my example where shaft 1 and 4 tie to the same lamm holes, but 4 really is not needed for the pattern. But without it one may hit a treadle out of sequence. But that being said, I can do that and still be a straight line treadling. :D :D If your toes had eye balls. ;)

Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 16:19

The advantage is to be able to treddle (for example) 1-2-3-4-5-6 instead of 1-2-3-4-1-4.  The more treddles you have the more likely you are to be able to set it up to treddle in a straight order.  

It has nothing to do with the weight of the shafts.   It's about convenience in treddling!


Posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 17:20

I treadle as SallyE does.  I tend to zone out while weaving -- music, audiobooks, whatever -- and would rather have redundant treadles in there than have to pay close attention to how I treadle. 

Plus, I create my own 20 shaft, 22 treadle drafts.  A given row may break down into more than two unique subsets, which means more than 2 treadles, and I am incapable of that.

The extra work is miniscule.  Once I figure out the tie-up (imagine it as a 20 x 22 grid) I "rotate" it, so that I read it in shaft (lamm) order.  Then I fix shaft 20 in the up position (ie -- with its lamm depressed), and tie all treadles using it to it.  I do the same for all shafts back to front.  150 - 160 hooks might be involved.

Given that I  also may be changing shuttles, colors and textures, etc, and taking notes on what I do, it's one less thing to get confused.

Posted on Tue, 01/14/2014 - 15:43

So, taking Michael's advice on the too-tight groves, I'm doing one final ECO (Engineering Change Order).  I decided to widen those groves!  They measure 1/8" (2/16") wide, so I bought a 3/16" router bit and widened them. 

Since removing some wood could also weaken them somewhat, I will alternate the direction of the tie rods when I'm doing the tie-up as a precaution.   I don't think removing 1/16" of wood on maple treddles will matter much, but still.

Posted on Wed, 01/15/2014 - 02:18

that small amount of wood will not hurt your treadles at all. Now the question is did this help?


Posted on Wed, 01/15/2014 - 02:24

Well, I only did this yesterday, so don't have a warp on it yet.   I will let you know!

Posted on Wed, 01/15/2014 - 08:52

Was wondering how the wood got swelled in those grooves this time of year when folks heat their dwellings? The wood would shrink from drying, making the grooves open up. And often times it's that 1/8", but over a 4-5" width, about a 1/16" over a 2" width of wood. And even then the mositure in the wood would have been quite high, above 20 %. 30 % and below is the theoretical point of shrinkage, below fibre saturation.

Too much information. :D

Posted on Wed, 01/15/2014 - 15:03

This isn't about the wood swelling or shrinking.   This loom is from the 1950s so the wood is very stable.   When they made those groves, they did it with a table saw, so the groves are the width of the saw blade.   The treddles are 1 inch thick, so if the tie rod gets off vertical by just the littlest bit, they stick.   I don't know how the looms are made now, but the groves on my treddles simply weren't wide enough.


Posted on Wed, 01/15/2014 - 18:16

Wood still moves because of moisture in the air. Doesn't matter how old it is. It's a fact of life. It's hygroscopic. Things of wood need to be designed for changes in moisture. Otherwise, you'd have to encase it in plastic so water can't go in or out. But, that's neither here nor there, because it would seem you are right about the grooves being a bit small to begin with. I hope everything works more smoothly now for you. Aggrivating when it doesn't. :)

Posted on Fri, 09/05/2014 - 14:40

I was having the problem of sticky shafts rising when other pedals were depressed, causing long floats on the back of my weaving. I did what Michael described and used a narrow file to clean on the treadle grooves, the straightened the upper hook on my super-hooks so cut end didn't swing out. Problem solved! Thanks Michael!

Posted on Fri, 09/05/2014 - 15:56

You are wecome, enjoy you Macomber loom.