Help setting up older Cranbrook loom

Well, after a somewhat long journey, I'm finally getting my new to me (I bought it two years ago, but its been stored until now) older Bexel-Cranbrook loom set up in my newly remodeled family room.  I have a couple of questions that aren't clear in the original manual or what's posted on the Schacht site.

The Breast and Back beam on this model are heavy steel poles held to the loom with half inch bolts.  Should they be fastened tight so they don't turn, or are they meant to turn with the cloth?

From the original sales material I got with the loom, it looks like it's supposed to have six treadles, but I only seem to have gotten four.  The top jack frame, heddle shafts, lamms & treadles were all connected by the chains as when taken off the loom and tied up for four treadles.  I don't seem to have any extra pieces, and all treadles create sheds properly.  If it helps, i's a model J-45, maybe they came with less treadles?  No problem in the long run as I'm a woodworker and plan to eventually expand to 8 shafts/10 treadles, but just curious.

Tieup, this older loom has all chains for the tie up.  They seem to be in good condition and quiet so no reason to change now.  But when I add shafts, would it make more sense to stay with the chain (it's a standard type available in hardware stores) or move to Texsolve?  The chain has the same adjustability by picking which link to use as Texsolve, but is a little heavier.  I'm slightly worried about texsolve because the chain from the upper lamm tieups to the treadle actually goes THROUGH the lower lamm.  The chain will hold up to any wear, but would Texsolve?

Hmm, that's it for now, thanks in advance for any advice.

Jeff Anderson

Livonia, MI

Comments

Posted on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 11:39

Yes, looked at those, bottom of page nine discusses the steel breast and back beam, and says to tighten the bolts, doesn't say if they should spin after tightening.

Posted on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 13:24

Hi Jeff,

I have an older Cranbrook and the bolts on the breast and back beam DO turn with the cloth. 

I've got the 60" version with all 8 shafts and I'm getting ready to switch out the tie-up to texolve as I understand it will make the treadling easier. We'll see. Let me know if there are any pictures you'd like me to take of the loom that might help you with yours.

 

Linda

Posted on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 14:10

According to the instructions, on page nine of the manual, you should tighten the bolts as much as possible.  The warp on the back beam and the finished fabric on the front breast beam should slide over the beams easily. The beam is part of the structure of the loom's frame and if it is loose it will weaken the frame and allow a certain amount of slop. You want the loom to be as solid as possible for the heavy beating that may be done, especially when making rugs.  The original finish on the beams was lacquer.  When my husband refinished ours he removed the lacquer and sprayed on Aerothane (a catalyzed urethane paint which is very durable and shiny).  So the beam is very slippery (like satin).  It was a paint leftover from his airplane project. Since the breast beam slides into a slot carved in the frame, it's removal is easy by slightly loosening the bolts for when you are threading your projects.

 

Posted on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 15:50

The chains that were with my Cranbrook were in fine shape, but I find threading the texsolv much easier to deal with.  I used the heavier texsolv, looped through the treadles and then itself.  This way I just go through the lamms to tie up.  Each treadle hole has its own length of texsolv.  I have not decided with fastener I prefer, but the arrows are easiest to use on the upper lamms because there is less space to work in.  There were two lengths of chain with my loom, one for upper and one for lower lamm, and completely changing out the chain drove me nuts, even though thats a short drive.  Dealing with one longer length of texsolv has work out better for me.

Posted on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 16:31

I tried treadling a Cranbrook loom that a friend has and I found it hard to push on the treadles.  The weight of the chains might be the cause.  When you have a counterbalance or a countermarch tie-up, it is not necessary to have any extra weight.   So, any time that you can replace a heavy part of the loom with a lighter weight replacement, you will get easier treadling. This becomes more important when you add shafts and treadles, as it compounds the number of chains you are using.

Joanne

Posted on Fri, 06/28/2019 - 16:58

I wove a significant amount on Cranbrook looms at the BBAC in Birminigham Michigan...just as easy as a Lila I was recently working with...likely set up, not chains.

MD Napier

Posted on Fri, 12/28/2012 - 04:22

Hi, I really like my Cranbrook and I know you'll like it once you get the details down. If all is well with your tie up you get a smooth shed with little weight resistance.  Sometimes if the chains are tied too tight (short) they create difficulty in pushing as described by JoAnnne above.

1.  The Breast and Back beam on this model are heavy steel poles held to the loom with half inch bolts.  Should they be fastened tight so they don't turn, or are they meant to turn with the cloth?

I don't do a death grip on the bolts, the breast beam you'll pull out to thread the loom on a regular basis. I keep it looser than the back beam.  The back beam will stay in place.  Those bolts can be tighter.  They can turn slightly, doesn't hurt, just make sure they are not loose.  As someone said in this thread, keeping them tight keeps the loom square and less stress on the parts.

2.  Tieup, this older loom has all chains for the tie up.  They seem to be in good condition and quiet so no reason to change now.  But when I add shafts, would it make more sense to stay with the chain (it's a standard type available in hardware stores) or move to Texsolve? 

I use both the chains and Texsolve.  Your fabric won't tell anyone the shafts were tied up different ways.  That way you can experiment with the Texsolve before you fully commit to it.  It is nice but pricey!

3.  The chain has the same adjustability by picking which link to use as Texsolve, but is a little heavier.  I'm slightly worried about texsolve because the chain from the upper lamm tieups to the treadle actually goes THROUGH the lower lamm.  The chain will hold up to any wear, but would Texsolve?

Yes, the Texsolve will hold up.  On one of my older Cranbrooks which I sold due to a move (I miss that wide loom!) I also modified my chains to make them easier to tie up on the upper lamms.   I cut the chain below the hole in the upper lamm.  In other words, I pegged the chain in place, cut it below the upper lam and added a strong snap hook on every upper lamm chain.  That way I could unsnap the chain and switch to the lower lamm in my tie up.  One just needed to keep your box of long/short & cut chains separate.  Something else to consider.

Deb Mc

 

Posted on Fri, 12/28/2012 - 15:15

Hi Jeff,

Check back with us when you are weaving on your loom.  Let us know what you decide to do about the tie-up.

Joanne 

Posted on Tue, 02/05/2013 - 14:22

Hello.  I am currently changing my chains to Texsolv.  I have not woven with it yet but have treadled it and it was much quieter and lighter.

Does anyone know what finish they used in the 1970's for this loom?  I am having 4 more shafts and 2 more treadles made and would like to come as close as possible to matching the finish.  I thought I had read that it was Danish Oil but can not find the reference and someone else said it was varnish. 

Thank you,

Linette

Posted on Tue, 02/05/2013 - 16:00

It is varnish. Today, any good polyurethane finish will do.

As Peter Collingwood said often - a loom is a tool, a machine - the wood needs a sealant and protective coating - any product that does that job will work just fine.

Posted on Tue, 02/05/2013 - 16:37

You are such a wealth of information!  I followed your advice previously and have woven with the chains quite successfully, thank you for that also.

With having the new pieces made it was time to make a decision about chain vs Texsolv and with the price of metal the Texsolv won. 

Happy Weaving!

Posted on Fri, 06/28/2019 - 17:09

HI,

 

I am assembling my Cranbrook for the first time.  It is threaded and sleyed.  When I pull out the Jack Lam pins there is too much slack and the sheds collapse to the ground.

Could it be that I do not have enough tension on the warp?

What is the appropriate set up for the pins: Do I remove the lock pins, but keep the pivot pins in?  That is what the Bexell-Heritage loom PDF states.

 

Thank you for advice in advance.

 

MD Napier